FEDERAL WAY, Wash. (9/25/14)--Jan. 1 is the deadline for a new workgroup of Washington state corporate governance experts convened by the Northwest Credit Union Association (NWCUA) to submit plans to overhaul model bylaws for state-chartered credit unions there. The workgroup is seeking input from credit unions throughout the state willing to share their best practices.
The need for updated model bylaws became apparent after the state Department of Financial Institutions and NWCUA last year tried to make minor revisions in the bylaws to bring them in line with the state credit union act, said the association (The Anthem Sept. 23).
"Participants recognized that the 2001 bylaws were not just out of date, they were antiquated and that a comprehensive overhaul was needed," said John Trull, director of regulatory advocacy at NWCUA.
"The Division of Credit Unions and the association have been using a 2001 version of the model bylaws for Washington state. Since 2001, the credit union movement has come a long way and model bylaws should be future-focused, and compliant with statutory and regulatory changes that have occurred in the past 15 years," he said.
The Washington Model Bylaws Workgroup convened for its first meeting on Sept. 3 at NWCUA's office in SeaTac. Members of the workgroup represent small, large and geographically diverse credit unions. Also in the group are Trull and Brian Witt, principal at law firm Farleigh Wadda Witt.
Witt provided a statutorily up-to-date framework that incorporates best practices from Washington and Oregon credit unions and around the nation. He has assisted more than 40 credit unions in updating their bylaws, said NWCUA.
At the Sept. 3 meeting, Witt and Trull outlined the reasons for the project and its mission, process, goals and timeline. The workgroup's mission is to create a document that provides credit unions with maximum flexibility that can stand the test of time. The group will create a work plan and seek volunteers with corporate governance expertise and broad input from state-chartered credit unions, as well as approval from NWCUA's board and DFI.
The group aims to have the approved document ready for publication by Jan. 1. Credit unions can share their bylaw best practices by emailing Trull at firstname.lastname@example.org.
NWCUA also is encouraging federally chartered credit unions to provide input about roadblocks created by the standard federal bylaws, noting that the National Credit Union Administration may issue a rule before the end of the year revising the federal bylaws.
NWCUA said it likely will initiate a similar workgroup process next year in Oregon to update the state bylaws there.