BEAVERTON, Ore. (2/15/10)--Oregon credit unions received a positive legislative nod when their public funds bill (HB 3700) passed the House Rules Committee Wednesday. The bill would remove the current $250,000 limitation on the amount of public fund deposits a credit union can receive. The bill is expected to be on the house floor as early as today. State and local governmental officials are custodians of funds that public entities have received, and are required to use, for the benefit of their constituents. As custodians of “the people’s money,” public officials are obligated to safeguard it, use it pursuant to lawful requirements, and seek a fair and competitive rate of return on it, said the Credit Union Association of Oregon (CUAO). This obligation is in itself compelling support of credit unions, themselves owned by members of the community, having the authority to accept deposits of public monies, and state officials having the correlating authority to place deposits with credit unions, said CUAO. A choice of depositories and competition for deposits of public funds are in the people’s interest, CUAO added. “Credit unions throughout Oregon regularly receive service requests from public officials in their communities,” said Ron Barrick, CEO of Advantis CU, Milwaukie, Ore., during his testimony at a Feb. 8 hearing to the House Rules Committee. “Among the groups that have approached Oregon credit unions are local public utility districts, rural fire districts, city fire and police departments, school districts and city and county governments.” Also testifying in support of the bill were Pamela Leavitt, CUAO senior vice president, public relations and governmental affairs; Hal Scoggins, attorney at Farleigh Wada Witt; and Hasina Squires, government affairs director at the Special Districts Association of Oregon (SDAO). SDAO has 35 different types of member districts that represent roughly 950 local governments of varying sizes and functions statewide.