HARRISBURG, Pa. (3/19/10)--Pennsylvania Gov. Ed Rendell has signed a law that establishes robbery of a financial institution as a second degree felony regardless of the method used to commit the robbery. The Pennsylvania Credit Union Association (PCUA) supported the measure, which was introduced each session since 2005 by state Sen. Mike Waugh (R-York) (Life is a Highway March 18). Bank robbers often make threats verbally or with notes under the assumption that their crime will be considered less severe without a weapon, Waugh said. The new legislation's goal is to deter bank robberies. PCUA applauded the General Assembly and the governor's actions, saying that many credit unions throughout the state have experienced an increase in robberies. "Bank crime [experts list] Pennsylvania as third behind California and Texas in the number of bank robbery occurrences," said Christina Mihalik, vice president of governmental affairs. "Increasing state penalties for this crime will work to make financial institutions a safer place for customers and employees and their communities."