SALEM, Ore. (2/17/10)--The Oregon House passed legislation Monday allowing the state treasurer, school districts and local governments to invest more funds in local credit unions. House Bill 3700, which for the first time allows the investment of more than $250,000 in a local credit union, passed the Oregon House on a 44-13 vote, reported the Credit Union Association of Oregon (CUAO). The bill should spur investment in local communities, helping to relieve a severe shortage of capital that can be loaned to local businesses ready to expand, said House speaker Dave Hunt (D-Gladstone). “Let’s keep these dollars here at home, working in our local communities, rather than send those dollars into a deep dark hole in some other state,” Hunt said. “The issue of local investments in local businesses has been identified by small business owners as the greatest impediment to expansion in Oregon.” Investments in local community banks is still allowed and encouraged under HB 3700. “Keeping funds here at home, whether it is in a credit union or a community bank, is a huge benefit to Oregon at a time when we need to create jobs,” said State Rep. Arnie Roblan (D-Coos Bay). “These local banks and credit unions will be anxious to invest in their local communities. And that’s a positive step forward for Oregon.” State Rep. Cliff Bentz (R-Ontario) agreed. “I support this bill because I want my local governments to have the greatest scope of safe choices possible when it comes to investing taxpayer dollars,” he said. “This bill expands safe choices for investment of public monies.” “Since 2003, we have learned from many of the public entities that the current $250,000 limit is a great impediment and limits their ability to choose credit unions as an option for their deposits,” CUAO said. “The purpose of the bill is to simply provide for an open marketplace where all public agencies will be able to secure the most advantageous depository arrangements for the public’s dollars. Many credit unions in Oregon have the staff, the facilities, the security, the assets, and the expertise to service public agencies, just as they do individual members. “The ability to accept public funds has been on credit unions’ legislative agenda for the past decade,” CUAO added. The bill will go to the Oregon Senate for consideration.