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Ohio CUs push public funds bill at CU Day at Statehouse
COLUMBUS, Ohio (3/25/10)--Legislation that would provide townships, schools, libraries and other public entities the choice of depositing their funds in Ohio credit unions--H.B. 317--highlighted discussions between more than 120 credit union leaders and the Ohio General Assembly during the 2010 Credit Union Day at the Statehouse Tuesday. A record number of participants attended 105 legislative meetings, stressing the benefits of keeping local government deposits within the communities they serve.
Click to view larger image Ohio House Majority Floor Leader Tracy Maxwell Heard (center) (D-Columbus) met with representatives from Telhio CU, Bethel Community FCU, Credit Union of Ohio, Kemba Financial CU, Members First CU, and the Ohio Credit Union League during the league's 2010 Credit Union Day at the Statehouse, held on Tuesday. (Photo provided by the Ohio Credit Union League)
H.B. 317 would amend the Ohio Revised Code to provide local governments a safe alternative for their investments--their local credit union. At a March hearing of the Ohio House Financial Institutions, Real Estate and Securities Committee, House Majority Floor Leader Tracy Maxwell Heard (D-Columbus) and State Rep. Peter Ujvagi (D-Toledo) provided testimony in support of the legislation, urging their colleagues to give local governments an option when choosing a financial institution. Opponents of the legislation argue credit unions have “an unfair tax advantage.” “Last year, the message to our state representatives and senators was that credit unions are safe, sound, and secure amidst the difficult economy,” said John Kozlowski, general counsel of the Ohio Credit Union League. “This year, in H.B. 317, we have legislation crucial to the ability of our credit unions to invest in the communities and small businesses they serve each and every day.” Meetings with legislators also focused on the overall strength of credit unions as financial institutions. Attendees provided their local representatives with statistics showing Ohio credit unions have strong capital (11.2% net worth), strong liquidity (71.2% loan-to-share ratio), sound portfolios (1.42% delinquency), and secure bottom lines (0.45% return on assets). Also, attendees urged their representatives to contact Congress to support raising the member business lending cap on credit unions from 12.25% to 25% (H.R. 3380/S. 2919). Before attendees met with legislators, Rep. Heard discussed her sponsorship of H.B. 317, which, she said, “follows the philosophy of credit unions. Who better to understand the needs of a local school district or a local township trustee than an institution that is right in the midst of that community?” Heard was followed by Assistant Minority Whip Cheryl Grossman (R-Grove City) and H.B. 317 co-sponsor Rep. Carlton Weddington (D-Columbus), who stressed “credit unions make a difference today, tomorrow, and in the future.” During a lunch reception, attendees heard from the leaders of the Ohio Democrat and Republican parties, Chris Redfern and Kevin DeWine, respectively. Redfern and DeWine emphasized the importance of sharing credit union values with legislators before laying out the agenda for their parties and discussing impending races on the state and federal level in advance of the May 4 primary.


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