Credit Union Delegation Descends on Boise

At Idaho’s Credit Union Day at the Capitol, the messages included credit unions’ economic impact and the benefits not-for-profit cooperatives provide to their members.

2/6/18

Picture of Idaho CU delegationIdaho legislators couldn’t miss the advocacy army that visited the statehouse on Jan. 30 to share the #CUobsessed message. More than 100 advocates joined your Association to deliver the good news about the state’s 35 credit unions. Gem State credit unions are among the Movement’s highest financial performers, nearly one million Idaho consumers belong to a credit union, and the economic impact driven by them is significant.

$638 Million Impact

A key new tool Idaho credit unions shared with legislators was the 2017 Economic Impacts of Credit Unions in Idaho report, a first-of-its-kind independent analysis performed by economists at ECONorthwest.

The report measured the impact of the direct benefits credit unions deliver to their members. In addition, economists calculated the impact of jobs, economic output, and income supported by credit unions.

“Fifty-five percent of Idaho’s population gets it,” Northwest Credit Union Association President and CEO Troy Stang said. “It’s not about Wall Street. It’s about being part of a not-for-profit, cooperative credit union. Those members have their benefits in their pockets, and whether they decide to save it or spend it locally, the ripple effect credit unions have on this state’s economy is $638 million.”

Dr. Michael Wilkerson, Project Director/Partner, ECONorthwest, presented details on the report at a luncheon attended by advocates and dozens of legislators.

Wilkerson explained that as not-for-profit cooperatives, credit unions are uniquely positioned to deliver benefits back to their members, and that in Idaho in 2016, this created $90 million in funds for credit union members to spend. Idaho credit unions’ 2,520 employees each supported 1.2 other jobs in the economy, meaning credit unions supported $274 million in income for Idahoans.

Wilkerson commented on the popularity of credit unions in the Gem State.

“It’s impressive that in 42 of 44 counties, you have 1,000 members,” he said.

Climb Idaho Soars

The advocacy delegation was diverse, ranging from C-Suite veterans to up-and-coming credit union employees.

Bringing a delegation of 27 young professionals to Credit Union Day at the Capitol, Climb Idaho embarked on an extremely important advocacy mission: to share their role as employees, and their credit unions’ impact helping members.

“We strongly support education in our state,” said Kevin Trombly, Sr. Roving Financial Services Representative with Meridian-based CapEd FCU. “I had a teacher who taught me when I was in junior high, that we actually provided a $750 grant to, and he was able to touch the lives of his students for about five years…and that’s an important part of being a credit union member, and being part of the Credit Union Movement, we can impact so many people.”

For Caldwell-based Simplot Employees Credit Union, it was an all-hands on deck event. The staff showed up in a big way.

“We closed the credit union today with the blessing of our members and our board, because it’s so important. If you don’t come to the table, you’re going to be on the menu,” said President and CEO Val Brooks. “We really need to advocate for the credit union for our members, and we have to set the example.”

Idaho Department of Finance’s Gavin Gee Honored

Stang presented the Idaho Community Impact Award to Gavin Gee, Director, Idaho Department of Finance, for his regulatory leadership.

Gee congratulated Gem State credit unions for being “healthy and strong, safe and sound.”

“You will continue to do business and serve your members, and that’s what is important,” Gee said in noting that Idaho credit union memberships and assets have grown exponentially since he became Director in 1996.

Ask for Legislators’ Support

Ryan Fitzgerald, your Association’s Vice President, Legislative Affairs for Idaho, has been working with members of the Idaho Governmental Affairs Committee on legislation to drive updates to the Idaho Credit Union Act.

Advocacy, he said, needs to be continuous to be effective.

“It’s a layered process,” said Fitzgerald. “It’s a constant conversation with legislators, where you are building relationships with them. Please continue to ask them to support our legislation to update the Act, because it helps us to better serve our members.”

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