State Senate Committee Hears NWCUA-Sponsored Bill to Amend Oregon Credit Union Act

A bill sponsored by the Northwest Credit Union Association (NWCUA) that would make several amendments to the Oregon Credit Union Act received its first public hearing yesterday in the State Senate General Government, Consumer and Small Business Protection Commmittee.

Sandwiched between a contentious debate on foreclosure that saw the banks pitted against consumer advocates, and a debt-buyer’s bill that drew testimony from a number of citizens, Senate Bill 520’s hearing was, according to Pam Leavitt, lobbyist and policy advisor for the NWCUA, who met with all five Senators on the committee prior to the hearing to answer questions and address concerns.

Leavitt was joined in testifying in support of the bill by Hal Scoggins, an attorney with Farleigh Wada Witt, and Rivermark Credit Union President and CEO Scott Burgess. Leavitt’s testimony focused primarily on providing background information on credit unions and their role in Oregon. Burgess used Rivermark’s specific situation to illustrate the bill’s benefits for Oregon credit unions and discussed the due diligence and planning efforts that had gone into the bill’s creation, while Scoggins, who serves as outside counsel for the NWCUA and works directly with a number of Oregon’s credit unions, detailed the technical aspects and regulatory implications of SB 520.

The bill originated from proposed changes to the Oregon Credit Union Act recommended by the Oregon Governmental Affairs Committee and approved by the Association board of directors. The Oregon Model Credit Union Act Subcommittee was formed this year with a charge of providing recommendations 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.

Leavitt said she will be “working next to get [the bill] called up for a vote in committee as soon as possible.”

 

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, NCUA, NWCUA.