Oregon House Speaker Tina Kotek Shares Why She’s a ‘Big Fan’ of Credit Unions

Oregon Speaker of the House Tina Kotek shared three reasons why she’s a ‘big fan’ of credit unions.

After the opening keynote, NWCUA President and CEO Troy Stang introduced a surprise guest, Oregon Speaker of the House Tina Kotek. “How many of you are from out of town?” Kotek asked the crowd wryly. “Thank you for bringing your money to our community.”

“I’m a big fan of credit unions,” said Kotek, “and I’ll give you three reasons why.”

Firstly, said Kotek, “You were there for your members during the depths of the recession.” She also said that credit unions are helping their members even today as many still recover from the lingering effects of the recession.

Secondly, “You are democratic institutions,” said Kotek, “I often talk to people about your governance model.” I often talk to people about your governance model.” She said that many people are losing faith in their government, and that credit unions provide a model of democratic governance.

“Lastly,” said Kotek, “is the impact and value you bring to your communities.” Kotek lauded the $103 million that Oregon credit unions returned to their members last year in the form of better interest rates, fewer fees, and better returns on interest-bearing accounts.

“The fact that your members are getting that value instead of being gouged with a fee, that shows that you’re looking out for them and their bottom line,” said Kotek, “and that’s really, really important. The financial literacy and savings your provide is important work for our families. We have far too many families who are financially insecure.”

She then asked credit union leaders to consider two issues that are high on her agenda for next year’s legislative session: changing the minimum wage and making sure Oregon families take advantage of the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC).

“In my dream world,” she said, “every eligible person gets an EITC and puts it in a savings account. This would strengthen our families and strengthen your members.”

She closed with encouraging words, “Keep doing what you’re doing in your communities.”

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

Posted in Advocacy News.