Northwest Credit Unions’ United Grassroots Advocacy Delivers Impactful Message to Congress


Credit union advocates from the Spokane area met with Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers (WA-5) last week during CUNA GAC in Washington, D.C.

The 250 Northwest advocates who represented the Credit Union Movement at last week’s Credit Union National Association Governmental Affairs Conference made a lasting, positive impression on Congress.

They visited the offices of all Northwest members of Congress to deliver a strong message: not-for-profit, cooperative credit unions are a vital force in the financial services sector and are the preferred financial services partners to 7.3 million consumers across Idaho, Oregon, and Washington.

“Many of our elected representatives made it a point to recognize our grassroots strength and noted what a strong message it sends to them and to their colleagues when so many credit union advocates come to Washington, D.C., with a united voice,” said Samantha Beeler, Northwest Credit Union Association Vice President, Advocacy.

The advocates were well-prepared and lockstep in their asks that Congress help credit unions to better serve their members by supporting priorities, such as:

  • The need for a nationwide policy encasing robust data privacy and security standards to ensure safer communities;
  • Modernizing the Federal Credit Union Act to help credit unions further deliver the people-over-profits services to more consumers; and
  • Access to capital for small businesses — a cornerstone of credit union lending.

Idaho credit union advocates met with U.S. Senator James Risch during CUNA GAC in Washington, D.C., last week.

Advocates also spoke on the ways in which credit unions’ not-for-profit structure is unique among financial services providers, holding them inherently accountable to their member-owners.

Community impact data provided by NWCUA member credit unions also was celebrated on the Hill. The NWCUA’s newly released Community Impact Reports (CIRT) show hundreds of thousands of people were served by credit union financial education, thousands of nonprofit organizations were supported, and other community givebacks for the year 2018.

During the conference general sessions, Northwest credit unions were celebrated on the mainstage. Videos showing credit unions’ service to rural communities and loans to help families achieve their dreams were played before an audience of thousands of advocates attending from across the nation.

Debie Keesee, CEO of Spokane Media Federal Credit Union, was inducted into the Credit Union House Hall of Leaders. Keesee is recognized as a leading advocate and voice of the Credit Union Movement as we know it today.

Credit Union Leaders Share Thoughts on Troy Stang’s CUNA Board Chair Election

Also during GAC, NWCUA President and CEO, Troy Stang, was elected to serve as Chair of the CUNA Board of Directors.

Credit union leaders from across the region agreed his contributions as Board Chair will elevate all Northwest credit unions’ voices on the national stage.

“Our collective voices have been and will continue to be amplified by his national presence,” said Kent Oram, CEO of Idaho Central Credit Union and Vice Chair of the NWCUA Board of Directors. “We are honored the CUNA Board chose Troy for this position and look forward to his service.”

Gene Pelham, President and CEO of Rogue Credit Union, echoed Oram’s sentiments.

Oregon credit union advocates met with Rep. Earl Blumenauer (OR-3) during CUNA GAC last week.

“Troy’s service on the CUNA Board has given a national voice to credit unions in Oregon, Washington, and Idaho. Now as Chair, Troy is able to highlight the pacesetting work of Northwest credit unions and bring our unique and proactive solutions to the rest of the Credit Union Movement.”

Debie Keesee, CEO of Spokane Media Federal Credit Union, said Stang’s leadership has enabled the region’s credit unions to be on the “leading edge in charter enhancement and regulatory reforms.”

“Many of our programs have been emulated as the most effective model to achieve positive change,” Keesee said. “His Chairmanship at CUNA will allow credit unions across the nation to benefit from his drive to ensure that everyone recognizes how and why credit unions are the best financial alternative. Troy’s focus on Structure, Value, and Impact (SVI) makes the big stage!”

Your Association thanks all advocates for their hard work and dedication, as well as their teams back home for their dedicated service.

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Posted in Advocacy News.