Next Steps

Getting a Jumpstart on 2014

As noted in our protecting the charter segment, we are working to make a technical correction to legislation improving the Washington Credit Union Act bill. Specifically, the 7th provision improving the act changed the merger vote requirement to a simple majority vote from the current two-thirds majority requirement. Due to a drafting error, this provision was not correctly changed. We intend to run a technical correction bill next session and in the interim Washington state-chartered credit unions may invoke parity with the Federal Act.

We are vigilantly and proactively working to head off a possible bank-baked attack on the credit union tax exemption. Following our success in the Oregon Legislature and the traction we are gaining at the federal level, we are flush with data and grassroots support, which is being shared with legislators. Our EcoNorthwest report debunks bank lobby claims that the tax exemption gives credit unions an unfair advantage over banks. Our voter/consumer research poll of 300 Washington credit union voters shows overwhelming loyalty to, and support for credit unions, as follows:

  • 88% of Washington voters have a positive impression of credit unions while 43% of voters think unfavorably of banks.
  • 68% of Washington voters agree that credit unions should not have to pay business or occupational taxes because of their not-for-profit model.
  • When specifically asked which side they would take if a disagreement between banks and credit unions erupts in Congress or in Olympia, 71% indicated they’d be on our side.

In addition, as we keep the conversation going with our lawmakers, we keep the credit union story front and center. As they understand more about what credit unions are doing to provide financial services and community outreach to Main Street, they understand more fully why the tax exemption is working for Washingtonians.

It is indeed a testament to the hard work of our Credit Union Advocates including their participation in record numbers to our all-new Credit Union Day at the Capitol that we were successful in Olympia in 2013. Thank you to everyone who made this possible.

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