Former U.S. Rep. Steve LaTourette (R-Ohio), a longtime credit union champion, died Wednesday at the age of 62 from pancreatic cancer. LaTourette was an original co-author of the Credit Union Access Membership Act, which preserved the right of consumers to join credit unions.
“Credit unions are forced to say goodbye to a true friend with the passing of former Rep. LaTourette. Steve and I served together in the House for 12 years, and he was a good friend and a great voice for the people of Ohio,” said CUNA President/CEO Jim Nussle. “The credit union world--CUNA most certainly included--will never forget the bold role Steve took to preserve consumers' access to financial choice.
“By co-sponsoring the landmark 1998 Credit Union Membership Access Act (H.R. 1151), he acted to preserve the right of consumers to join credit unions, essentially overturning a Supreme Court decision on the matter. Steve's leadership was key to the success of that momentous fight, and it illustrates just one time of many when he fought the good fight for credit union priorities.
"The credit union community extends its deepest sympathy to the congressman's family and friends and to all those who mourn his passing,” Nussle added.
LaTourette served nine terms in Congress, from 1995 to his retirement in 2013. In addition to the Credit Union Membership Access Act, which passed in 1998, he supported CUNA-backed legislation on member business lending, interchange fees, data security, and credit union share insurance, as well as the Credit Union Regulatory Improvements Act.
Paul Mercer, president of the Ohio Credit Union League, said the credit union movement as a whole benefited from LaTourette’s efforts.
“The Ohio Credit Union League is saddened to hear of the passing of former U.S. Rep. Steve LaTourette. The credit union movement will remember Steve for his championing of credit union issues, particularly his leadership in shepherding the Credit Union Membership Access Act, which helped shape the movement we recognize today,” Mercer said. “His legacy will forever be enshrined in credit union lore. In Ohio, we will remember Steve for his charisma, love for Northeast Ohio, and courage as he battled this devastating disease. Our thoughts and prayers are with his wife, Jennifer, and his five children.”