Northwest Delegation Over 200 Strong at CUNA GAC; Rick Hein Receives Prestigious Advocacy Award

Thousands of credit union advocates from across the nation are gathered in Washington D.C. this week for the CUNA Governmental Affairs Conference. Against that backdrop, Oregon State Credit Union’s Rick Hein received the nation’s highest advocacy honor.

The Buck Levins Award was established 15 years ago to recognize one credit union CEO, staff or board member who demonstrates exceptional leadership in advocacy. Levins was CUNA’s Chairman during the historic era in which the Credit Union Membership Access Act passed.

Hein’s selection was announced from the main stage at CUNA GAC this morning.  Hein is the first Northwest credit union advocate to receive the prestigious honor.

Judging by a CUNA leadership committee is rigorous and based on criteria that the recipient:

  • Continually educates the membership about the credit union difference;
  • Supports CULAC and/or the state PAC;
  • Attends important advocacy events such as CUNA GAC, Hike the Hill and state events;
  • Consistently supports Action Alerts and engages the membership when appropriate; and
  • Represents the credit union within its community on relevant boards and organizations

“Rick Hein exemplifies the criteria being considered for the Buck Levins Award,” said NWCUA Board Chair Jack Fallis, Vice Chair Brooke Van Vleet, and Treasurer John Zmolek in their nomination of Hein. “He not only supports all areas of advocacy—from an internal culture to leadership on CULAC fundraising to engaging his members in Action Alerts—he is constantly encouraging his peers to go above and beyond the status quo.”

NWCUA President and CEO Troy Stang also nominated Hein. “While Rick holds his team to a high standard of advocacy, he holds himself to an even higher level.”

Hein and a huge Northwest grassroots army will put their advocacy passion to work this week, messaging:

  • Credit unions’ cooperative structure as the cornerstone of the credit union difference, informing the tax exemption and delivering tangible value to members;
  • Regulatory costs that divert money from member services and benefits;
  • Support for NCUA’s Field of Membership giving more consumers and small businesses access to credit unions;
  • Support for expanding credit unions’ Member Business Lending programs; and
  • An ask that retailers share responsibility for data breaches.

Every Northwest Member of Congress and all four U.S. Senators from Oregon and Washington will meet during the week with the delegation being escorted by the Northwest Credit Union Association.

“With over 200 attendees, we are proud to be one of the largest delegations in town this week, with one of the longest distances to travel,” said Stang. “We have important work to do this week as we ensure elected officials understand that as cooperatives, credit unions exist solely to serve their members,  that all value generated in excess of expenses and reserves is returned to members,  and that those direct member benefits build financial strength for individual members and our communities.”

Questions about this story? Contact Lynn Heider: 503.350.2225, [email protected].