Oregon Legislative Update: Credit Union Bill Scheduled for April 5 Senate Committee Vote

A bill sponsored by the Northwest Credit Union Association (NWCUA) to update the Oregon Credit Union Act is scheduled for a vote in the State Senate General Government, Consumer, and Small Business Protection Committee on April 5.  The bill was heard in Committee on March 20.  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:

  • Broaden Oregon’s parity authority by allowing Oregon credit unions to invoke parity with out-of-state credit unions and streamline the process for invoking parity with federally chartered credit unions;
  • Clarify the role of the supervisory committee in governance-related matters;
  • Extend additional liability protection to credit union directors and officers;
  • 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;”
  • Remove language in Oregon law which permits a credit union to employ a Chief Operating Officer/President and a Security Officer;
  • Make the declaring of dividends a delegable power under Oregon law; and
  • Increase the loans to one borrower limit to the larger of $100,000 or 15 percent of a credit union’s equity.

NWCUA Backs Oregon Growth Board in Legislature

The NWCUA testified in support of legislation to maintain the Oregon Growth Board on March 15.

The Oregon Growth Board was created in the 2012 Legislative Session to provide recommendations to improve the state’s efforts to increase the availability and connect Oregon businesses to sources of capital, as well as to state loan and technical assistance programs, so that employers can reach their job-creating potential. Scott Burgess, president and CEO of Rivermark Community Credit Union, serves on the Oregon Growth Board’s board of directors. 

The goals of the Oregon Investment Act are to:

  1. Increase the money to invest in Oregon opportunities and create jobs by leveraging public sector funds such, as the lottery, to attract substantial investments from the private sector;
  2. Target investments to Oregon startups and traded sector companies in a more cohesive and flexible fashion; and to
  3. Reduce the size of government. Economic develop­ment-related boards should be consolidated when possible to make the most efficient possible use of taxpayers’ funds.

“We believe the work of the board provides a unique opportunity for the state to address the capital needs of businesses across Oregon,” said Pam Leavitt, lobbyist and policy advisor for the NWCUA. “The board can play an integral role as part of a comprehensive public-private partnership for the immediate benefit of Oregon companies and the attraction of additional capital into the state.  Moreover, the Board can work to support and build out the capital ecosystem throughout the state, to include furthering mentorship support and micro-lending activities, especially in rural Oregon.”

The board took these initial steps to ensure an appropriate structure and foundation is in place to attract and improve capital availability in Oregon, which would, based on an examination of activities in other states, improve Oregon’s competitive standing in this critical area. 

“In short, the Oregon Growth Board has worked to identify the capital needs and gaps that exist in Oregon and provides a nimble, flexible mechanism to invest in effective resources for businesses in Oregon,” Leavitt said.

Oregon Credit Unions Support Efforts to Fund Clean Energy

Clean Energy Works Oregon (CEWO), a non-profit organization that helps homeowners make energy-efficient upgrades to their homes, is asking the Oregon State Legislature for $10 million in lottery-backed bonds.

By creating a one-stop shop for homeowners to find contractors and financing, CEWO scales and grows the energy-efficiency upgrade industry faster than it would otherwise. The organization will be able to fund itself through small transaction fees on each home deal once it reaches a certain scale, and the lottery-backed bonds would help CEWO grow only large enough to reach that point of self-sustenance.

CEWO currently works with a handful of lending institutions, including SELCO Community Credit Union, Advantis Credit Union and Pacific Crest Federal Credit Union, and the Northwest Credit Union Association (NWCUA) is supporting CEWO as part of the Oregon Legislature’s efforts to fund clean energy programs.

As CEWO grows, it will be able to connect more homeowners with more lending institutions all over Oregon. This one-time state investment would also help CEWO to be the largest and most successful home-energy retrofit program in the nation, minimizing environmental impact while continuing to catalyze local economies by generating customer leads and new market opportunities for Oregon’s financial institutions.

 

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, Around the NW, Awards, NWCUA.