Record Number of CU Advocates Hit Olympia on Eve of Critical Public Funds Vote

The 2017 Washington Credit Union Day at the Capitol brought more than 200 Washington credit union advocates to Olympia, sharing the substantial impact credit unions have on their communities and economies.

The Washington Credit Union Day at the Capitol kicked off with an early morning advocacy training, followed by a visit from Acting Director of the Washington Department of Financial Institutions, Gloria Papiez. It ended with a rousing call for credit union advocates to stay engaged with their legislators on a critical public funds bill set for a vote.

NWCUA President & CEO Troy Stang kicks off the morning by sharing the 2016 Northwest Credit Unions’ Impacts report with advocates.

In between? The day was packed with wall-to-wall meetings with more than 200 advocates, legislators, and House and Senate staff.

“The impact is where your work today comes into play—telling stories of how your credit union makes an impact in the communities that you serve,” added Troy Stang, NWCUA President and CEO when addressing advocates in the morning.

“Frankly, that’s where the members who serve under the Capitol dome see your institutions show up day in and day out, because those same members that you serve are their constituents,” he said.

Acting Director of the Washington DFI, Gloria Papiez, stopped to visit with attendees, remarking that the Credit Union Movement is “alive and well” based on the strong attendance in the room, drawing applause from the advocates.

As the morning session broke, advocates flooded House and Senate offices to meet with legislators and staff, sharing their thanks to House members for unanimously supporting a recent Credit Union Act update bill, while urging support for a separate bill allowing Washington credit unions to accept unlimited public funds, which eventually passed the House by a vote of 73-24.

The bill will now move to the Senate, where VP of Legislative Affairs Paula Sardinas added that the advocacy momentum needs to continue.

NWCUA President & CEO Troy Stang looks on as Rep. Steve Kirby addresses advocates.

“We will need your continued advocacy with Senators to influence this process, and ensure your credit unions can better serve your members,” she said.

Advocates also shared the latest results of a recent ECONorthwest economic study, 2016 Northwest Credit Unions’ Impacts Report, which showed the substantial impact Washington credit unions have delivered for their members.

“Credit unions, for years, have had fantastic message points: you’re not-for-profit cooperatives, critical to communities. What this report does is gives us the data to back those message points up,” said Jennifer Wagner, SVP of Advocacy for NWCUA. “This is common speak for legislators. They are used to hearing about economic impact—in particular by keeping your not-for-profit, cooperative structure top-of-mind.”

Following the myriad meetings, advocates gathered under the Capitol Rotunda for a group photo, and to recognize Rep. Steve Kirby with the 2017 Community Impact Award. Kirby, in brief remarks, redoubled his support for the public funds push and encouraged advocates to stay engaged and congratulated their work so far.

The House vote moves the public funds bill to the Washington Senate, where advocates will continue to engage with Senators. Please stay connected with your Association’s advocacy team to keep the momentum going on this important issue.

Questions about this story? Contact Eric Horvath: 503.350.2222, ehorvath@nwcua.org.