Congress Can’t Miss Credit Unions This Week!

This will be a week where members of Congress will unite around an important issue — credit unions. Regardless of other legislation and policy matters they currently disagree over, they are united around the fact that access to not-for-profit, cooperative credit unions is important for consumers.

The Credit Union National Association’s Governmental Affairs Conference is underway in Washington, D.C. this week. Thousands of credit union leaders, employees, and members who serve on credit union boards are there to meet with elected officials and tell the credit union story.

More than 160 advocates from Idaho, Oregon, and Washington have joined NWCUA’s team for CUNA GAC. In keeping with a long-honored tradition, the event kicked off Monday with a representative from each of the 50 states bringing their state flag to the mainstage. Representing the Northwest were:

  • Trisha Baker, President and CEO of Lewis Clark Credit Union in Lewiston, Idaho;
  • Veronica Ervin, SVP/Chief Risk Officer for Portland-based OnPoint Community Credit Union; and
  • Don Clark, President and CEO of Tacoma-based Sound Credit Union.

Advocates are attending legislative briefings Tuesday to prepare them for their meetings later this week with U.S. Senators and House members who represent Northwest states.

Their mission is to advocate for the best possible operating environment for credit unions, so they in turn, can even better serve the 8.1 million consumers who’ve chosen credit unions in the region as their preferred financial partners.

Advocates will be asking Congress:

  • To support bipartisan legislation lifting the arbitrary cap on business lending, which would allow credit unions to inject $5.5 billion in small businesses across the nation, creating an estimated 50,000 jobs.
  • To support bipartisan bills modernizing the Federal Credit Act. One measure will allow federally chartered credit unions to extend loan maturity limits beyond 15 years and another bill addresses employee safety issues.

Northwest advocates are also armed with rich community impact data to share with their legislators, thanks to credit unions’ engagement with the NWCUA’s Community Impact Reporting Tool survey. The data documents the many ways in which credit unions support financial well-being for all. Highlights include:

  • Support for more than 4,000 non-profits across the region;
  • More than 100,000 hours of volunteer time contributed to community work by credit union employees;
  • Free financial education that credit unions provided last year to 213,000 consumers in Northwest states;
  • More than $26 million in fees waived to help members cope with the financial fallout caused by the pandemic; and
  • Nearly $1.7 billion in loans that helped first-time homebuyers to get their dream homes.

Editor’s note: While CUNA GAC is underway, NWCUA’s hyper-local focus continues on state advocacy. Credit Union Act update bills are working their way through the legislatures in Idaho and Washington. In Oregon, this year’s “short session” is scheduled to conclude early next week. More than 70 advocates shared credit union impact news with lawmakers at the Credit Union Legislative Luncheon in Salem Feb. 17.

Posted in Advocacy News.