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The Clark County Democrats believe our county is more than just voters and politics. Clark County is a diverse community of people who believe in supporting our schools, growing our small businesses, and working together to create opportunities for all of our citizens. Whether you're from Camas, Washougal, Vancouver, Battle Ground, Ridgefield, La Center, Yacolt, Amboy or beyond we invite you to see why we believe in you.

Articles

Women Dems Meeting Notes 09/20/14

Peter Aller

CLARK COUNTY DEMOCRATIC WOMEN

9-20-14

Donna Quesnell, Candidate Richard McCluskey, Candidate Mike Briggs, Carrie Parks, Juanita Greenway, Kathy Lawrence, Sue Tellock, Michele McDermid, Sarah McDermid, Karen Hengerer, Senator Annette Cleveland, Candidate Sharon Wylie, Ed Seidenberg, Anne Tomich, Dorethea Simone, Melba Halgren, Liz Campbell, LaVerne Nelson, Laura Funatake, Beth Duvall, Susan Schwartz (sschwartz1970@hotmail.com), Susan Barr

Guests:  Danette LaChapelle, Senior Vice-President Of Marketing/Facilities And Chief Communications Officer, IQ Credit Union; Ed Seidenberg, CEO of People's Credit Union

NEW BUSINESS:  CREDIT UNIONS

Danette LaChapelle of IQ Credit Union spoke about the increase in regulations as a result of the banking scandals that caused the recent recession.  She said more regulation is good in that reforms were needed.  However, these new regulations are also applying to credit unions, which were not part of the problem.  The big banks are pushing to have the credit unions pay income taxes, which they have been exempt from since they were first formed in the 1930’s.  They argue that if the credit unions are becoming bigger and offering more services, they should have to pay more taxes.  The credit unions say that the banks simply want to reduce competition from the credit unions.

There are major differences between banks and credit unions

Banks are a for-profit organizations who answer to, and make money for their shareholders.

Credit Unions are not-for-profit organizations.  "Our motive is seeing what income we can return to our customers," LaChapelle said.  Credit Unions raise capital from their members.  They aren't engaged in risky investments like the banks, because they don't have to make a profit for their shareholders.

Credit Unions were developed in Germany in the 1860's to serve poor farmers and others who had difficulty getting financial services to help each other.  They loaned out their money to other small borrowers and earned interest.  They are run pretty much the same way today. 

Credit unions serve people that banks often aren’t interested in, the poor, minorities, and small businesses.   1 out of 3 people in this country are served by credit unions, which jointly have 96 million members nationwide.  They have $1.1 trillion in assets.  By comparison, Chase Bank has $2.4 trillion in assets.  If there wasn't competition from the credit unions, the banks would be able to do whatever they want to do.

Our legislators tried to protect credit unions by saying that anyone under $10 billion in assets would not have to follow the banking rules.  However, over time, the regulations increased on the credit unions.  Now, even small credit unions with only 1 employee have to follow the same regulations that JP Morgan Chase has to follow.

Rep. Sharon Wylie, who has done a lot of work with the credit unions, said there is bipartisan support for credit unions in the Washington legislature, but there is a partisan split on the tax loopholes that give tax exemptions to the banks.  The loopholes exploited by the big 3 banks is enough money to run all the kindergartens in the state each year.  The Democrats tried to close those loopholes, but the Republicans blocked it.

In response to a question about efforts to establish a state bank, Sharon Wylie said it is a work in progress, so a lot of details haven’t been worked out yet.  The idea is being looked at because the state bank formed in South Dakota helped shield that state’s economy during the recession.  A state bank could work like an umbrella organization to provide strength and protection to smaller community banks and credit unions.  A state bank would work in partnership with these smaller institutions, and might help keep more of the money in the state. 

Ed Seidenberg, CEO of People's Credit Union, said that banks have share-holders they have to please as well as their customers.  Credit unions do not have share-holders who require that a profit be made.  They are owned by their members/depositors.  Each member, no matter who they are, has one vote.  Credit Union directors are all volunteers.  They only way Credit Unions can create capitol is to earn money.  Deposits are insured by the US government, just like the big banks.  Credit Unions have some community charters.  You have to be a member of a community to join the credit union.  CU's are also limited in how much they can loan out to businesses.  CU's serve some people who are not attractive to be served by the big banks, such as small depositors and people who need small loans as small as $100.  Also minorities.  This is again because of no profit motive.  In 1934 when credit unions were first established, credit unions were not required to pay income taxes.  It's been that way since the beginning.  The big banks want to make them pay that.  However, putting a federal income tax on CU's would put some smaller ones out of business. 

Q:  What are the differences between salaries at the credit unions and bank executives?

A:  It is much lower pay, and cu execs don't get stock options like big bank execs do.  Any shares owned by CU execs are from their deposits, just like any other member.  The executive board members at credit unions are volunteers who are elected by their membership.

