Governor Signs Credit Union Modernization Bill

Yesterday, Oregon Governor John Kitzhaber signed Senate Bill 177—Oregon’s Credit Union Act update bill—into law. 

“This is a great victory for Oregon credit unions,” said Association President Troy Stang. “It is essential that the charter keep pace with the changing times, and we are thrilled the Oregon Legislature and Governor agreed.”

The key features of SB 177 include (more details here):

  • Amends board meeting requirements to permit greater scheduling flexibility;
  • Changes the statutory title of “Credit Manager” to “Chief Credit Officer”;
  • Exempts standard mortgage loans to directors or senior managers from the requirement for board approval of loans, and adds additional safeguards regarding loans to directors and senior managers;
  • Increases the limit for loans to, and investments in credit union service organizations from two percent of assets to five percent of assets;
  • Clarifies member voting requirements for credit union mergers, in order to maximize member participation; and
  • Outlines procedures allowing members to communicate their support or opposition to a credit union merger.

The bill will go into effect one year after signing. The Association will now work with the Department of Consumer and Business Services to develop any necessary interpretive rules relating to the bill.

The Association’s staff and credit union professionals worked diligently to educate elected officials about the need for this bill—a notable achievement given the historic split House and the contentious issues on the legislative agenda this year, particularly the budget.

“In a legislative year with a historically split House, many new legislators, and the daunting task of balancing a tough budget, passing this bill is an impressive win,” added Stang.

Association lobbyist Pam Leavitt worked tirelessly in Salem over the past six months to ensure the bill met deadlines and received the nearly unanimous support of the legislature.

Over 200 credit union professionals descended on the capital and many more called and emailed their representatives to urge legislatures to support the bill. There were also executives present at three different hearing and work sessions to address potential questions.

Posted in Advocacy News.