A message from Douglas R. Samuels, President/CEO:
On behalf of Space Coast Credit Union, and in the interest of credit union members throughout the United States, I would like to personally invite you to become part of our SCCU's legislative action efforts as an SCCU Legislative Ambassador.
We recently marked the 10th anniversary of the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks launched against the United States of America, its ideals, its sovereignty, and its citizens. Since that day, the world has changed dramatically with millions of American military men and women having served and fought, and thousands having bled and died for the preservation and protection of all that was attacked.
One of the most important things we do as Americans is vote for those who represent us in government. Especially since September 11, 2001 whenever I cast my vote, I am grateful for those who have served and those who continue to serve to preserve this privilege.
Having the privilege of voting means that you can make your voice heard in matters of interest to you and your family. As your credit union, we feel it is important to make you aware of legislative actions and conditions that may impact the benefits you receive from your credit union membership.
It is important to understand that our elected representatives are subjected to a barrage of messages from special-interest groups and lobbyists, each seeking to gain legislative backing for their cause.
One of the most powerful lobbies is the one representing the banking industry. As part of its actions to serve their own interests and reduce competition, the banking lobby continuously aims its well-funded efforts at convincing legislators to pass laws that will limit the ability of credit unions to grow, or to provide members with a full range of financial service. Most recently, this lobby has increased its efforts to tax the earnings of credit unions and to limit the ability of credit unions to provide loans to their business members.
Space Coast Credit Union is not a political lobby, but we have a responsibility to protect the collective interests of our members in the legislative process, and to ensure that your value in the cooperative is not threatened or diminished by these legislative actions.
Member understanding and action is key to countering these attacks, which are ultimately intended to eliminate credit unions altogether. Our Legislative Ambassador Program is a means of empowering our members to take defensive action on their own behalf.
Member activism is not a new concept. The top advocacy groups in the country, including the AARP, the Chamber of Commerce, and the National Federation of Independent Business, all have one thing in common. They have members in every Congressional district and have identified targeted individuals within their membership who can serve as key contacts with their representatives.
The Credit Union Movement has the potential to surpass any advocacy group in the country. Over 90 million Americans belong to credit unions. If every state's credit unions work to do their part, this movement could easily produce a group of credit union advocates and political activists organized to protect the interests of credit union members.
To ensure that our legislators and candidates understand the credit union position during election years and beyond, we are coordinating groups of SCCU members who are interested in participating in a variety of meetings, events, and activities. Focus is limited to offices at the state and national levels, since that is where legislation affecting financial institutions is enacted.
There is no obligation to take part in any activity. SCCU Legislative Ambassadors will simply receive information about current legislative developments that affect credit unions. During election periods, you will receive information about candidates who are considered to be credit union supporters, and you will be informed of opportunities to support the campaigns of those candidates through various efforts, depending on the particular candidate's needs.
Previous efforts included spending time at campaign headquarters to participate in mailing or calling efforts, attending "town hall" meetings, or the classic curbside sign-waving activities so common in campaigns. Actions may be as simple as placing a sign in your yard. In non-election periods, SCCU will provide you with updates about proposed legislative actions affecting credit unions and ways that you can get in touch with your legislator to make your voice heard.
You may wonder how we decide if a legislator or candidate is supportive of credit unions. The League of Southeastern Credit Unions maintains a legislative "report card" that shows how our representatives have voted on various issues affecting credit unions. A legislator or candidate must have a demonstrated record to be presented to members for possible support.
We present our Ambassadors with information about members of all political parties. When you complete your online submission form, you can specify the political party you are interested in supporting, and what kind of activities interest you.
Any participation is entirely voluntary and of your choosing. SCCU does not compensate for any time spent on activities. In connection with your participation, SCCU does not assume any responsibility or liability arising by virtue of your participation.
Ambassador communications will be sent via email to the address you provide. These communications will be designed to educate you about legislative and regulatory issues of concern to you as a credit union member.
If you would like to receive information about the Legislative Ambassador effort, sign up online here.
The banking lobby is trying to take away something of value that now belongs to 90 million Americans. They want us to go away. We won't go. Collectively, we can make our voices heard through our ability to vote, a privilege so many service men and women continue to preserve through their daily efforts. It is up to us to make their efforts even more impactful by using this privilege to work together to fight for the things that are important to us. I look forward to working with you to ensure that credit unions will continue to be available to effectively serve their member-owners.
Douglas R. Samuels