The Nebraska Credit Union League hosted its annual state government affairs conference called “Jam the Unicam” in Lincoln on February 4th. The sixty attendees represented twenty-two (22) credit unions and several League MVP vendors. The event began with lunch at the Governor’s Residence with special guest Lt. Governor Mike Foley who spoke on the Ricketts Administration’s priorities for the legislative session. Following a legislative update from the League lobby team, attendees heard from local, regional and national speakers.
Brad Douglas, President/CEO of Heartland Credit Union Association spoke about CUNA’s newly forming “Army of Volunteers” program. The program aims to leverage the diversity, talents, and experience of credit union volunteers in all 50 states by getting them more involved in the advocacy efforts of the credit union, League, and CUNA system.
Justin Hupfer, President/CEO of PolicyWorks provided insight and lessons learned in their tax battle which was waged last year at the State Capitol in Iowa. The Iowa League spent over $1 million dollars to beat back the bankers attempt to add to the tax burden of Iowa credit unions. CUNA and CUNA Mutual Group (CMG) also provided financial resources in helping to ultimately win the battle. On a single day, they had 5,000 credit union members march on the State Capitol to voice “Don’t tax my credit union”. Ultimately, the Iowa House of Representatives did not pass the Senate’s tax reform bill which included taxing Iowa credit unions.
Bruce Jolly of Reed & Jolly has decades of experience in the credit union industry working as the Lead Counsel for CUNA in Washington D.C. and then representing and assisting credit unions in field of membership expansions, new charters, mergers, product development, and strategic planning. He discussed the importance of the dual-chartering system for credit unions which promotes innovation and modernization of regulation at the state and federal level.
Chairman Matt Williams of the Banking, Commerce, and Insurance Committee was elected to his post when the Legislature convened on January 9th. He provided insight into what the Committee was working on this session and what issues would likely be taken up by the Legislature during the current ninety-day session. Chairman Williams owns Gothenburg State Bank in Gothenburg, Nebraska.
Kyle Tautenhan and Erica Wassinger provided a tutorial on blockchain technology and cryptocurrencies. Kyle co-founded BlockEra, a blockchain company and has set blockchain strategies and built blockchain applications for Fortune 1000’s, top 100 banks, and various blockchain startups. Erica launched The Startup Collaborative, a program of the Omaha Chamber of Commerce and co-founded Omaha Startup Collaborative. They gave the basics of what blockchain is, how it currently impacts the economy and it’s future application in a ever-changing global economy.
Director Mark Quandahl of the Nebraska Department of Banking and Finance gave an update of activities at the Department. He spoke of some legislative bills that the Department asked be introduced including LB 258 which includes the “wild card” or parity provision for state chartered credit unions. The bill also eliminates the annual renewal fee for credit union loan officer licenses.
The conference concluded with a reception at Billy’s Restaurant with Nebraska State Senators.