Tenacity Pays Off in Advocacy Win for Washington’s Foreclosure Fairness Act

4/24/18

Washington Governor Jay Inslee signed foreclosure fairness legislation into law in March 2018.

Advocacy is not a one-and-done. In every election cycle, some elected champions leave office and new leaders need to be educated about the credit union difference. Other times, it takes more than one legislative session to pass landmark legislation. Such was the case with foreclosure fairness legislation recently signed into law by Washington Governor Jay Inslee.  The state’s credit unions have worked with their Association for at least eight years to improve the foreclosure regulatory environment. Their work resulted in passage of HB 2057 during the 2018 legislative session.

“This legislation is critically important for credit unions and for their members,” said Paula Sardinas, Northwest Credit Union Association (NWCUA) Vice President, Legislative Affairs for Washington. “The new law creates essential new protections for low-income consumers, senior homeowners, and communities facing foreclosure.”

Tony Harris, Senior Corporate Counsel for Tukwila-based BECU, echoed Sardinas’ enthusiasm for the importance of the legislation.

“Thanks to the leadership of Rep. Tina Orwall (D-Des Moines), this legislation is a win-win for both credit unions and our members,” Harris said. “The bill’s increased funding for housing counselors provides an opportunity for consumers to better understand their rights as well as available housing options at the beginning of the foreclosure process.”

For credit unions managing the accounts of deceased borrowers, Harris said, the law will save time and legal fees by keeping the process out of the court system.

“In addition to helping our members potentially avoid foreclosure, credit unions are now able to enter and secure abandoned properties that have been deemed vacant and a nuisance by a city, county, or town,” Harris continued. “Ensuring vacant properties are secure and safe is part of the credit union’s effort to build healthy communities across the state. We applaud the efforts of Rep. Orwall and the stakeholder work group who continue to modernize Washington’s foreclosure statute to keep pace with current business practices.”

This legislative success demonstrates the opportunities credit unions have to be at the table, advocating for legislation and regulatory relief that makes sense for them and for their members, Sardinas noted. She said the process for 2019 is underway now, with the State Issues Work Group convening soon to review recommendations for a policy advancement agenda.

Editor’s note: Questions about the Foreclosure Fairness Act, or thoughts on the 2019 policy agenda? Contact Paula Sardinas, Vice President, Legislative Affairs for Washington. psardinas@nwcua.org

Posted in Advocacy News.