Credit Union Advocates Prepared for Big 2015

The new year has just begun, but the advocacy machine of Northwest credit unions has been deep in 2015 strategy and preparations for months. Credit union advocates in Oregon and Washington meet the new year with comprehensive legislative agendas, new data showing credit unions’ impact, and the momentum and strategic insight earned through the hard-won victories of recent years.

“In 2014, Association members in Oregon and Washington participated in a months-long process to identify both challenges and opportunities facing each state,” said NWCUA’s Senior Vice President of Advocacy Jennifer Wagner. “These developed into comprehensive legislative agendas that will not only defend credit unions but proactively advance the charter.”

State Sessions Hold Challenge, Opportunity

At the state level, 2015 holds long sessions for both Oregon and Washington state legislatures. “That always opens the door for attacks on credit unions,” said Wagner. “We stand ready to defend our structure and the value we provide to our members with new data and stories about the impact credit unions have on their members and communities.”

Wagner said that the long sessions also hold opportunity for credit union advocates to move their cause forward. “With challenges come opportunities, and these sessions open the door for credit unions to present a proactive, progressive agenda. Oregon and Washington are both primed with solid agenda items.”

Northwest credit union advocates will storm their states’ capitols in the first quarter of 2015 to build relationships with lawmakers and share stories that illustrate the importance of credit unions. Credit Union Day at the Capitol comes to Washington on February 19, and to Oregon on March 31.

New Congress Opens New Doors                                    

As the 114th Congress assembles in Washington, D.C. this month, Northwest credit union advocates are polishing their federal strategy.

“The additional regulatory burden being put on credit unions remains a challenge,” said Wagner. “The change in leadership in the U.S. Senate, giving Republicans majorities in both chambers for the first time since 2006, opens the door for new conversations and removing additional barriers for credit unions.”

CUNA’s Governmental Affairs Conference in Washington, D.C. will be a prime opportunity for credit unions to build relationships with their federal representatives, and to share with those representatives the value of credit unions and what they can do as legislators to support the credit union movement.

Legislators Need to Hear from Credit Unions

Northwest credit unions will be called upon to show up and share with stories, said Wagner. “In 2015 we will be rolling out some exciting new data that highlights just how pivotal credit unions are to the economy of the Northwest,” she said. “This data will be very important to legislators, but not more important than the stories represented by these numbers.”

“So whether it’s our Credit Union Days at the Capitol in Salem and Olympia, at key contact meetings, or at our regular Hike the Hills in Washington, D.C., credit unions will be asked to show up and tell their story.”

Wagner said that Northwest credit union advocates bring tremendous momentum and organization into 2015 after defending against recent tax threats and other hard-won victories. “It’s often said that if you are not at the table, you’re on the menu,” she said, “and credit unions will keep our place at the table this year.”

Wagner concluded, “We look forward to 2015 and anticipate it being a very successful year for Northwest credit unions and the credit union movement.”

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

Posted in Advocacy News, NWCUA.