Northwest Delegation of Credit Union Advocates Hikes the Hill May 3-4

As the House and Senate prepare to vote on a new spending package to keep the federal government running through September, a team of 14 credit union champions from Idaho, Oregon and Washington is visiting the beltway this week.

They arrive on the heels of a big advocacy win for credit unions. A large increase in funding for the Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFI) Fund is included in the new budget proposal. The Fund was on the chopping block earlier this year, but credit union movement support helped convince Congressional leaders to request $248 million – an increase of $14.5 million from last year. The Fund invests in credit unions serving low-income communities, helping them to grow membership, loans and deposits. Thirteen Northwest credit unions leverage their CDFI certification to serve their members.

The Northwest advocates are also prepared to discuss H.R. 10, the “Financial CHOICE Act.” An analysis by the Credit Union National Association (CUNA) has identified several provisions that could improve credit unions’ operating environment.

“The Financial CHOICE Act is in the markup stages as we visit Washington this week,” said Jennifer Wagner, the Northwest Credit Union Association (NWCUA) senior vice president of advocacy. “While this particular bill is very partisan and we have concerns with portions of it, we see it as an important first step in the comprehensive discussion about much-needed regulatory reform for credit unions.”

Two other areas of priority focus for advocates this week are:

  • 836, introduced by credit union champion Senator Ron Wyden (D-OR). The legislation would provide credit unions parity with other financial institutions regarding how 1-4 non-owner occupied loans are classified. Re-classifying these loans as mortgage loans would provide credit unions with additional capacity to lend to small businesses.
  • R. 1244, amending the Federal Credit Union act to allow credit unions to raise Supplemental Capital. Northwest members of Congress co-sponsoring this legislation include Suzanne Bonamici (D-OR-1) and Derek Kilmer (D-WA-6).

While your Association and Northwest credit union advocates maintain steady contact with federal lawmakers, this marks the second in-person visit to Washington, D.C. In February, a team of 260 advocates visited with all Northwest Representatives, Senators and staff during the CUNA Governmental Affairs Conference. In addition to this week’s Spring Hike the Hill, a Fall Hike the Hill is scheduled September 12-14.

Editor’s Note: Connect with legislators to influence credit union policy advancement. Reach out to Samantha Beeler at sbeeler@nwcua.org.

Posted in Advocacy News, Around the NW.