Float Like a Butterfly and Sting Like a Bee

“On the ropes” is a curious expression. Most of us have no doubt seen the iconic images from the early days of modern boxing: in the throes of impending defeat, the boxer has been overcome by his opponent’s aggressive and relentless attack and finds himself pushed to the edge of the ring and against the ropes to keep from falling over and losing the match.

Over time, usage of “on the ropes” expanded beyond the confines of the ring to describe anyone or anything in a vulnerable or precarious position, facing significant challenges or adversity. The metaphorical extension of the phrase seems to capture the agony of defeat more than it does the thrill of victory. This phrase is a curious one because even though it is obvious the match is all but over …there is still a chance of defying the odds, overcoming adversity, and snatching victory from the jaws of defeat (See, e.g., the Rocky Movie franchise).

Let’s flip the script: in Connecticut, House Bill 5489–An Act Concerning Interchange Fees on Electronic Payment Transactions—entered the ring as a heavy favorite. The restaurant lobby showed up ready to fight and had the very powerful Finance Revenue and Bonding Committee in its corner. Not to be outdone, credit unions led a strong coalition from the financial services sector to mount a coordinated and overwhelming defense which resulted in a Technical Knock Out (the bill received a 35-16 vote mixed between Democrats and Republicans). From the audience, the Hartford Business Journal called out our leadership in a recent article noting that “…both the Credit Union League of Connecticut and Electronic Transactions Association spoke out against the bill, arguing the proposal would force merchants to fully overhaul their payment systems.”

Without strong support from any one party, HB 5489 needs to hold on to the ropes just to stand. While we do not expect the bill to progress any further, we will remain in the ring until the bell rings (or, more accurately, the gavel drops) at midnight on May 8.

Thank you to those credit unions that answered the League’s call to action by sending emails and making calls to you legislators. Thank you also to those of you who refreshed your data in Project Zip Code, the user-friendly, secure computer program that counts your members and matches them to a congressional district, state legislative district and county.  

The fight against HB5489 is not just about interchange fee revenue; it is a battle to preserve the autonomy and sustainability of credit unions in the face of increasing regulatory pressures. Our success sends a powerful message about leveraging the impact of grassroots advocacy by speaking with our collective voice. By standing together, we demonstrate that we are not merely contenders in the financial sector; we are champions of our cause, capable of influencing significant legislative outcomes.

But our collective effort signifies more than our advocacy prowess; it epitomizes the power of unity. We are indeed stronger together. Unified advocacy protects our ability to operate without interference. Similarly, unified engagement in league sponsored education and events fuels future enhancements to those programs. And unified messaging enhances our competitive strength in the marketplace for financial services.

Let us channel our passion and dedication towards building greater unity in the community of Connecticut’s credit unions. Let every action we take be a testament to our commitment to the credit union movement and to the financial well-being of the communities we serve. Together, we are not just participants in the financial industry; we are its architects, shaping a future where credit unions continue to thrive and serve as pillars of support for their members.


As always,