Full Speed Ahead: Putting the Advocacy Model of the Future in High Gear

Weeks before the merger of the Northwest Credit Union Association and the Mountain West Credit Union Association becomes official on July 1, the regional advocacy model of the future already is wheels up.

With advocacy positioned as job one, the future Association and its member credit unions will collaborate to deepen the focus of hyper-local state advocacy while leveraging expanded federal reach, with 12% of the U.S. Senate and 10% of the U.S. House represented within the Association’s six-state membership.

Seeing the Future Now

Governmental Affairs Committees (GACs) are being established in Arizona, Colorado, and Wyoming, that will see credit union leaders and Association teams at the table, creating and advocating for policies that will advance credit union priorities in each state and in Washington, D.C. The first meetings for these newly minted GACs are scheduled to take place in late July. The already-established GACs in Idaho, Oregon, and Washington, are meeting this month, and all states’ GACs will continue collaborating over the summer, making recommendations that will help to drive policy in the next legislative sessions and beyond.

“It’s a busy summer, with credit unions from all six states leaning in and collaborating,” said Jennifer Wagner, EVP, and Chief Advocacy Officer, NWCUA. “In addition to the Governmental Affairs Committees working full speed ahead, face-to-face meetings with federal legislators and regulators are scheduled in Washington, D.C.”

The NWCUA and MWCUA are jointly hosting a Spring Hike the Hill in June, Wagner said, during which a delegation of credit union leaders and the Associations’ teams will meet with Members of Congress and with leadership at the NCUA.

Advocacy is Inclusive

Credit unions can expect to learn soon about plans to engage their teams more deeply in an evolving grassroots advocacy program. With more than 30,000 passionate employees in the region, the call to advocate will be heard at all levels of credit unions, from board rooms to corner offices, to the front lines where dedicated employees are serving 12.3 million members.

Difference-Making Data

This week, credit unions across the six states are receiving economic and community impact surveys, which be shared during the 2023 legislative sessions in every state and in federal advocacy. Economists from the renowned firm, ECONorthwest, will measure credit unions’ economic output, the impact of the industry’s jobs, direct financial benefits to members, and the ripple effect when those benefits are spent in local economies. As important, the community impact survey will demonstrate credit unions’ service to communities through special lending, volunteerism, financial education, and more.

“The time credit union teams invest in sharing data in these surveys will serve the Movement for years to come,” Wagner said. “With these resources in the toolbox, advocates’ voices will be stronger and more effective.”

Posted in Advocacy News.