Largest Washington CU Day at the Capitol Turnout in History Mobilizes in Olympia

Credit union advocates at the 2018 Washington Credit Union Day at the Capitol. Find more photos from the event on NWCUA’s Facebook page.

1/30/18

An advocacy army more than 200 strong joined your Association in Olympia on Jan. 24 to message legislators about cooperative, not-for-profit credit unions and how they serve 3.6 million consumers in Washington. It was hard to miss the delegation, as they wore signature yellow and blue wool neck scarves, and gifted lawmakers with iced cookies detailing the benefits of CU membership.

Several credit unions brought large delegations, including Vancouver-based iQ Credit Union (22) and Spokane-based Global Credit Union (17).

For all grassroots advocates, the essential point driving their passion is how credit unions distinguish themselves in the financial industry.

“We are not just financial institutions, we are first and foremost cooperatives,” said NWCUA President and CEO Troy Stang. “Often legislators are pleasantly surprised to learn that 50 percent of the population — their constituents — trust their wallets to you.”

Messaging SHB/1209

A key piece of legislation advocates are fired up about is SHB/1209, which allows credit unions to deposit unlimited funds in credit unions, and remove the $250,000 limit.

“This is not a banks vs. credit unions bill,” said Paula Sardinas, Vice President, Legislative Affairs for Washington. “It’s a good public policy bill.”

Sardinas encouraged advocates to illustrate why they are #CUobsessed during their visits with all 147 legislators.

“We are in it to win it,” Sardinas said.

A Standing Ovation for a Distinguished Regulator

Advocates came to their feet in support of Linda Jekel, who will retire later this year as Director of the Division of Credit Unions, Washington Department of Financial Services (DFI).

Since beginning her role as Director in 2002, Jekel said, credit union membership has increased in the Evergreen State from 2 million to 3.4 million consumers, and assets have increased from $17 billion to over $47 billion.

“You are doing a great job growing the industry, and doing it in a safe and sound way,” Jekel said.

Honoring Outstanding Legislators

Rep. Brandon Vick (R Dist. 18) received the Community Impact Award for his support of credit unions and their members. He is noted particularly for his early support of SHB/1209.

“I appreciate the honor,” Vick said. “It’s easy to advocate for good people and for good causes. What I’ve noticed about credit unions isn’t just their products and services, but it’s that I look around at every community event and they are supporting it.”

Also honored was Senate Majority Leader Sharon Nelson (D Dist.34), who has admired credit unions’ financial performance, practices, and services since before the recession.

“You were the backbone that helped us weather that storm,” Nelson said. “You are the backbone that helps our communities, whether it’s getting somebody their first mortgage, their first car loan — they really do appreciate that. And I appreciate the fact that you are healthy financial institutions. You did not go the way of Wall St. You did not participate in jeopardizing our future. I want to say thank you, because to this day, you remain very important to our citizens.”

The Work Continues

Sardinas urged advocates to email the legislators they met, thank them again for their time, and ask for their support of priority legislation. Key measures include SHB/1209, which allows municipal governments the choice to deposit unlimited public funds in credit unions, and SB 5928 and HB 2098, the public safety issue allowing credit unions to provide financial services to legal cannabis businesses.

Click here to see more photos from this very successful day for Washington credit unions.

Posted in Advocacy News.