NWCUA Credit Union Act Bill Passes in Oregon Senate

A Northwest Credit Union Association (NWCUA) backed bill to update the Oregon Credit Union Act passed in the state Senate Monday, 29-0.

Senate Bill 520 is now headed for consideration in the House. After its first reading, it will be assigned to a committee.

The legislation is the result of recommendations by the NWCUA’s Oregon State Model Act Subcommittee. Members of the Subcommittee met several times in 2012, comparing the Oregon Act to other credit union charters, and recommending several upgrades. The NWCUA sought input from the Division of Finance and Corporate Securities (DCBS) as well.

SB 520 will:

  • 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 officers other than the 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.

Another key focus for credit unions this session has been educating lawmakers and taxpayers about three anti-credit union bills supported by the Oregon Bankers’ Association. Two of those measures have already died in committee. HB2484 would have imposed expensive and time consuming business lending reporting requirements detailing service to people with low and moderate incomes. HB2485 would have required extensive community reinvestment reporting to state regulators. Neither bill was scheduled for a hearing.

A third bill, HB 2486, calls for a corporate excise tax on some of the state’s largest credit unions.

Because that measure is still pending through the end of the session, Association leadership, credit union advocates and their members have kept the volume turned up to celebrate the positive impact of the tax exemption—real, tangible benefits returned to members in the form of lower fees and better loan rates.

Thousands of credit union members have sent emails in support of credit unions to their legislators. The NWCUA’s grassroots, online petition lambasting the bank lobby attacks, had more than 4,000 signatures by Monday.

Troy Stang, president and CEO of the Northwest Credit Union Association was a featured guest columnist in the Portland Tribune last week.

The Oregon Bankers Association’s view on the legislation was also published in The Tribune.

“The bank lobby is the man-behind-the-curtain introducing legislation to impose additional taxes and regulatory burdens on credit unions,” said Stang, who pointed out a recent Voter/Consumer Research poll found 90 percent of Oregonians have a favorable view of credit unions while banks had only a 53% favorable rating.

“I have a bold invitation for the bank lobby more focused on crippling credit unions than on improving their own efficiencies and services: convert to a credit union charter. Why not give up your stock options and give back to consumers,” he asked.

 

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, Community Impact, NWCUA.