Washington Credit Unions: We Need Your Voices


Our annual Credit Union Day at the Capitol in Washington is just a week away, and we need your voices to demonstrate the Credit Union Difference to legislators.

On Jan. 24 in Olympia, credit union advocates will share the latest data on Washington credit unions’ economic impact with policymakers, show legislators credit unions’ obsession with providing better services to members, and help advance legislation that drives the Credit Union Movement forward.

The 2018 legislative session raises several important issues for the state’s credit unions, which credit union advocates will discuss with legislators during this year’s Day at the Capitol. Among the most critical topics are public funds and cannabis banking.

Public Funds

During this legislative session, we encourage credit union professionals to ask state legislators to support SHB 1209, which makes it possible for municipalities to bank unlimited public deposits with local financial institutions.

State and local governments are entrusted to be the custodians of municipal deposits. As public servants, they are charged with this important responsibility, and are obligated to safeguard the people’s money pursuant to lawful requirements and watchful oversight. At the same time, these municipalities are expected to seek a fair and competitive rate of return on the “people’s money.”

Many local governments in Washington are underbanked and underserved. They need more financial institution choices in their local markets. Currently, Washington State’s $250,000 cap on public funds limits public entities’ ability to make a competitive choice.

“Local governments have approached our Association, asking for legislation that would allow them greater access to deposit in credit unions,” said Paula Sardinas, NWCUA’s Vice President, Legislative Affairs for Washington. “They’re seeking smarter, more competitive, local investment opportunities that will benefit taxpayers. As credit union professionals, your voice is vital to telling policymakers how member-owned, not-for-profit cooperatives are giving a voice to those in underserved and underbanked communities, and why credit unions are a sound investment for local municipalities’ public funds deposits.”

Cannabis Banking

Since 2014, Washington’s legal marijuana businesses have generated more than $1 billion in sales, $260 million in tax revenue, and paid $286 million in wages to 10,984 employees. However, federal guidelines for serving these businesses contain complex regulatory burdens. With few financial institutions willing to take on the regulatory risk, marijuana businesses are forced to operate in a high-cash environment, resulting in a public safety issue.

The credit unions that have chosen to accept the risks of banking with legal cannabis businesses are making communities safer by protecting hundreds of millions of cash from crime risks, and securing those funds in credit union accounts.

To support credit unions in protecting their communities and providing peace of mind for legal canna businesses, credit union advocates are supporting two bills in the 2018 legislative session, SB 5928 and HB 2098. These bills exempt financial institutions that provide services to legal marijuana-related businesses, researchers, armored car services, and laboratories, from any state criminal prosecution.

Register Today

This year, we hope to see 200 credit union professionals — including one from every district — advocating on the ground in Olympia. NWCUA’s Advocacy team will provide training for first-time attendees, and walk all advocates through key talking points prior to meetings with legislators.

Click here to find out more about what to expect, and to register to attend. We’re looking forward to watching policymakers become #CUobsessed as you show them how credit unions’ not-for-profit, cooperative, local, and member-owned structure is helping people in their communities live better lives.

Questions about the 2018 Credit Union Days at the Capitol? Contact Samantha Beeler, NWCUA’s AVP, Advocacy, at sbeeler@nwcua.org.

Posted in Advocacy News.