Solarity CEO Meets With State Representatives in Washington D.C.

By Solarity Credit Union

Solarity Credit Union’s Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Mina Worthington, attended May Hike the Hill in Washington D.C., where she met with state representatives to bring awareness of the value credit unions have within their respective districts.

Worthington expressed the needs and concerns that credit unions face in today’s financial industry, emphasizing the number of constituents that are represented by credit unions in districts and providing insight into their economic impact. She confirmed that “within congress there is a favorable environment regarding credit unions,” assuring that “state representatives believe that the cooperative charter offered by credit unions is positive and provides good options for consumers.”

This is great news for credit unions who continue to provide a valuable financial service. The benefits that credit unions offer are seen through lower interest rates on loans and higher returns on deposits than for-profit banks. Having credit unions in the financial marketplace motivates banks to keep their rates and fees competitive, benefiting all consumers. This competition creates a better overall environment within the financial services marketplace. Worthington helped ensure that representatives understood the benefits credit unions provide the overall economy in the districts they serve.

Worthington highlighted the direction credit unions need to go to stay relevant in the future. She acknowledged that as a credit union “we understand that any one of our members may also be a customer of a bank.” She went on to explain that one of the obstacles facing credit unions is that “people feel they are diversified in their financial situation if they are using different financial institutions.”

Worthington is focused on instilling within Solarity Credit Union an environment that provides “superior value and superior service” so when faced with a choice individuals will choose to bring their banking experience to the credit union.

Small business was another focus of Worthington’s time in Washington D.C. One of the obstacles faced by credit unions is the regulatory caps that restrict their ability to lend to small businesses. Worthington reaffirmed that “small businesses are the engine of the American economy and they are not being served by larger financial institutions.”

There are over 28 million small businesses that are a vital part of the American economy providing 46% of private non-farm GDP and 55% of all jobs. She explained the most significant barrier to economic growth is that “credit unions have very restrictive regulatory imposed rules on how much business lending they can do.”

There are positive changes in store for credit unions in the financial marketplace. Credit unions and their members need a credit union charter appropriate for the sophisticated market we have today. The financial services market continues to change, however the Federal Credit Union Act has not been significantly amended since 1998.

Worthington explained that “The Credit Union National Association (CUNA) is moving forward in a positive manner to propose changes to congress regarding the Federal Credit Union Act which would allow credit unions to expand some of their services.” These changes will allow greater access to membership, greater access to capital and greater access to assist small businesses.

Advocating for credit unions will eventually provide expanded services to the members served. Worthington is focused on making positive things happen for members by ensuring credit unions are staying competitive with low rates and fees, while having competitive loans and deposits.

As credit unions compete in a diverse financial marketplace they are able to expand into new markets. The increased growth allows credit unions like Solarity to invest capital back into technology, which will increase Solarity’s mobile and online banking presence in order to compete with larger financial institutions.

The time spent in Washington D.C. was a great opportunity for credit union advocates like Worthington to bring awareness to the many benefits and challenges that credit unions face in order to provide members with greater access to products and services.

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

Posted in Advocacy News, Events.