More than 400 credit union staff joined the first-ever Hike at Home in August, a virtual version of the annual fall trip to Washington, D.C., where advocates meet with elected officials to share and promote credit union initiatives. It was the biggest turnout in the history of the event.
Over the course of the week, Northwest advocates connected with Congress members through video-conferencing technology, moving the ball on key legislative negotiations around capital, Paycheck Protection Program forgiveness, and CDFI support.
The Northwest delegation expressed its gratitude for all the work credit unions have done amid COVID-19 as they supported members and Main Street with PPP and emergency loans, payment deferrals, fee waivers, and more.
For some advocates, the virtual Hike at Home was their first foray into this kind of event, and it’s sure to be one to remember.
“This was my first time, and it was a very interesting experience to listen to what kind of messages we were passing on to our legislators. I was really excited to hear how responsive many of them were to PPP and other challenges we are facing with forgiveness and how that really affects our members.” said Annette Pixley, marketing coordinator for InRoads CU, St. Helens, Ore.
Even seasoned veterans of the annual Hike the Hill event agree that the virtual setting provided several benefits.
“I really liked that we had an agenda — that we were organized on our side. One of the benefits we don’t really see off-camera is that staffers were on the line as well. We don’t often get to have the representative plus the staffer in the room at the same time. We know that the staffers do a lot of the work, so it was good that they were able to hear that first-hand.” said Steve Stapp, president/CEO of Unitus Community CU, Portland, Ore.
Hike at Home also allowed smaller credit unions the opportunity to connect with elected officials when they otherwise might not have had the chance.
“The video format allows the smaller credit unions to participate. It’s a little more difficult for us to take a group to Washington, D.C., so this was much easier for us. Wauna is a little bit more remote, so it’s time-consuming to have to travel for these types of events. This was a lot easier.” said Robert Blumberg, CEO of Wauna CU, Clatskanie, Ore.