Credit Union Advocates Scored Key Victories in 2014

Mid-term elections, data breaches and continued efforts to protect the credit union tax exemption united credit union advocates across the Northwest and the nation in 2014. Here’s a look back at some of Northwest credit union advocacy’s top stories of the year.

Don’t Tax My Credit Union

The ‘Don’t Tax My Credit Union’ campaign won a major victory near the beginning of 2014, after the largest grassroots advocacy effort since H.R. 1151. When House Ways and Means Chairman Dave Camp’s comprehensive tax reform proposal was released in February, it retained credit unions’ tax status. “While our work is not over, credit unions enter the next round of tax reform conversations in 2015 in a strong position,” said NWCUA Senior Vice President of Advocacy Jennifer Wagner. “We defended our tax status in round one and our Northwest army is even more prepared for round two.”

Data Breaches

Data breaches took on a new level of importance this year, as major new breaches regularly made headlines. “The first challenge in addressing this issue is ensuring that our legislators understand who pays for these breaches,” said Wagner, “and we did significant education with our elected officials, even as the retailers delivered their talking points at the same time.” Wagner added, “This issue has only begun, and we will continue to grow our response to meet the challenge.”

Mid-Term Elections

Northwest credit union advocates also rallied to support credit union champions for this year’s mid-term elections. Credit union key contacts from across the region met with over 100 candidates to develop relationships, deliver campaign contributions and tell the credit union story, and one Oregon credit union participated in the first partisan communication for credit unions in the Northwest. “This kind of support is pivotal for our ability to provide support to our champions, and was very well received by credit union members,” said Wagner.

In Washington’s 4th Congressional District, credit union advocates responded to the retirement of Rep. Doc Hastings by interviewing candidates and throwing their support behind former state legislator and long-time credit union member Dan Newhouse, whose wife serves on the advisory board of a Washington credit union. They phone-banked and fundraised for Newhouse during an extremely tight race and ultimately helped him capture the seat.

Ultimately, credit unions helped 98% of their elected champions to victory in the Northwest, ensuring a strong platform for policy advancement in the coming legislative session.

“This year’s success is a mountain of small victories,” said Wagner. “Whether it was a credit union willing to jump into partisan communications for the first time, or growing our credit union advocates program to 300 members, or getting to put grassroots support behind credit union champions in both states, the Northwest credit union movement rallied together this year and we are more prepared than ever to continue advancing the charter and defending our tax status at the state and federal level.” 

Stay tuned next week for a look at what’s ahead for Northwest credit union advocacy in 2015, with busy state legislative sessions atop the list.

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

Posted in Advocacy News, Article Post.