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State GAC in Florida immerses credit unions in the issues

Rep. Clay Ingram (R-Pensacola) speaks to credit unions during the GAC

The first day of the State GAC in Florida was packed with state and federal issues, best practices and ways to keep the collaborative spirit going. Credit unions spent much of the day networking and sharing ideas.

The highlight of the first day was an appearance by Rep. Clay Ingram (R-Pensacola). He spoke to the attendees about the public deposits bill he sponsored in the House and where it stands during this session. Rep. Ingram thanked the credit unions for what they do for members. The day culminated with a legislator reception where credit unions could interact with their lawmaker in a relaxed atmosphere.

CUNA's Ryan Donovan lays out the federal issues during the GAC

Ryan Donovan, CUNA vice president of legislative affairs, spent an hour laying out the current federal legislation that included member business lending and interchange delay. CUNA has a five-point plan on interchange that includes trying to solve the problem and securing 60 votes in the Senate. Currently they do not feel they have the 60 votes. Donovan pointed out that the bank lobby spent more than $31 million in 2010 while credit unions spent only $2.2 million. It shows the credit unions can't outspend the banks, but need to have a better message like, "Credit unions are the best way for consumers to conduct their financial services."

Credit union attendees were briefed on the state legislative outlook with the League's contract lobby team. They gave an overview of the current legislative session and the governor's first few months in office. Their overall message to credit unions was a familiar one, "Get involved because interaction with lawmakers is more important now than ever." They said the State GAC is a good step for credit unions to begin their advocacy efforts.

Florida West Coast CEO Mary Wood and Florida Commerce Chief of Staff Jan Sheffield discuss PAC fundraising

Kevin Johnson, COO of Suncoast Schools, accepts the PAC Fundraising President's Award from Mary Wood

Attendees also spent about 90 minutes talking about PAC fundraising and advocacy best practices. Mary Wood, CEO of Florida West Coast Credit Union and Jan Sheffield, chief of staff at Florida Commerce Credit Union, shared ways they have gotten their staff involved in PAC fundraising. The message was to sell your employees on what it means to be a part of the credit union system. During lunch, PAC fundraising awards were handed out. Suncoast Schools was awarded the President's Award for the most money raised by a credit union, while the Tampa Chapter received the Leadership Award for the for the most money raised by a chapter.

Day two will feature a Regulatory Roundtable with NCUA Region III Director Herb Yolles and Linda Charity and Bruce Ricca from the Florida Office of Financial Regulation. The day will conclude with lawmaker visits at the State Capitol. You can follow the conference by following the League on Twitter @LeagueofSECUs.