Busy Day on Capitol Hill Caps off Exceptional Week in Washington   

GoWest advocates were everywhere on Capitol Hill Wednesday as they sat down with legislators and key staff to talk about credit unions priorities and the credit union difference. Nearly 500 credit union leaders from across the six-state region spent the week inside the Beltway to remind legislators of the credit union impact.  

In all, 47 meetings were held during the annual Hike the Hill that caps off the America’s Credit Union National Governmental Affairs Conference (ACU GAC) in Washington, D.C. The event brought thousands of credit union advocates from across the nations to D.C. For GoWest, it was about representing the more than 17.4 million constituent members from more than 300 credit unions across the region with a strong, unified voice.  

 “It’s always exciting to be part of the ACU GAC, joining thousands of credit union colleagues from across the country in sharing the credit union difference with our federal elected officials,” said GoWest’s President & CEO Troy Stang. “But the real heart is when credit union priorities connect with impactful stories from our members about how they are serving the very people those elected officials represent. That’s the true value of the not-for-profit cooperative financial services model and it is essential for consumers, communities, and a vital component of the nation’s financial structure.”  

Advocates led discussions about protecting credit unions’ tax status, voiced opposition to interchange expansion, as well as the proposed reduction of interchange fees proposed in Reg. II by the Federal Reserve. Leaders asked Congress to protect member-focused, opt-in services like overdraft protection from being looped in with “junk fees”, while asking for support for key legislation such as modernization of the Federal Credit Union Act, SAFE Banking and the need for a national data privacy standard. Coupled with key real-time examples from their communities, the conversations were strategic and important.

Oregon Senator Ron Wyden met with a large contingent of his credit union constituents. In his comments to the group, the long-time supporter of credit unions’ tax status reiterated his position. 

“I think you all know that I feel so strongly about the credit union tax exemption. As long as I am Chair of the Senate Committee on Finance,” he said to the sound of applause drowning him out, adding as in previous years, that CUs’ tax exemption is safe. 

While meeting with Arizona credit unions, Representative Andy Biggs took a moment to show his credit union’s representative a little extra love. 

Colorado Representative and member of the House Financial Services Committee, Brittany Pettersen said meeting with credit union advocates was the highlight of her day.  

“GoWest advocates were a force on the Hill, our record numbers were proof positive that our members are fully committed to advocacy,” said Ryan Fitzgerald, SVP, Advocacy, for GoWest. “Every meeting and hallway was jam-packed with our members sharing their stories with lawmakers, including two meetings with both Oregon and Washington’s Senate delegation, where our members crowded the Senate Finance Committee hearing room. As Senator Ron Wyden put it when he assessed the record crowd, ‘Pretty soon we will need a basketball arena.’”  

“These meetings are imperative for the future of our credit unions, as we build on the relationships we have with Congressional leaders and their teams,” said Ryan Fitzgerald, SVP, Advocacy, for GoWest. “They hear from our team regularly, but for them to be able to sit in the room and hear directly from credit union leaders who are serving their constituents, it truly makes a difference and advances our advocacy priorities that with protect our credit unions and ensure they thrive into the future.” 

Posted in Advocacy on the Move, Federal Advocacy.