TOPEKA, Kan. (7/1/08)--The first stage of a new Kansas field of membership law goes into effect today, and the Kansas Credit Union Association (KCUA) and Kansas credit unions are preparing themselves for the changes that will follow. “KCUA and Kansas credit unions have been working hard to ensure that all Kansas credit unions understand the many components of the new law,” Haley DaVee, KCUA political and public affairs specialist, told News Now. “We recognize the complex nature of the legislation and, as such, realize the importance of Kansas credit unions understanding what they need to do to comply with this law.” The law places geographic restrictions on the areas credit unions can serve. The law grandfathers existing credit union members and their immediate family members, all existing occupational and associational groups, current geographic fields of membership up to 1 million in population and all current branch counties. It also outlines geographic limitations of up to 500,000 in population, using multiple contiguous political jurisdictions for credit unions not headquartered in a metropolitan statistical area (News Now April 15). KCUA held 12 educational sessions statewide over the past month and half to provide credit unions with an in-depth understanding of what to expect under the new law. The first set of three education sessions provided a step-by-step examination and overview of the four components of the bill--branching, field of membership for the future, field of membership grandfathered and mergers, DaVee said. The second set of nine education sessions covered what credit unions need to do to prepare to get their fields of memberships grandfathered. The grandfathering portion of the law is scheduled to go into effect on Jan. 1, DaVee added. “The association worked very hard to get everyone educated,” Vicki Hurt, CEO, Credit Union 1, Topeka, told News Now. Credit Union 1 will be grandfathered under the law. “We are looking at the current field of membership bill and are determining the best options for us,” Hurt added. KCUA will be holding another set of education sessions in early fall to cover the applications, procedures and timelines for the new portion of the legislation as established by the Kansas Department of Credit Unions, DaVee said.