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Oregon CUs lobby efforts successful
BEAVERTON, Ore. (7/23/09)--Oregon credit unions experienced successes, frustrations and opportunities as they continued to advance credit union legislative initiatives during the Oregon legislative session, which adjourned a few weeks ago, said the Credit Union Association of Oregon (CUAO). The key legislative priority for Oregon credit unions, Senate Bill 438, was signed by Gov. Ted Kulongoski on June 4. SB438 enacts several technical revisions to the Oregon Credit Union Act that will update the credit union charter in areas that include membership requirements, accounting rules, annual meeting policies and bonding requirements. The bill will allow those select employee group (SEG)-based credit unions moving to a community charter to maintain current SEG groups that would be located within their new field of membership. CUAO also introduced an amendment to SB731, which provides that funds that are exempt under federal law remain exempt when deposited in a debtor’s financial account as long as they are reasonably identifiable. “Our amendment takes the onus off of the financial institution and puts it on how the information is transmitted to us in order to determine if the funds are exempt,” said Pamela Leavitt, CUAO senior vice president of governmental affairs and public relations. “We worked the committee and came up with the votes needed for our amendment. The final bill passed and was signed into law with our language.” Also, CUAO focused on financial education by supporting legislation that highlighted the importance of financial literacy in the classroom. CUAO and credit unions testified in support of SB501, which would add “finances” to essential learning skills. The bill also requires school districts to provide curriculum in finances. SB441 is a bill that would define “finances” to mean “curriculum designed to achieve financial literacy and to give students personal financial management skills by teaching the basic principles involved with earning, spending, savings and investing money.” CUAO said it will continue efforts to promote this issue before the state legislators. State Treasurer Ben Westlund introduced SB600 to allow credit unions to accept public deposits over the current limit of $250,000 per account. The bill had a hearing, but no further action was taken. CUAO said it hopes to continue working with Westlund on the issue. CUAO participated in a work group to find compromise on SB628, a bill to require mandatory mediation between trustee and grantor before sale to a foreclosure residential trust deed. CUAO fought to have the bill changed to give the borrower a modification request form, along with the notice of sale, instead of forcing a required meeting between borrowers and lenders. CUAO succeeded in helping pass the changes. CUAO also was involved in several other legislative issues, including bills about licensing mortgage bankers and brokers, priority liens for condo and homeowner associations, robbery issues, employments issues and several lending issues. A final report on the 2009 legislative session will be completed in early fall.


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