Clarity COO Nick Fugal’s Advice to First-Time Advocates: ‘It Takes Time’

It’s officially advocacy season. Idaho and Washington kicked off their 2022 legislative sessions yesterday, Jan. 10, and Oregon will have a short session this year, beginning Feb. 1.

That means it’s time for the Northwest credit union community to shout the Credit Union Difference from the proverbial rooftops! Three fantastic opportunities to connect and engage with elected officials are quickly approaching:

As a credit union professional, your voice is important. It’s a powerful tool in moving the needle on key industry priorities that impact the Movement’s long-term success.

Just ask Nick Fugal, Chief Financial Officer at Clarity Credit Union in Meridian, Idaho. A long-time advocate, Nick knows what’s possible when the credit union community comes together for a shared mission. In 2021, he served as Chair for NWCUA’s Advocacy Subcommittee, and is co-chair of the Idaho Governmental Affairs Committee this year. Nick recently sat down with Anthem to discuss the importance of advocacy.

Why is advocacy critical to building a brighter future for credit unions?

Nick Fugal: Advocacy is important because it allows us to continue to serve our members the way they want to be served. Fostering positive relationships with legislators and government administrators enables credit unions to operate in an advantageous regulatory environment, which ultimately benefits those we serve — our members.

What are some of the ways you’ve been engaged in credit union advocacy recently?

NF: Working with the Advocacy Subcommittee this year was awesome! We were at the forefront of the IRS reporting issues* and had several opportunities to teach legislators the burden that would have been placed on our members. I was happy to see that it did not move forward. We also had many opportunities to work with local elected officials throughout the year.

(*Editor’s note: In 2021, more than 51,000 Northwest credit union advocates sent messages to Congress opposing a proposal requiring financial institutions to report additional data on all account holders with more than $600 in gross flows to the IRS. Their victory ended the threat of a huge increase in regulatory burden for credit unions, the undermining of credit union member privacy, and significant data security concerns. The Credit Union Movement is staying close to this issue should it surface again.) 

Do you have any advice for a new credit union advocate looking to make a difference?

NF: I would make sure they understand that it takes time to foster relationships with elected officials. Don’t be discouraged if you don’t see changes made right away. It is a great way to get involved and make an impact, but it takes patience and persistence.

Don’t miss these opportunities to join your peers and make your voices heard — click here to learn more about your state’s upcoming advocacy events and register today.

Posted in Advocacy News.