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Bills to tax CUs, add CRA filed in Oregon legislature
SALEM, Ore. (1/22/13)--The Northwest Credit Union Association is prepared to defend against three state bills that would impact credit unions. One involves a corporate excise tax and the others specify standards required for meeting community needs.

The bills were among the 1,200 bills introduced in Oregon's House and Senate chambers last week, said NWCUA.

"We are well-positioned to defend the credit union model and our cooperative structure," said Lynn Heider, director of communications at NWCUA. "They have been upheld at every turn every time the banks challenge us," she said, adding that legislators "know the good credit unions provide outweighs the benefits" of restricting credit unions.

House Bill 2484 requires credit unions to file with the director of the Department of Consumer and Business Services periodic reports that: summarize the number and amount of member business loans and certain other loans; describe the services credit unions provide to people with low and moderate incomes; and list total amount of deposits credit unions hold at their main office and at locations where they accept deposits.

H.B. 2485 provides that credit unions have an ongoing obligation to help meet the credit needs of all communities in which a credit union has a physical presence. It would require the director of the state's Department of Consumer and Business Services to adopt rules to specifically govern that obligation and to create certain minimum standards for measurement.

The bill also would add a new examination for credit unions, requiring the director to periodically evaluate whether each credit union meets its obligation. The director may consider the results in determining whether to approve certain applications from the credit union. If passed, the bill would take effect on Jan. 1, 2014, said NWCUA.

H.B. 2486 is the same as a bill introduced during the 2011 session that never reached a hearing, said NWCUA (Anthem Recap Jan. 18). It would impose a corporate excise tax on state-chartered credit unions and any interstate credit unions holding public deposits exceeding $250,000. The excise tax also would apply to those with commercial loans that collectively exceed 10% of a credit union's assets. The bill would apply to tax years beginning on or after Jan. 1, 2013.

Heider told News Now that NWCUA has learned that the banking lobby had e-mailed state legislatures outlining the synopsis of each bill and told legislators they looked forward to discussing the issues.

NWCUA will continue to monitor the progress of each bill. Pamela Leavitt, the association's legislative affairs liaison for Oregon credit unions, works with legislators and credit unions to improve the operating environment and is well-positioned to defend credit unions' tax status, said the association.

NWCUA has not only been able to defend previous banker-backed tax legislation, but it has successfully passed pro-active credit union lesgiation. In 2010, NWCUA spearheaded the passage of legislation that opened up the public deposit market to Oregon credit unions.


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