SALEM Ore. (4/18/13)--A bill to update the Oregon Credit Union Act passed in the state Senate Monday, 29-0. The Northwest Credit Union Association backed the bill.
Senate Bill 520 now will be considered in the state House. After its first reading, it will be assigned to a committee (Anthem
Recommendations by NWCUA's Oregon State Model Act Subcommittee resulted in the legislation. Members of the subcommittee met several times in 2012, comparing the Oregon Act to other credit union charters and recommending several upgrades. NWCUA also sought input from the state Division of Finance and Corporate Securities.
SB 520 will:
Broaden Oregon's parity authority by allowing Oregon credit unions to invoke parity with out-of-state credit unions and streamline the process for invoking parity with federally chartered credit unions;
Clarify the role of the supervisory committee in governance-related matters;
Extend additional liability protection to credit union directors and officers;
Remove the wording in Oregon law that requires the board to "perform other duties as the members of the credit union from time to time direct and perform or authorize any action not inconsistent with this chapter and not specifically reserved by the bylaws for the members";
Remove duplicative and unnecessary language in Oregon law that permits a credit union to employ a chief operating officer/president and a security officer;
Make the declaring of dividends a power that can be delegated under Oregon law; and
Increase the limit of loans made to one borrower to the larger of $100,000 or 15% of a credit union's equity.
Educating lawmakers and taxpayers about three anti-credit union bills supported by the Oregon Bankers' Association was another key focus for credit unions this session, said NWCUA. Two of those measures have died in committee. HB 2484 would have imposed expensive and time-consuming business-lending-reporting requirements that detail service to people with low and moderate incomes, NWCUA said. HB 2485 would have required extensive community-reinvestment reporting to state regulators. Neither bill was scheduled for a hearing.
A third bill, HB 2486, calls for a corporate excise tax on some of the state's largest credit unions. Because that measure is still pending through the end of the session, NWCUA leadership, credit union advocates and their members have continued to emphasize the positive impact of the tax exemption--real, tangible benefits returned to members in the form of lower fees and better loan rates.