Local lawmakers give ‘credit’ to alternative banking industry

Dinner highlights legislative goals


A hallmark of Evergreen State finances, the meeting of the Southwest Washington Chapter of Credit Unions involving state legislators Thursday evening didn’t lead to any groundbreaking ideas.

The credit union heads talked about a range of topics directly or tangentially related to their business. Issues of housing availability and federal loan percentages were among considerations, though the administrators mostly focused on outreach beyond anything at the their businesses could do themselves.

Three of dozens of potential legislators attended the dinner. Of those, Rep. Greg Cheney, R-Battle Ground, spoke most directly, given his connection with the actual city he represented.

Cheney brought the broadest scope of potential and actual legislation, ranging from “bad actors” in credit improvement scams to the attempts at making cryptocurrencies legitimate.

Cheney said the state worked to regulate “bad actors” who were promoting credit improvement scams. He mentioned an issue with B&O taxes involved the credit unions, as well.

“Hopefully there’s going to be some legislative justice there,” Cheney said.

In most situations, Cheney said some sort of legislative action would happen.

“It’s important to stay engaged on that issue,” Cheney said.

Another local representative was happy to highlight achievements. Rep. Peter Abbarno has been working for years in his district for the millions in grant money received.

Abbarno spoke about $400 million invested in the capital budget he said was focused on housing.

“We know that it’s cheaper, more effective, more efficient, trying to keep people in their homes, rather than for them to be homeless and try to be housed,” Abbarno said.

Abbarno recalls working at a butcher shop in New York where there was no way to put the numbers needed into a calculator, much less a computer.

“To me, the greatest impact you have is on the ground, in the trenches, giving back to our community,” Abbarno said.