One of the messages the credit union faithful will bring home with them from this year's GAC is that credit unions, in general, and CUNA, specifically, have arrived in the nation's capital.
All you had to do was see who CUNA was able to corral to speak to the group this year: the Senate Majority Leader, maybe the second most powerful politician in Washington; the House Judiciary Committee Chairman, as well as several top officials and policymakers in the Bush Administration.
But that wasn't all that gave you the impression that CUNA and credit unions are starting to get noticed. There was also the GAC debut of Credit Union House, the gleaming new museum and meeting place created by and for credit unions on Capitol Hill, just a few blocks from the Capital. Then there was CUNA's new Washington headquarters in the upscale neighborhood on Pennsylvania Avenue at the foot of Capitol Hill.
As a result, you have a major credit union presence regardless of the direction you look from the capitol building.
The mood here has also evolved over the past few years, especially since the landmark victory over the bankers on HR 1151. Attendees say that lawmakers and their staffs are now familiar with the credit union issues and are no longer worried about antagonizing the bankers by hearing them out.
Unfortunately, that was sometimes the case in past years.