The Challenge

Bankers have been critical of the tax exemption granted to credit unions for decades. In Oregon, this debate began to stall as new information to help elevate the conversation slowed. Credit unions have amassed enormous political clout in state capitols and the U.S. Congress, and their support among the public remains high. But over the last decade a new breed of credit union has emerged in Oregon that runs counter to their mission of helping a class of people, such as teachers and government workers, pool financial resources for mutual benefit.

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  • Our team employed a strategic communications plan that gave much-needed visibility and perspective to issues surrounding the evolutions of credit unions in Oregon.
  • With dissemination of information as a key goal, we leveraged our media relationships to distribute focused messages across all major local publications

Reframing the Debate on Mega Credit Unions

As Oregon prepared to open its legislative session in 2013, Quinn Thomas was hired by the Oregon Bankers Association to reframe this debate around the emergence of “mega credit unions” that have become largely indistinguishable from commercial banks.

The measure of our success was rooted in the increased level of local and statewide conversations about the tax exemption for credit unions. Action on legislation to remove the tax exemption was never our goal. We injected new information into the debate – persuading media outlets to support the industry’s central argument.

Our team secured media placements in The Oregonian, Register Guard, Portland Business Journal, and The Associated Press. This included editorials validating the changing nature of the credit union industry – generating nearly 1.2 million media impressions.

In 2013, our work for the Oregon Bankers Association was honored with a Spotlight Award from the Public Relations Society of America.