Washington Credit Unions Fill Capitol With Credit Union Difference

Northwest credit union advocates visited all 156 legislative offices, sharing the results of the economic impact report and the real human stories of the credit union difference.

Credit union advocates in yellow scarves gathered in Olympia on Thursday in the largest showing of credit union support the state capitol has ever seen. Under a gray and drizzly sky, yellow scarves crisscrossed the capitol grounds, visiting all 156 legislative offices to share the credit union difference with lawmakers.

“Nothing beats sharing your stories face to face with legislators,” said Jennifer Wagner, senior vice president of legislative affairs for the NWCUA. “Washington credit unions know the power and importance of making their voices heard, and today they were heard throughout the Capitol.”

Advocates started the day by hearing from Washington Director of the Department for Financial Institutions Scott Jarvis, who is a member of the governor’s cabinet. “This is a remarkable number of people,” he said. “When legislators see a group of this size, they take notice.”

Jarvis also praised Washington credit unions for their community impact, highlighting their commitment to financial education and their quick, proactive response to the Oso Mudslide. “You stepped up without being asked,” said Jarvis. “I’d like to thank you for that both on my behalf and on behalf of the governor.”

After a send-off from the NWCUA government affairs team, advocates split up to strategically visit every legislative office, so that each lawmaker heard the credit union story from his or her constituents.

Advocates shared the recent economic impact report from ECONorthwest, which shows that Washington credit unions generated $4.9 billion in economic impact in 2014, employed over 10,000 people in family wage jobs, and created $249 million in direct benefits for their members. In addition, each legislator got a report showing how his or her district benefited from the economic impact of credit unions.

“The not-for-profit cooperative credit union structure comes with an obligation — that we take seriously — to deliver real tangible value to the consumer,” said Northwest Credit Union Association President and CEO Troy Stang, speaking to the assembled advocates that morning. “You know you do that every day, and now the ECONorthwest research validates the value of the direct member benefits and their ripple impact through our local and state economy.”

Credit union advocates from across the state also asked legislators to support key bills, including a bill addressing credit unions’ corporate governance and investments, a bill addressing supplemental capital for credit unions, and bills promoting financial literacy in Washington.

“This year’s Credit Union Day at the Capitol set a new high-water mark for Washington credit union advocacy,” said Stang. “Thanks to the many, many advocates who came to Olympia yesterday, our state legislators understand better than even the real value of not-for-profit, cooperative credit unions.”

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

Posted in Advocacy News, Events.