There’s a reason we chose a heavy stack of binders for the art on our latest print edition: we repeatedly hear from executives who are totally overwhelmed by regulations. So it should come as no surprise that credit union advocates suggest the movement fight fire with fire — flooding their regulators and lawmakers with an equally voluminous number of comment letters.

As someone who has been tasked with reading many of these letters, and being married to someone who used to work for a member of Congress and had to go through similar letters from constituents, allow me to offer a little advice.

  1. Quantity counts. Regulators and lawmakers alike absolutely do notice which issues generate the most comments, so comment often.
  2. But quality counts, too. Those form letters generated by trade groups are great for pumping up the volume of comments, but a letter that has clearly been written separately has an impact all its own.
  3. Even if you’re not considered a mover and a shaker within the industry, your voice really does matter. Don’t choose not to comment because you figure no one knows who you are.
  4. Face time counts, too. Make use of every opportunity to meet with regulators and lawmakers face to face. This month is the perfect time to catch your member of Congress while he or she is back in the home district during the summer recess. And you don’t necessarily have to know the right people to get in.
  5. Don’t just count on your trade groups. There’s a reason that both the National Association of Federally-Insured Credit Unions and Credit Union National Association make a point of recruiting real CU executives to testify on Capitol Hill: lawmakers want to hear from the people who are actually impacted by the laws they make, not just the people paid to lobby on their behalf.