Credit Union Bills Make Headway in Oregon, Washington State Legislatures

A bill that would make several NWCUA-approved changes to the Oregon Credit Union Act was referred to a state Senate committee on consumer and small-business protection, while a bill in Washington that would allow for paid credit union board members is in line for a vote after being called to the Senate floor.

Senate Bill 5302 would allow credit unions in the state to begin paying board members, who have traditionally been unpaid volunteers. After receiving a do-pass recommendation from the Senate Financial Institutions, Housing & Insurance Committee on Feb. 12, the bill was referred to the Senate Rules Committee. A week later, on Feb. 19, Sen. Don Benton (R-17) pulled the bill out of the Rules Committee and onto the Senate Floor Calendar, making it eligible for a vote by the full Senate.

According to Mark Minickiello, vice president of legislative advocacy for the Northwest Credit Union Association (NWCUA), that vote could come as early as next week, but no official timeline has been placed on the bill’s progress as yet.

In Oregon, Senate Bill 520, also introduced by the NWCUA, was referred to the Senate General Government, Consumer and Small Business Protection Committee.

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.

After narrowing down the list and gathering input from regulators at the Division of Finance and Corporate Securities, the proposed changes in Senate Bill 520 would.

  1. Broaden Oregon’s parity authority by allowing Oregon credit unions to invoke parity with any credit union in the United States.
  2. Clarify the role of the supervisory committee in governance-related matters.
  3. Extend additional liability protection to credit union directors and officers.
  4. 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.”
  5. Remove language in Oregon law which permits a credit union to employ a Chief Operating Officer/President and a Security Officer.
  6. Make the declaring of dividends a delegable power under Oregon law.
  7. Increase the loans to one borrower limit to the larger of $100,000 or 15 percent of a credit union’s equity.

The State Revenue Forecast was released in Oregon last Friday and, as expected, revenues are holding steady. The overall state economy is slowly seeing an uptick, although unemployment remains high at 6.8 percent. For the 2011-2013 budget, which ends in July, revenues are slightly up over the estimate legislators used to craft the original budget. Total revenues available are up by $46 million.

The rainy day fund will end up with $137 million increase at the end of the budget cycle. No personal or corporate kickers are projected for the current budget cycle at this point, although an increase in corporate tax collections of just $14 million would trigger the corporate kicker. For the 2013-2015 biennium, the forecast predicts state revenues will reach $16.6 billion, an increase of $87 million over the December Revenue Forecast. The co-chairs of Ways and Means will use this projection to craft their Co-Chairs budget, which will be used to develop the legislature’s budget plan.

The Association is tracking more than 100 bills in Oregon. A few of note include:

  • HB2070 – An update to the Oregon Bank Act allowing board of directors to hold regular meetings at least once every two months, among other updates;
  • HB2223 – Creates Oregon Growth Board to sunset June 2015;
  • HB2239 – Requires certain entities previously exempt from requirement to have license in order to engage in business of making mortgage loans;
  • HB2400 – Removes exemption for certain beneficiaries from requirement to enter into mediation with grantor before initiating foreclosure of residential trust deed by advertisement and sale. Removes exemption for certain beneficiaries from requirement for beneficiary to pay $100 fee to county clerk when recording notice of default.
  • HB2662 – Prohibits owner of foreclosed residential real property from neglecting foreclosed residential real property during period of vacancy. Permits local government to assess civil penalty for each day during which owner fails to remedy conditions of neglect.

 

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.