Credit Union Affairs

An Experience in Governmental Affairs

Amanda Otto

Each year, usually in February or March, credit union leaders from across the nation descend onto Washington DC to spread the good word about our favorite not-for-profit organizations. This event, the Credit Union National Association’s (CUNA)* Governmental Affairs Conference, features thought-provoking speakers (this year that included Ted Koppel!), breakout sessions that tackle today’s big issues (like compliance updates and EMV/chip cards), and meetings with our legislators (everyone “hikes the hill” to visit the house and senate).

The Northwest Credit Union Association (NWCUA), the league that represents Oregon and Washington credit unions, prepares a thorough packet for all Northwest attendees with legislative issues and talking points. They also provided these great stats:

  • Credit union memberships in the Northwest have grown to 5.2 million
  • There are 157 credit unions in the Northwest, with a total of 1800 board members and 15,000 employees
  • Oregon credit unions hold 19% market share of deposits, which well exceeds the national share of 8.6%

One of our speakers was CUNA CEO Jim Nussle, and he wanted to make sure we are all on the same page: Credit Unions are different. And that’s a great thing! When we talk about The Credit Union Difference, we’re talking about being non-for-profit, member-owned financial cooperatives. Our members own us, our members run our board of directors, and our members support the community. What could be better? We need to spread the word about credit unions – check out the #cudifference videos on social media, then post and share your own!

You don’t have to work at a credit union to be involved in our movement. Having an account with Unitus is a great first step, but I would encourage all of our members to learn about the issues facing credit unions and speak directly to our legislators about them. You can stay in touch with credit union issues through Credit Union Times, Credit Union Journal, CUNA, and (of course) Unitus.

As Nussle said during his GAC speech, “Advocacy is everyone’s responsibility,” and by including all of our credit union employees and members we will have a louder voice to protect credit unions and continue to offer our superior, consumer-friendly services for many years to come. Thank you for helping us do just that!

*CUNA is a bipartisan organization. They have Democrats and Republicans that work together for one purpose: credit unions.

Posted by: Amanda Otto:

About the author: Amanda is the Senior Training & Development Specialist at Unitus and oversees New Employee Orientation and the corporate Job Skills Training Program. She holds a Master of Education degree in Educational Leadership and Policy from Portland State University and is on the board of directors for a local non-profit organization. In her free time, she enjoys running on the Portland waterfront, having coffee with friends, and eating veggie burgers.

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