Northwest Federal Charter Work Group Moves the Ball Forward on Credit Union Priorities

When hundreds of credit union advocates converge on the nation’s capital for CUNA GAC next month, the FCWG’s work will be reflected.

1/21/2020

The Northwest advocacy army’s work keeping state charters relevant is admired in the Credit Union Movement nationally. For decades, state Governmental Affairs Committees have helped determine successful policy advancement agendas in the region’s state capitals.

The model was replicated at the federal level in 2019 when the Northwest Credit Union Association convened the first-ever Federal Charter Work Group. Credit union leaders from Idaho, Oregon, and Washington engaged in a thoughtful, collaborative process for several months. The entire federal charter was reviewed.

The Work Group was Chaired by Bill Anderson, President and CEO of Mid Oregon Credit Union.

As a result of the Work Group’s review and recommendations, an exhaustive compendium of recommendations was prepared for both near-term and long-term modernization of the federal charter.

Hundreds of delegates from Northwest credit unions will have the opportunity to share the FCWG’s recommendations during the Credit Union National Association’s Governmental Affairs Conference in Washington Feb. 23-27. In early conversations held in the Beltway, the reception has already been enthusiastic.

“I was in Washington earlier this month, sharing highlights of the group’s recommendations with CUNA and with Congressional champions, and we’re pleased at how well-received this work has been,” said Samantha Beeler, NWCUA Vice President, Advocacy. “We are extremely grateful for the commitment Northwest credit union leaders made to a complete review of the federal charter and excited about the impact they will make.”

Serving as a member of the Work Group was a rewarding experience for Charlotte Nemec, President and CEO of Canopy Credit Union in Spokane.

“It was amazing to see the sharing of information, so openly, regarding the challenges federally chartered credit unions face,” Nemec said.

Improvements to the Federal Credit Union Act or regulatory rules could help all credit unions, regardless of whether they have state or federal charters, Nemec added, due to possibility of parity.

“If the federal charter can be updated as we outlined, it will allow all of us to be operating from the same or similar playbooks,” she said.

The following is the NWCUA’s Federal Position Statement:

“The Association remains dedicated to the preservation of the credit union tax status and advocating for the best operating environment for credit unions. Additionally, Northwest credit unions are committed to three principles to evaluate legislative, regulatory, or legal advocacy: reducing regulatory burden, expanding powers and opportunities, and enhancing data and information security. Together we are also committed to themes of flexibility, modernization, and access.”

Editor’s Note: To receive a copy of the compendium of the Federal Charter Work Group, please reach out to Samantha Beeler at 503.350.2218.