Washington Legislative Week in Review: Committees, Hearings and Credit Union Day at the Capitol

The Washington State Legislature is in full swing, and as committees begin holding hearings, a number of bills are in the works with a potential impact on credit unions.

Last week, the House Business & Financial Services Committee held hearings on portable electronic device insurance as well as continuing education requirements for engineers. The Senate Financial Institutions & Insurance Committee, meanwhile, held a work session on debt settlement and heard bills related to condo and homeowners associations, exchange facilitators, broadening the sales tax exemption on digital financial information, and providing proof of financial responsibility for motor vehicle operation.

Over the weekend, the Senate also renamed the Financial Institutions & Insurance Committee, now calling it the Financial Institutions, Housing & Insurance Committee.

Washington Credit Union Act – Senate Bill 5302, which addresses credit unions’ corporate governance and investments and was sponsored by the Northwest Credit Union Association (NWCUA), was introduced on Jan. 25 and referred to the Senate Financial Institutions, Housing & Insurance Committee. Association staff is finalizing a House version of the bill which is expected to be introduced this week.

Financial Literacy – House Bill 1173 was introduced on Jan. 17 and referred to the House Education Committee. The bill modifies membership and certain procedures and duties of the Financial Education Public-Private Partnership (FEPPP) and requires the Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction (OSPI) to make available to all school districts the curriculum for a course or courses in financial education.

Foreclosure – Senate Bill 5191 was introduced on Jan. 23 and referred to the Senate Financial Institutions, Housing & Insurance Committee where it is scheduled for a hearing on Jan. 29. The bill provides reporting requirements for the assignment and transfer of a real property encumbrance, and modifies provisions governing a trustee’s sale. As part of the Foreclosure Work Group which worked with a wide array of stakeholders to pass the Foreclosure Fairness Act (FFA) two years ago, the Association is in opposition to legislation that would again seek to make significant changes to foreclosure laws, outside of the work group.

Exchange Facilitators – Senate Bill 5082 was introduced on Jan. 17 and referred to the Senate Financial Institutions, Housing & Insurance Committee where it received a hearing on Jan. 22. The bill would require exchange facilitators to provide clients and post on their website a disclosure notice which explicitly states that facilitator services are not regulated by any state agency. It would also require that exchange facilitators deposit client funds into a separately identifiable account and the client must have access to the current account statement from the financial institution in order to verify that the exchange funds have been deposited by the facilitator.

DFI Request Legislation – A suite of bills by request of the Department of Financial Institutions (DFI) were introduced on Jan. 23; the House versions being referred to the House Business & Financial Services Committee where they are scheduled for a hearing on Jan. 29, and the Senate versions being referred to the Senate Financial Institutions, Housing & Insurance Committee where they are scheduled for a hearing on Jan. 29.

House Bill 1325/Senate Bill 5208 – Relating to state-chartered banks, this legislation:

  • Permits DFI to collect a semiannual assessment, as well as fees for services.
  • Modifies provisions related to bank lending limits.
  • Modifies provisions related to federal parity and cross-parity with out-of-state charters.
  • Permits an out-of-state bank to establish or acquire a branch in Washington under the same circumstances as a state-chartered bank.
  • Applies requirements for engaging in a trust business to individuals and entities other than corporations, and grants the Department authority to prohibit a person from engaging in trust business.
  • Immunizes conservators from liability for acts done in good faith, and provides for supervisory direction and conservatorships over trust companies.

House Bill 1326/Senate Bill 5207 – Consumer Loan Act (CLA):

  • Provides remedies for a borrower when a person who is not licensed or exempt under the CLA makes a transaction that is subject to the CLA.
  • Provides DFI with additional enforcement authority.
  • Modifies several definitions.

House Bill 1327/Senate Bill 5209 – Money transmitters:

  • Requires fingerprinting for a state and national criminal background check of officers, directors, and owners of money services license applicants.
  • Makes a violation of the Uniform Money Services Act (Act) a violation of the Consumer Protection Act .
  • Modifies several definitions in the Act.

House Bill 1328/Senate Bill 5210 – Mortgage brokers:

  • Allows DFI greater authority to set fees on licensee under the Mortgage Brokers Practices Act (MBPA).
  • Expands the Director’s authority to impose sanctions for violations of the MBPA.
  • Modifies an exemption to the MBPA.

Credit Union Day at the Capitol

On Feb. 7, the NWCUA will host its all-new Credit Union Day at the Capitol in Olympia, Wash.

“Our goal is to have every legislator receive a visit from a local credit union on that day,” said NWCUA Vice President of Legislative Affairs Mark Minickiello.”

Several changes to this year’s program help ease the burden on credit unions who send employees to participate, such as:

  • Shorter conference (10 a.m. to 4 p.m., with no hotel stay required)
  • Free parking and shuttle
  • Reduced registration ($49)
  • Casual dress code (logo-wear encouraged)

“Our state legislators are going to be facing some tough decisions this year, and a lot of them are newly elected,” Minickiello said. “If our legislators don’t know anything about credit unions or the great things we do for our members and our communities, then they assume we are just like banks. Help us spread the word about how credit unions are different.”

Registration for the Washington Credit Union Day at the Capitol is available online. Help spread the word by also joining the event on Facebook and sharing it with friends and colleagues.

 

Questions? Contact a member of the Association’s Legislative Affairs team:

Jennifer Wagner, Vice President of Legislative Advocacy
Mark Minickiello, Vice President of Legislative Affairs
Pam Leavitt, Policy Advisor

Posted in Advocacy News, Business Solutions, Industry Insight, Strategic Link.