MADISON, Wis. (1/25/08)--The Wisconsin Credit Union League's state Governmental Affairs Conference this week in Madison brought record attendance of more than 260 activists, reports the league. The GAC's Tuesday evening reception also was well-attended by lawmakers. State Rep. Jim Kreuser (D) told the group about a start-up bank in the Kenosha area that had several hundred investors, who were subsequently forcibly bought out by the top shareholders so that the bank could declare itself a Subchapter S entity. A Subchapter S exempts it from income tax under Internal Revenue Service rules. The bank needed fewer shareholders to qualify. He congratulated credit unions for making each one of their members a valued part of doing business.
Sen. Jim Sullivan (D) thanked credit unions for sharing stories with him that alerted him to the need for a bill that would prohibit predators from trying to scam people out of the equity in their homes. The bill passed the Senate 33-0 and is headed for the Assembly, where he said he thinks it also will have strong support from both parties. Since he took office as a new state senator in the last election, credit unions have been instrumental in keeping him informed and in the know about how issues affect financial services, Sullivan said. Wisconsin Department of Administration Secretary Michael L. Morgan cited credit unions’ near-zero rate of mortgage delinquency and applauded credit unions for sticking to safe, traditional forms of lending. Morgan attributed that directly to credit unions' member-ownership structure as cooperatives. Several lawmakers praised credit unions for their collective sponsorship of the brass student financial education program and reinforced the importance of financial education. John McKechnie, director of public and congressional affairs at the National Credit Union Administration, reminded credit union activists to always speak to lawmakers in terms of legislation that will be good for members, not good for CUs. If the lawmakers lose the connection to the member, they may see credit unions only as yet another institution walking in and asking for something, he said. It is credit unions' member focus that gets them remembered and appreciated, he added. Wisconsin league staff shared a preview of the league's 1 With The League Resource Center--a web-based tool allowing credit unions to access information, news and events about REAL Solutions, activism and the credit union difference.