Rep. Denny Heck (D-Wash.), a longtime friend of credit unions in Congress and former credit union employee, announced last week he will not seek re-election in 2020. Heck, who has served in Congress since 2012, served as director of marketing for Columbia CU in Vancouver, Wash. early in his career.
“As a member of Congress who also has experience working in a credit union, Rep. Heck was a true champion for credit unions, having seen firsthand the credit union difference,” said CUNA President/CEO Jim Nussle. “His door was always open to listen to thoughts and concerns from CUNA, the Northwest Credit Union Association and Washington credit unions, and legislation he has supported has helped credit unions serve members better, most recently the SAFE Banking Act.”
Troy Stang, president/CEO of the Northwest Credit Union Association, also thanked Heck for being a credit union champion.
“We deeply appreciate Rep. Heck’s support of credit unions and their 7.3 million members in the Northwest,” he said. “We thank him for his years of public service, and we wish him and his family the best.”
Heck appeared regularly at the CUNA Governmental Affairs Conference and welcomed credit unions from Washington to his offices during Capitol Hill visits that occurred around GAC and later in the year.
Heck strongly supported the Secure and Fair Enforcement (SAFE) Banking Act in the House, a bill to allow financial institutions to serve legal cannabis-based businesses. During a hearing in which CUNA testified in support of the bill, Heck said he shared credit union concerns over the safety issues presented when such businesses cannot access financial institutions.
During the 2019 August recess, Heck met with Washington credit union members and NCUA Board Member Todd Harper in Olympia and requested NCUA look at a rule change to encourage credit unions to expand service to military families.
Speaking to Credit Union Magazine in 2017, Heck recalled that the credit union difference was apparent to him as soon as he walked through the door at Columbia CU.
“Day one, I realized the term ‘member-owned cooperative’ speaks for itself,” he says. “The emphasis on member service, and how that translates to lower rates and friendlier products, was a whole new world to me.”