COLUMBUS, Ohio (4/15/11)--With a new name and format, the Ohio Credit Union Leauge’s Annual Convention--now called InVest48--drew 500 participants united to “Participate, Collaborate and Advocate” on behalf of their credit unions. Invest48’s new format offered familiar education breakouts and evening attractions, but added an advocacy track component composed of legislative meetings, a smaller-market credit union track, and peer fireside chats were added. “The annual convention is now in line with the league’s ‘Advocacy First, Plus’ mission as was directed by the league board,” said OCUL President Paul Mercer. “The new name, InVest48, reflects the investment of credit union leaders’ time and energy into the annual event, which takes place over a 48-hour period.” Tuesday’s kickoff grand opening session was keynoted by Tucker Carlson, who shared his views on the upcoming 2012 presidential election, touched on the congressional budget stalemate, and shared personal anecdotes about politicians “I don’t think any of my tax dollars have gone to bail out credit unions; and I appreciate that,” said. Credit Union National Association (CUNA) President/CEO Bill Cheney addressed participants Tuesday, sharing how the national trade association sees important issues such as interchange, member business lending (MBL), supplemental capital, and corporate stabilization playing out. Knowing that many participants would later meet with state legislators, Cheney stressed the importance of advocacy. “Speaker [John] Boehner, an Ohioan, appearing at CUNA’s Governmental Affairs Conference is a reflection that credit unions are recognized now more than ever,” he said. “We need advocacy leadership among all credit unions, at all levels for this to continue.” Elizabeth Vale, who oversees credit unions and community banks for the new Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, also spoke, providing an overview of the regulatory agency. She expressed the agency’s desire for open dialogue with credit unions. InVest48 also played host to the inaugural Up And Comers Network, a group of like-minded credit union staff viewed as the future leaders of the industry. The network was created to help Ohio credit union professionals share best practices, while learning from credit union leaders. The Up And Comers Network question-and-answer session was led by Lee Spivey, CEO of FirstDay Financial FCU, Dayton; Rose Bartolomucci, CEO of TeleCommunity CU, Akron; and Bill Allender, president of BMI FCU, Columbus. About 40 participants took part in the new InVest48 advocacy track, comprising an afternoon legislative briefing, meetings with state representatives and senators, and a legislative reception, open to all InVest48 participants, in the atrium of the Ohio Statehouse. During the meetings, Ohio credit union leaders informed their representatives about impending credit union, issues such as public funds, local government assistance, and MBL. Wednesday morning was highlighted by the annual Regs and Eggs: Morning Mingle with the Regulators. The session gave the new Ohio Superintendent of Financial Institutions, Charles Dolezal, his first opportunity to address Ohio credit union leaders in a group setting. Dolezal, who was accompanied by Deputy Superintendent for Credit Unions Mike Wettrich, said he is working closely with the league to update the section of the Ohio Revised Code affecting credit unions. Former National Credit Union Administration (NCUA) Director of Public and Congressional Affairs John McKechnie also shared his views on the NCUA and the national regulatory environment. During the league’s annual meeting, new League Board Chair Tim Boellner, CEO of AurGroup Financial CU, Fairfield, was introduced. Howard Putnam, former CEO of Southwest Airlines, urged credit unions to simplify during times of difficulty. As a credit union member himself, he also praised the movement.“I know what you stand for, and I endorse moving things forward,” he said. “Be a great team, not a team of greats.” Former Ohio State Buckeye football legend, NFL player, and Heisman Trophy winner Eddie George keynoted the closing session, sharing his inspirational story of learning how to deal with the crossroads of life.