OKLAHOMA CITY (6/2/14)--When Oklahoma legislators adjourned May 23, among the credit union-supported initiatives lawmakers had approved was legislation designed to address the questionable business practices among the state's tow truck operators.
The passage of SB 0582 was supported by the Oklahoma Credit Union Association--a subsidiary of the Cornerstone Credit Union League (Leaguer May 30). The bill was approved overwhelmingly in both chambers, and addresses long-standing problems in Oklahoma's Title 42 possessory lien process.
The bill would change a state law to require towing companies to notify lien holders when a vehicle is towed. Oklahoma credit unions have reported a growing number of instances in which operators will tow a vehicle and store it without timely notification to the lien holder.
"For years, loopholes in current law have been exploited to the detriment of credit unions, banks and financial institutions," Nate Webb, president of the Oklahoma Credit Union Association. "In cases where notification was not sent in a timely manner, storage fees accrued, and in many of these instances, the cost of retrieving the car ended up being more than the collateral was worth. Other cases resulted in costly litigation."
The legislation resulted from two years of contentious negotiation with the Oklahoma Wreckers Association. Although association representatives were at the negotiating table throughout the process, its membership opposes final passage.
Oklahoma Gov. Mary Fallin has yet to sign the bill. However, Webb said it looks promising that she will.
This is the first legislative session in which Oklahoma's advocacy team enjoyed additional resources available through the three-state consolidation of the Texas, Oklahoma and Arkansas leagues, creating the Cornerstone Credit Union League.
"The synergy and expertise now available were a major component of this year's success at the Oklahoma State Capitol," Webb said.