MADISON, Wis. – Regardless of their political persuasion, credit union advocates should be excited about the choice of Wisconsin Rep. Paul Ryan as Mitt Romney’s vice presidential running mate, according to credit unions in his home state.

Ryan is “one of the most reliable votes we’ve had in recent years,” said Tom Liebe, VP of government affairs for the Wisconsin CU League. “He understands the credit union difference, understands our place in the financial services space, appreciates the value that we bring to consumers and communities, and he’s been there for us when we’ve needed him.”

Liebe noted Ryan has stood with credit unions on bankruptcy reform, regulatory reform and upholding CUs’ tax-exempt status. “It’s noteworthy that he hasn’t voted against us,” said Liebe. “I can’t recall him voting against us on anything.”

Ryan also has a history of being accessible to the CU community, said Liebe, noting that the congressman makes every effort to meet with CUs when they’re in Washington for CUNA’s GAC or “Hike the Hill” events, including stepping out of important committee meetings when necessary.

“Credit union advocates have to be excited about the fact that they’ve got someone [on the ticket] who is always been accessible, always been open and honest, and that’s a pretty powerful thing,” said Liebe. “Paul understands that … credit union supporters are a mix of Republicans and Democrats, and he’s never turned us away or made anyone feel less-than-welcome, even though he knows that some of our advocates are strong supporters of the other party. He’s very respectful.”

Liebe noted that while jobs and health care are likely to remain the primary topics around which the election turns, Ryan’s addition to the Republican ticket could help bring forward important issues for CUs.

“Credit unions could be a part of the larger conversation about regulatory reform, and the appropriate type and scale of regulations,” said Liebe. “I think it’s plain to everyone who’s running at or near the top of the ticket that community-based financial institutions are paying for the sins of investment banks and mega banks, and it’s not fair. It hasn’t made those institutions more safe or sound and it’s an added cost and burden, and I think that’s going to be a part of the conversation for the presidential and vice-presidential candidates. It has to be.”


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