Q:  Can cu's bundle mortgages and sell them to others the way the big banks did before the recession?  A:  Yes, it is allowable.  But CU’s choose not to do that.  They have limits on how much money they can have in any one area of investment.

Q:  What are the differences between federal chartered cu's and state chartered cu's?  People's Credit Union is federally chartered.  IQ is state chartered.  Federally chartered credit unions cannot charge above 12.9% interest in business lending.  The amount of business lending cu's can do is limited and capped.  They answer directly to FCUA.  State chartered cu's can get waivers to some of those limitations, and are regulated by the state.

 

Q:  How can a community support its credit unions? 

A:  Open an account at one.  You can also go to the web site donttaxmycreditunion.org and use its tool to send letters of support to your legislators.  The state legislators have been very supportive of the credit unions.  Most of the troublesome regulations come from the federal government.

Q:  How do Credit Unions support their local communities?  It was nice of IQ to be a sponsor for the recent Wine & Jazz Festival.

A:  IQ credit union has a small advertising budget, so they try to use their limited advertising dollars as a way to support local community events.  Their focus is on helping children to succeed.  The Community Reinvestment Act requires banks to take part in community events.  CU's aren't subject to that regulation, but do things voluntarily to support their communities, because that is part of their mission.

Credit Unions offer business loans, personal loans, car loans, wealth management services, etc.

OLD BUSINESS:  CANDIDATES

REPRESENTATIVE SHARON WYLIE, 49th LD--Sharon thanked the members of the audience for helping to keep her in office since 2011.  It's all about turnout.  We need to position ourselves to take back our county in two years and to take back the senate.  She's starting to become an energy nerd.  She's on the nuclear energy task force, which will be coming out with a report at the end of the year.  She is also involved in the oil train terminal issue.  She’d like to see a grass-roots campaign to revise our tax system to make it more fair.  With our demographics and the sales tax, our state financial system is based on consumption, which is not a good way to continue.   She feels that if we get the turnout, our state will keep going in the right direction.

SENATOR ANNETTE CLEVELAND, 49th LD--This year is not an election year for her, but it is for Sharon Wylie and Jim Moeller.  The annual 49th LD Fundraiser & Spaghetti Feed will be held from 5:30-7:30 at the Firefighter's Hall on Fruit Valley Road.  Annette is on the Education and Health Care Committees and is working on bills to submit in the next session. 

REPRESENTATIVE MONICA STONIER, 17th LD--She was at an event earlier this morning to recognize our veterans and POW's.  She also thanked the Democratic Women, "I know everyone in this room are the backbone of our party."  She noted how often when she's out doorbelling that many people mention just having gotten a phone call, and are glad to have had the opportunity to hear about the candidates.  She wanted to let the members know that their work on behalf of the candidates does count.

LEGISLATIVE CANDIDATE, POS 2 RICHARD MCCLUSKEY, 17th LD--He's running against Paul Harris.  Richard is a proud working man.  He's worked for every dollar he's ever earned.  He stands for the working man, for labor organizing, for defending the helpless.  He demonstrated against the Vietnam War in the 1960's.  “We have given up so much in this country to make profits for the oil industry.”  McCluskey17.com is his web page.  You can find out all about his positions there.  He has links from his web site to the actual bills.  Richard believes that defending the rights of the small is the business of the government.  It is not government's job to make life better for Exon, or Tesoro or Wall Street.  All good movements, all good candidates, all good campaigns come from the grass roots.  He said he is running a shoe-string campaign, and is counting on grass roots support to win.  “I cannot be purchased,” Richard said.   “You can tell the health of a society by how well they treat their vulnerable citizens.”

LEGISLATIVE CANDIDATE, POS 1 MIKE BRIGGS,18th LD—Mike was born & raised in this area and is a first time candidate.  He served in the Navy when young, and is a disabled veteran, although he considers his disability to be minor.  He worked for the VA at one point.    He also worked as a tax auditor for the IRS, then got BA in business from Portland State University.  Then went into the lumber business.  He’s now retired.  His wife is an attorney.  Mike said he’s running because he likes protecting the small people who have no voice.  "I'm not a shy person.  I'm fairly candid, and I speak my mind.  You need that in Olympia." 

Eric Norwood asked if the state can tax all the commerce that is transported through the Columbia River Gorge?  Mike said he wants to tax every barrel of crude shipped through and would have the funds go directly to the firefighters and other emergency responders.  Every firefighter organization he talks to says we are not prepared to deal with a major oil crisis that can happen with increasing shipments of oil through the state.

Karen Hangerer asked if Mike would support I-594?  Mike is a gun owner, and is not against hunting.  But he said he would support it, because all it does is to show that you have to pass some kind of criteria to own a gun.  "Most reasonable people don't feel that there's much wrong with it.  If we can save one child from it, it will be worth it, he said.

NEXT MEETING:  Saturday, Dec 20th, at 11:30 am.  Officer elections will be held at that time.  The group agreed that they like Round Table as a new venue for the meetings.