Long flights, TSA shakedowns, lost luggage, cranky cabbies, odd hotel room decor (mine looked like leftover furniture from The Brady Bunch set), and frigid temps -- especially for us folks from SoCal -- made for an always exciting venture to Washington, DC for CUNA's 2013 Governmental Affairs Conference. But the travel challenges seem to wash away once you start to see friendly, familiar faces milling about the Convention Center. Even though we manage to stay in contact digitally throughout the year, it's always good to see your peers in person. It makes all the hassles well worth it.
As another GAC is in the books, it seemed everybody was in good spirits for 2013's gathering, dovetailing off last year's positive vibe -- a massive turnaround from the "Great Recession" stranglehold of years past. More than 4,000 folks nationwide convened in DC to network with peers, browse vendor services, and address their government representatives on the many benefits credit unions offer (as well as a number of sticky issues). Growth is on the rise, lending seems to be percolating, and mobile services is sweeping the industry like the swath of snowdrifts that cover half our nation right now. These are exciting times for credit unions, but there's still plenty of work to be done on many fronts: tax exemption, MBL, regulatory relief, and continuing to enhance our name to millions more consumers looking for a financial change.
We spoke with scores of attendees this year getting a fix on the industry's current state and its future -- along with receiving plenty of expert opinions on what's going to happen and how to get there. Always an eye-opening and sometimes entertaining experience for sure. So sit back, take a few minutes and enjoy the show. It's packed with great info, innovations, and advice -- and a few laughs. You may even recognize a few people (or yourself).
Many thanks to all those who put up with my quirky questions and quips and participated in the video. My apologies to those of you who I didn't get to see. But we will definitely see you in 2014!
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Mike Lawson, Host
Married to a beautiful and wonderful wife, raising 5 kiddos (including twins!), enjoy helping others tell their stories, and love surfing SoCal waves. Keep it simple.