Legislative Update for November 2012

Member Business Lending Legislation

Member business lending legislation has continued to be the critical legislative issue for credit unions in November as Congress works through its post-election lame-duck session.

The back story remains the same, of course. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid promised the bill would receive a floor vote in the Senate before the end of the year and has regularly reaffirmed that commitment in the months since.

A vote had at one time been expected during the final week of November, but it now appears as though S. 2231 may be attached to another bill if it does not itself receive a vote.

Read more about the MBL legislation and the Hike the Hill that took place in Washington, D.C., this week:

Stories of Northwest Small Businesses and the MBLs that Helped Them Grow

To illustrate the importance of raising the MBL cap, the Association has been telling the stories of real small-business owners in Oregon and Washington who have benefited from a credit union MBL. Read more:

November Elections

Credit unions in the Northwest and around the country were rewarded for their political advocacy efforts, as credit-union supported candidates boasted an overwhelming success rate in the November elections. For more details, read this full report.

Oregon Legislative Session

Only a few short months remain until the beginning of the 2013 legislative session on Feb. 4, 2013. The NWCUA Legislative Team is working hard to finalize our legislative agenda. The bill is currently being drafted by legislative counsel. Here are a few other important dates to keep in mind before the beginning of the legislative session in February: 

  • December Legislative Days: Dec. 10-12. These will be the final legislative days for the current Legislative Assembly. During these three days, committees will hold informational hearings, and the Senate will convene to confirm executive appointments.
  • Pre-Session Organizational Days: Jan. 14-16. This will be the first time the newly elected Legislative Assembly will come together before the 2013 session. During these days we will formally elect House and Senate leaders, and finalize committee assignments.

The NWCUA board of directors approved the legislative agenda recommended by the Oregon Governmental Affairs Committee outlining proposed changes to the Oregon Credit Union Act. The Oregon Model Credit Union Act Subcommittee was formed this year, and charged with providing recommendations for state legislative changes to the Oregon Credit Union Act designed to advance the charter and operating environment for credit unions in the State of Oregon. The subcommittee was charged with comparing each section of the Oregon Credit Union Act against CUNA’s Model Credit Union Act for discussion. Throughout the summer months, the Oregon Model Credit Union Act Subcommittee met on five occasions. The subcommittee was chaired by Rivermark Credit Union President and CEO Scott Burgess. After narrowing down the list and getting thoughts and opinions from our Regulators at the Division of Finance and Corporate Securities, here is our current list:

Proposed Amendments to Oregon Credit Union Act

  1. Broaden Oregon’s parity authority by allowing Oregon credit unions to invoke parity with any credit union in the United States.
  2. Remove those provisions of the Oregon Credit Union Act that require the supervisory committee to engage in activities that are not audit-related, but retain the board’s ability to assign the supervisory committee additional non-audit related duties.
  3. Extend additional liability protection to credit union directors and officers.
  4. Protect credit union volunteers from liability if they make their decisions based on information, reports or statements prepared or presented by credit union employees or retained experts.
  5. Remove the wording in Oregon law which requires the board to “perform other duties as the members of the credit union from time to time direct and perform or authorize any action not inconsistent with this chapter and not specifically reserved by the bylaws for the members.”
  6. Remove language in Oregon law which permits a credit union to employ a Chief Operating Officer/President and a Security Officer.
  7. Make the declaring of dividends a delegable power under Oregon law.
  8. Increase the loans to one borrower limit to the larger of $100,000 or 15 percent of a credit union’s equity.

Public Funds

As the state of Oregon develops the back end of a new credit unions Public Funds Collateral Program, the industry is readying for changes with the formation of a workgroup. For more details, read this full report.

Credit Union Tax Exemption

Language threatening the federal credit union tax exemption was discovered shortly after the full text of a House bill based on the Simpson-Bowles commission report was released in November. Rep. Dennis Ross, the bill’s drafter and a credit union supporter, said the tax status was included due to a drafting error. For more details, read this full report.

Regulatory Advocacy Update

The NWCUA remains vigilant on the regulatory front, working closely with regulators, government agencies and legislators to monitor and ease the regulatory burden. Read the following reports for a detailed account of our recent activity:

Oregon Business Plan Leadership Summit

The Oregon Business Plan, an effort by the state’s business leaders to create 25,000 new jobs across Oregon each year and raise Oregon’s per capita income above the national average, is hosting a Leadership Summit on Dec. 3 to discuss opportunities and strategies for 2013. For more details, read this full report.

CUNA Governmental Affairs Conference (GAC)

Scheduled for Feb. 24-28, 2013, the 2013 CUNA GAC will focus on the challenges and opportunities for credit unions presented by the agenda of the soon-to-be elected 113th Congress. Recently signed keynote speakers include legendary journalist Tom Brokaw and heralded writer Jean Chatzky. For more information and to register, visit gac.cuna.org or follow @CUNAverse and #CUNAGAC.

This year, the Northwest Credit Union Association (NWCUA) room block will once again be at the Grand Hyatt Washington located at 1000 H Street NW, Washington, D.C. 20001. The rate is set at $325 plus 14.5-percent tax.

For more details, read this full report.

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