FEDERAL WAY, Wash. (2/13/12)--The Northwest Credit Union Association's (NWCUA's) public funds bill ( SB 5913), which would increase credit unions' capacity to accept public funds deposits--passed the Washington State Senate Thursday by a vote of 43-2, with four excused. The bill now heads to the State House, where a similar public funds bill was passed last week.
SB 5913, "An act relating to increasing the permissible deposit of public funds with credit unions and authorizing the deposit of public funds at federally chartered credit unions," would increase the permissible deposit of public funds with credit unions to the federal deposit insurance limit of $250,000 (NWCUA Anthem Feb. 10).
The bill's passage follows last week's NWCUA Washington Governmental Affairs Conference, which saw roughly 100 credit union advocates from around the state converge in Olympia, Wash., the capital city, with support for the public funds bill as a top priority. Last year's attempt to modernize the public funds law for credit unions hit roadblocks in the Senate, so association lobbyists were awaiting the result of yesterday's vote, NWCUA said.
"The strong vote in the Senate is the result of a lot of great advocacy by our members over the past year," said Mark Minickiello, NWCUA vice president of legislative affairs. "To top that off, we received several key commitments from senators to help our bill along after credit union advocates came to Olympia last week. I have no doubt that had a significant impact when senators met in caucus before the vote," he added.
The bill will next receive a hearing in the House Business and Financial Services Committee, after which it will need to pass through the Rules Committee before being pulled to the House floor for a vote.
House Bill 1327 passed the Washington State House on Jan. 30 by a vote of 86-10 with two excused, indicating that the Senate's public funds bill should face few if any obstacles in the House, NWCUA said. The Senate version contains some technical language that is missing in the House version.
The bill also allows federally chartered credit unions to become depositories. Current law only allows state-chartered credit unions to act as public depositories.