RICHMOND, Va. (2/18/16)--With a positive vote by the state Senate, a bill to provide merger flexibility to Virginia credit unions has moved ahead--a significant win for the Virginia Credit Union League and the state’s credit unions.
“This was a big win for us and a critical first step,” said league President Rick Pillow. “We expected a close vote, but we owe a huge debt of gratitude to our patron, Sen. Bill Stanley, for successfully shepherding what we knew would be a controversial amendment through a vote on the Senate floor.”
The legislation will allow credit unions with unlike charters to pursue a merger, provided at least one of the institutions has less than 15,000 members. The Senate and House versions now differ in one major regard--the House version does not extend provisions of the bill to federally chartered credit unions; the recently approved Senate version does.
The league noted that the win likely means provisions of the merger bill will be discussed in conference to iron out differences between the House and Senate versions.
“This legislation will help credit unions, but our fight now must focus on inclusion of federally chartered credit unions,” Pillow said. “We are arguing that it makes no sense to exclude federally chartered credit unions, given that they represent three-quarters of our 148 credit unions. Conversion to a state charter is an option if a federally chartered credit union wanted to take advantage of the options offered by this legislation, but we would submit that forcing a credit union to do that represents an unnecessary, bureaucratic burden.”
During January’s “Storm the Hill” event, more than 375 credit union leaders visited the General Assembly to advocate for the merger provisions and a bill to allow credit unions to accept public funds deposits.
However, the public funds depository legislation that the league sought will not advance. The Senate Commerce and Labor Committee killed the bill this week, while the House Commerce and Labor Committee tabled it Feb. 11.