Credit Union Day at the Capitol: The Credit Union Difference is Made Clear to Idaho Legislators
Idaho advocates are encouraged to stay engaged during and after the session, discussing credit union priorities with legislators.
It was hard to miss credit unions in Boise last Wednesday. More than 100 advocates from credit unions large and small and from every region of the Gem State convened for the Northwest Credit Union Association’s Idaho Credit Union Day at the Capitol.
Credit Unions’ Impact and Stories
Advocates met with key legislators and shared a united Credit Union Difference message about the value not-for-profit, cooperative credit unions deliver to 1 million Idaho members.
The messages were well-received by our credit union advocates, further reinforced by recently retired House Minority Leader and State Representative, Mat Erpelding, who shared his unique insight on advocacy.
“Meeting during the session isn’t always the best time,” Erpelding said, noting how busy and stretched-thin legislators are. “The work must continue outside of the session to discuss credit union priorities.”
According to Troy Stang, NWCUA President and CEO, advocacy “helps to evolve the landscape for credit unions.” Idahoans, Stang said, are seeing the “real, tangible value” being delivered to members on Main Street.
That value is documented in the first-of-its-kind Community Impact Report, showing how credit unions help Idahoans build brighter futures through services such as free financial education provided to nearly 10,000 consumers. The report also detailed $82 million in community giveback, including benefits to members, charitable contributions, and the more than 500 nonprofits Idaho credit unions support.
Jennifer Wagner, NWCUA’s Executive Vice President and Chief Advocacy Officer, urged advocates to share the impact data, as well as the real member stories that support it.
Legislators who attended the NWCUA luncheon saw a live demonstration of credit unions’ financial education effectiveness when a team from Meridian, Idaho-based CapEd Credit Union, led a tabletop exercise designed to educate consumers on the importance of credit scores.
Meeting the Regulator
Attendees had the opportunity to meet Patti Perkins, who took the reins as Director of Idaho’s Department of Finance on Jan. 13. Perkins discussed the agency’s role in protecting the safety and soundness of the financial services industry, while highlighting the importance of people, relationships, and strong communication with the industries she now oversees.
Hearing from Leadership
Leadership from both the Idaho House and Senate provided insight on priorities during the 2020 session.
State Senators Chuck Winder (R-District 20) and Michelle Stennett (D-District 26) identified education, infrastructure, and pragmatic budget choices as key areas of focus for the 2020 Legislative Session. House Majority Leader Mike Moyle (R-District 14A) and Assistant Minority Leader Ilana Rubel (D-District 18) said they expect education, property taxation, and prison reform to be issues of significant review and debate during this session.
“Idaho credit unions worked closely with us over the last year to determine the priorities we will share with the legislature in this session and beyond,” said Ryan Fitzgerald, NWCUA’s Vice President, Legislative Advocacy. “We appreciate our advocates’ continued engagement and recommend, during the session and afterwards, that credit unions continue to connect with their elected official and share their members’ stories.”