ALBANY, N.Y. (1/23/14)--Prize-linked savings, expanded fields of memberships and public deposits are at the top of the legislative agenda for the Credit Union Association of New York in 2014.
This is the first article in a News Now series that will explore legislative priorities for various credit union leagues nationwide.
Two bills that passed both the Senate and Assembly but were vetoed by Gov. Andrew Cuomo are the first priorities for CUANY heading into 2014, said Michael Lanotte, CUANY senior vice president/general counsel.
In 2013, CUANY introduced legislation that would authorize credit unions to offer prize-linked savings to their members. The legislation was vetoed by Cuomo over concerns that some of the language violated the state constitution. Lanotte said the league has worked closely with Cuomo's office and the appropriate state agencies to clarify the language. "The governor's office wants to see it happen, and we have commitments from both of the bill's original sponsors," Lanotte told News Now. "We expect it to become law in 2014."
The league also helped pass legislation that would expand the fields of membership and investment powers for state-chartered credit unions, a measure that was also vetoed by Cuomo. That bill requires language that the state regulator's authority is not being diluted in any way, Lanotte said. "Obviously, that was never our intention," Lanotte said.
The field of membership/investment powers bill passed through the Senate and Assembly despite bank opposition, Lanotte said. "I'm sure the banks will ramp up their opposition with the bill having to go through the legislature again," he added.
Also in play are two pieces of legislation that would give credit unions access to public deposits. The first bill would create a credit union state funds deposit program. In 2013, legislation was introduced that would establish a program allowing the State Comptroller to deposit up to $250 million of state funds into credit unions across the state.
"It's a separate line item where the state would put aside separate funds so it wouldn't detract from deposits that the state would make in other institutions," Lanotte said. "It would actually complement an existing state program that was recently put in place for the community banks in New York state."
In 2013, the legislation was approved by both the Senate and Assembly Banks Committees and advanced to the Senate Finance and Assembly Ways and Means Committees.
A second municipal deposits bill was also introduced in both the Senate and Assembly that would allow all credit unions to accept up to $250,000 in deposits per local government. The legislation was reported to the Senate Local Government Committee and Assembly Banks Committee.
"We've actually cited that the New York state law that limited our local government to only working with commercial banks was created in 1909, so clearly it is outdated," Lanotte said. "Giving the banks a monopoly takes choice away from local governments. It's extremely important to us to push this for our state's credit unions."
CUANY also seeks to pass legislation that would increase the penalty for credit union robberies conducted by demand note. Since the recession, there has been an increase in robberies in which the perpetrator will pass a note demanding money but will not display a gun, Lanotte said. The league would like to see legislation passed that would increase the penalty in the hopes of deterring these types of robberies. "It's a matter of safety for our employees and easing the emotional impact to both staff and members," Lanotte said.
The demand-note legislation passed the Senate and was pending consideration in the Assembly Banks Committee.