We all have a voice, and we should feel empowered to use it.
Every year, over four thousand credit union employees and volunteers descend upon our nation’s capitol to Hike the Hill, and lobby on behalf of our members. I’ve been fortunate to attend our industry’s Governmental Affairs Conference in Washington, D.C. for the past two years. (Thank you to The Cooperative Trust and Credit Union National Association for the scholarship, and to Verity for not only letting me be out of the office, but going out of their way to make me feel missed!) This year’s conference was a few weeks ago, amid unseasonably warm weather that brought the cherry blossoms into bloom ahead of schedule. I felt very lucky to be there.
Part of what I love about being at the Governmental Affairs Conference is the energy. There is such a wide variety of people, with different backgrounds and perspectives, but we join together to talk to our legislators about the work we do for the people we serve, and the work we would like to do, but that we’re unable to because the regulations that govern the way we do business are stricter than the regulations covering for-profit financial institutions.At the same time, while I’m there, I feel conflicted. I feel like I am participating in government in the way that was imagined back when our forefathers began setting up this system, not without its flaws. But I also feel cynical – because I understand that so much of what impacts our decision-makers is the elections that they have to face regularly, even if they agree with the wisdom of what we hope to accomplish.
And we’re not that different. They’re public servants, there to represent the people of their hometowns and homestates. And we credit union people are there to say that we have answers – we have ways that we can truly help our community. We want to be able to lend more money to the small businesses in our communities, to help spur entrepreneurship and job growth. To me, it seems pretty clear that if we were able to responsibly increase the amount we could lend to their constitutents, people with great ideas and clear plans for how to grow their business (maybe even someone like you), that we would in turn see our communities recovering from this economic crisis that we’ve come to see as a normal way of being.
I don’t know about you, but to me, the credit union way of investing our deposits right back into our communities seems like it could make a world of difference. I know I’m not alone, for 4,500 other impassioned individuals like me were in D.C., too, and many more were cheering from back home.
We have a voice, and we should feel empowered to use it. You have a voice, too. One of the easiest ways that you can share your voice is to come to our Annual Meeting, and vote in our board elections. It’s just three weeks away, on April 26th, at 7 p.m. Right here in our headquarters! I sincerely hope that you’ll come and meet our board of directors and associates, and learn more about the ways that you can participate in the governance of Verity. Hope to see you there!