Workgroup Convenes to Update Washington’s Model Bylaws

The Association has convened a group of corporate governance experts to overhaul Washington’s model bylaws for state chartered credit unions. The workgroup is looking for outside input from credit unions around the state that are willing to share their best practices.

The need for the project became apparent following a 2013 effort by DFI and the Association to make some minor revisions to the bylaws in order to bring them in line with the state credit union act.

“Participants recognized that the 2001 bylaws were not just out of date, they were antiquated and that a comprehensive overhaul was needed,” said John Trull, director of regulatory advocacy for the Association. “The Division of Credit Unions and the Association have been using a 2001 version of the model bylaws for Washington State. Since 2001 the credit union movement has come a long way and model bylaws should be future focused, and compliant with statutory and regulatory changes that have occurred in the past 15 years.”

The Washington Model Bylaws Workgroup convened their first meeting on September 3, 2014 at the Association’s SeaTac Office. Members of the workgroup represent small, large, and geographically diverse credit unions. The group also includes the Association’s Director of Regulatory Advocacy John Trull, and law firm Farleigh Wadda Witt’s Principal Brian Witt.

Witt helped streamline the project by providing a statutorily up-to-date framework that incorporates best practices from credit unions both in Oregon and Washington, and around the nation. Witt estimates that he has assisted more than 40 credit unions update their bylaws.

At the first meeting, Witt and Trull outlined the mission, process, goals and reasons for undertaking this project, as well as a timeline for completion:

  • Mission – Create a document that provides credit unions maximum flexibility that can stand the test of time.
  • Process – Create a work plan, seek volunteers with corporate governance expertise, seek broad input from state chartered credit unions throughout the state, and seek approval from the Association board and Department of Financial Institutions.
  • Timeline – Have a revised document approved by state chartered credit unions, the Association and the DFI ready for publication by January 1, 2015.

Credit union professionals interested in sharing bylaw best practices are invited to email John Trull, director of regulatory advocacy for the Association at jtrull@nwcua.org.

While this project is specific to Washington state chartered credit unions, the Association is encouraging federal charters to provide input on roadblocks created by the standard federal bylaws. The NCUA is expected to issue a rule prior to the end of the year revising the federal bylaws.

The Association will likely initiate a similar process next year to update Oregon’s bylaws.

Questions about this story? Contact James Pearson: 206.340.4790, jpearson@nwcua.org.

Posted in NWCUA.