Wash., Mont. governors sign state CU act updates

April 29, 2015

OLYMPIA, Wash. (4/29/15)--Bills updating credit union laws in two states were signed by their respective governors over the past few days.

In Washington, Gov. Jay Inslee signed the Northwest Credit Union Association (NWCUA)-sponsored Senate Bill 5757, which addresses credit union corporate governance and investments (Anthem April 27). Inslee also signed Senate Bill 5300, which updates the Department of Financial Institution's (DFI) regulatory enforcement powers related to credit unions.

"Support and passage of our bills in the House and Senate and the signing of our bills into law by Governor Inslee are a testament to the strong advocacy for Northwest credit unions, who stood up, shared their impact, and told their stories this legislative session," said Jennifer Wagner, NWCUA vice president of advocacy.

As the Washington Legislature convenes a special session, NWCUA staff said it will continue focusing on additional credit union legislative priorities, including preserving the credit union not-for-profit tax status, protecting credit unions from overregulation and protecting the DFI's reserves.

In Montana, Gov. Steve Bullock signed into law Monday House Bill 550, legislation that updates the Montana Credit Union Act.

The bill was sponsored by Rep. Kathy Swanson (D-Anaconda), who was the head teller for Southwest Montana FCU for 20 years.

"The bill culminates almost two years of work by the affected state-chartered credit unions and the Montana Credit Union Network," said Donya Parrish, league vice president/dues supports services. "The act had not been changed since the 2003 session, so many verbiage and modernization updates were needed."

The additional definitions included in the act will provide clarity in implementation, Parrish added.

Further, credit unions will have audit options more commensurate to their size, the ability to invest in revenue bonds, and the authority to provide favorable loan rates to employees. The new law also requires credit unions to have supervisory committees.