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COVID-19 pushes NAFCU's Congressional Caucus from in-person to online

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The National Association of Federally-Insured Credit Unions’ annual Congressional Caucus, scheduled to kick off Sept. 14, has been moved from an in-person event to a virtual event.

The NAFCU event was the only major national credit union event left for 2020 that had not already announced its cancellation or moved to an online-only format.

“Amid the pandemic, NAFCU and credit union leaders will join together to push our bold advocacy agenda forward to deliver strong results for our industry and its 121 million members,” NAFCU EVP and General Counsel Carrie Hunt said in a press release. “Attendees should also expect to hear from prominent Washington officials and policymakers while learning how these decision makers will help shape the future in Washington.”

As usual, the conference will feature remarks from a number of regulators, key members of Congress and the administration, along with keynote addresses from Condoleeza Rice and Dr. Larry Sabato, director of the University of Virginia Center for Politics. A virtual happy hour for networking is also planned.

Normally attendees visit congressional offices and hold face-to-face meetings with legislators. However, participants won't be able to do that this year, and much of the industry's lobbying work has shifted to an online format since the pandemic began. In place of in-person advocacy, NAFCU is offering the ability for credit unions to set up virtual meetings with lawmakers and regulators via conference call.

With 2020’s major credit union conferences already canceled or moved online, it remains unclear what impact COVID-19 could have on the 2021 event landscape. Some experts have suggested a vaccine could be available early next year, but distribution could be slow and if the outbreak gets worse during the fall and winter, many industry conferences could start the year virtually, particularly if credit union staffers aren’t yet comfortable traveling or if institutions travel budgets remain slashed amid the recession.

This story was updated at 1:11 P.M. on July 14, 2020.

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