Merkley Tells GAC Delegates He Will Cosponsor Wyden’s MBL Parity Bill

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The Credit Union National Association’s 2016 Governmental Affairs Conference is in the books. It was an event that brought world-renowned speakers to the main stage and sent 5,000 passionate credit union advocates into the halls of Congress.

While there were many memorable moments, a headline for the Northwest delegation was hearing personally from Oregon Sen. Jeff Merkley (D-OR) that he will cosponsor the Credit Union Residential Loan Parity Act (HR 1422/S 1440). The legislation would change how 1-4 unit family non owner-occupied residential loans are categorized. The reclassification would give credit unions parity with banks and would free up more than $200 million in additional capital for Northwest credit unions to lend to small businesses.

A National, GAC Spotlight Shined on the Northwest Credit Union Movement

  • Washington Rep. Denny Heck (D-10) was one of a handful of elected federal officials granted an opportunity to speak to all GAC delegates. Heck, a lifelong credit union member, was introduced by Northwest Credit Union Association President & CEO Troy Stang as a leader who “knows what it takes to collaborate, be effective, and get things done.”
  • Oregon State Credit Union CEO Rick Hein received CUNA’s highest advocacy honor—the Buck Levins Credit Union Political Activist Award—established to recognize one credit union leader per year for outstanding work amplifying the Credit Union Movement.
  • Two Northwest credit union leaders were inducted into the Credit Union House Hall of Leaders. Thousands of visitors and Members of Congress who tour the building in Washington each year see the permanent display honoring the leaders.
    • Patricia E. Smith, President and CEO of Portland-based Unitus Community Credit Union was recognized for three decades of contributions to the Movement. She was a driving force in the growth of Credit Unions for Kids, has long been a mentor to emerging credit union leaders, and has led the $979 million-asset-sized credit union through continued membership growth, high member loyalty scores, and recent recognition as one of the most admired financial companies in Oregon.
    • Parker Cann, General Counsel and SVP, Governance, Risk and Compliance for BECU was honored for his 35 years of service, both as a senior leader and as a regulator. Cann is credited with helping to create one of the most progressive state charters, which enables more Washington State residents to enjoy the benefits of credit union membership.
  • Spokane-based STCU received a national Honorable Mention CUNA Award in the Desjardins Youth Financial Education category. STCU was honored at a reception Wednesday evening.
  • Executive Officers were elected to the CUNA Board of Directors, including NWCUA President and CEO Troy Stang, who is now the At-Large Member of the Executive Committee. Spokane Media Federal Credit Union CEO Debie Keesee began her board service following her recent election. Woodstone Credit Union President/CEO Susan Streifel completed her term as Chairwoman and passed the gavel to new Chair Rod Staatz, a Linthicum, Maryland credit union CEO.

Questions about this story? Contact Lynn Heider: 503.350.2225,

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