NWCUA Board Approves Legislative, Evolutionary and PAC Policy, Urges Support for Defense Fund

In its final meeting of 2011, the Northwest Credit Union Association’s (NWCUA) 18-member board approved major policy and recommendations made by the 160 credit union leaders who served on advisory committees this year.

The board recommended membership approval of a sweeping redistricting plan that will determine board representation after late 2012. The plan was offered by a task force that vetted several options before agreeing on one that reduces the number of board seats from 18 to 11—eight representing geographic regions and three based on asset categories. A membership vote is pending in late December. Nominations are expected in early 2012, with late spring elections to follow. The board will be seated at the Convention and Annual Business Meeting in October.

Also approved by the board were initiatives offered by the Oregon and Washington Government Affairs Committee, including 10 legislative policy statements which were again vetted by a task force made up of both Washington and Oregon members. The policy is extensive and covers issues such as consumer privacy, creditor rights, lender liability, deposit insurance and field of membership. Additional information is available online. Political action committee (PAC) policy statements marrying the best practices of the Oregon and Washington PACs won board approval, as did a set of recommendations from the Evolution Task Force, a group involving some young credit union leadership encouraged to “think big” about future objectives for state charter improvements.

Stacy Augustine, Senior Vice President of Policy & Public Affairs oversaw the committee work leading to the policy statements. She shared with the board the advocacy strategy for “mission one”—protecting credit unions’ tax exemption—as well as updates on legislation to lift the cap on member business lending (MBL), which she is optimistic will pass in 2012. She also discussed Oregon lawmakers’ challenges transitioning to an annual session schedule, with a short 30-day session scheduled for early next year. She noted Oregon lawmakers and other invested parties are already being introduced to the concept of prize-linked savings programs. At this point, it is unlikely a bill would be introduced during such an abbreviated session, but NWCUA lobbyist Pamela Leavitt is laying groundwork for future consideration, the board was told.

The service corporation’s governance plan was approved by the NWCUA board, with members offering praise for the success of the trade show at the recent Convention and Annual Business Meeting in Tacoma. More than 100 business solutions partners participated in the event, which showcased products and services available to Northwest credit unions. Revenue generated by the trade show participants offset Convention expenses for attendees. The service corporation continues to develop partnerships to leverage credit union efficiencies. Please contact John McLaughlin or Craig Reed for additional information.

Also winning board approval were recommendations of the Defense Fund Oversight Committee, which established administrative goals, fundraising goals and permissible use of the fund. Oregon and Washington credit unions have supported a defense fund in the past, with a $50,000 balance remaining between them. The oversight committee and board action now recommends maintaining a $250,000 fund that can be used for targeted lobbying efforts, public awareness campaign management, and grassroots organization to protect credit unions’ legal, legislative, and regulatory interests.

The next NWCUA board meeting is scheduled for March 8, 2012, in Federal Way, Wash.

 

Questions or Concerns? Contact Matt Halvorson, Anthem Editor: mhalvorson@nwcua.org.

Posted in NWCUA.