February 7, 2013
The Oregon Legislature returned to work on Monday, Feb. 4, for a full legislative session, and the Oregon Bankers Association (OBA) wasted no time initiating the next phase of its strategic plan to undermine the state’s credit unions.
The OBA has put together a targeted anti-credit union effort, based on the work done by an anti-Credit Union Task Force established last summer. As part of that effort, they commissioned a “report” on credit unions and published an accompanying op-ed piece last month in The Oregonian. The bankers association also introduced three anti-credit union bills in the Oregon Legislature aimed at taxing many credit unions and implementing new burdensome regulations.
HB 2484 would require credit unions to file periodic reports with the director of the Department of Consumer and Business Services (DCBS) that summarize the number and amount of member business loans (MBL) and certain other loans, that describe services the credit union provides to people with low and moderate incomes, and that list the total of deposits held by the credit union at its main office and at all locations where it accepts deposits.
HB 2485 provides that credit unions have continuing and affirmative obligations to help meet the credit needs of the community in which it has offices or branches. This legislation would require the DCBS director to adopt rules to govern the exact nature and scope of that obligation and provides that the director must consider federal regulations that implement federal Community Reinvestment Act in adopting rules.
HB 2486 would impose a corporate excise tax on state-chartered credit unions and interstate credit unions holding one or more deposits of public funds that exceed $250,000 or holding commercial loans that in aggregate exceed an amount equal to 10 percent of credit union assets.
The Legislature convenes annually in February at the State Capitol in Salem, but sessions may not exceed 160 days in odd-numbered years or 35 days in even-numbered years. In odd-numbered years, the Legislative Assembly convenes on the second Monday in January to swear in newly elected officials, elect legislative leaders, adopt rules, organize and appoint committees, and begin introducing bills.
While the hope is to have completed its work by the end of June, the Legislature, according to the State Constitution, legislators have until July 13 if extra time is needed.
“Oregon credit unions should expect a very active and busy legislative session,” said Pam Leavitt, contract lobbyist for the Northwest Credit Union Association (NWCUA). “In addition to opposing the bankers’ bills, the Association has its own proactive legislative agenda aimed at moving the credit union charter forward.”
The NWCUA board of directors approved the legislative agenda recommended by the Oregon Governmental Affairs Committee (GAC) outlining proposed changes to the Oregon Credit Union Act. After discussions with regulators at the Division of Finance and Corporate Securities, the proposed amendments to Oregon Credit Union Act are:
- Broaden Oregon’s parity authority by allowing Oregon credit unions to invoke parity with any credit union in the United States.
- 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 which 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 language in Oregon law which permits a credit union to employ a Chief Operating Officer/President and a Security Officer.
- Make the declaring of dividends a delegable power under Oregon law.
- Increase the loans to one borrower limit to the larger of $100,000 or 15% of a credit union’s equity.
Questions? Contact a member of the Association’s Legislative Affairs team: