Congressman Heck: Credit Unions Part of the Solution

Credit unions were not part of the systemic problem that caused the Great Recession, said Congressman Denny Heck, Representative of Washington’s 10th District, at the NWCUA’s Amplify Convention last week. “More often than not they are part of the solution,” he said.

Heck began his comments by calling Teresa Didier, community outreach representative at Columbia Credit Union, to the stage. Heck said that, while training to be Columbia’s marketing director years ago, he spent a week working as a teller. One day the till didn’t balance, and he wasn’t carrying any money.

Heck reached into his pocket and handed Didier 32 cents. “There,” he said. “Now tell Steve to stop sending me those collection letters. It’s been 40 years!”

Moving on to more timely matters, Heck told the audience of Northwest credit union leaders that the United States needs an appropriate financial framework to avoid another recession. But he said that banking regulations are often superfluous to credit unions.

“Banking regulators have RBC rules,” he said. “But just because it’s right for banks doesn’t mean it’s right for credit unions. I don’t think it is.”

Heck said that if regulators are going to insist that credit unions raise capital in order to satisfy RBC regulations, then those regulations should not go into effect until H.R.719 is passed because the bill allows credit unions to raise supplemental capital. 

Heck concluded by issuing a challenge to the credit union leaders in the convention hall. “Continue to lead by example,” he said. “I have this sacred obligation to represent the people of Washington’s 10th District. A lot of them are facing the black hole of credit card debt, auto debt, and student loan debt. Many other financial institutions aren’t willing to do the work of financial education, because they profit from those problems.”

“Credit unions are a movement predicated upon the financial wellbeing of your members,” Heck said. “As the credit union movement gets bigger, we should not lose sight of that. It’s getting bigger because it’s different.”

Questions about this story? Contact James Pearson: 206.340.4790, jpearson@nwcua.org.

Posted in Advocacy News, Events, MAXX Annual Convention.