Earlier in May Governor Brian Kemp signed into law both the credit union charter enhancement legislation, HB 185 by Rep. Bruce Williamson (R-Monroe), as well as the bill to encourage savings, HB 193 by Rep. Emory Dunahoo (R-Gainesville). Both of these were heavily lobbied by GCUA to create operational improvements and new opportunities for the credit union industry in Georgia. But passing a bill, while it takes herculean efforts, is just one part of the equation. We are very pleased to share that the Department of Banking and Finance (DBF) has already issued proposed rules to correspond with these bills on May 30th, and final rules to enact the measures are forthcoming. Charter enhancements, identified during the summer of 2018 by the credit union task force, included:
- Addressing operational issues when there’s a merger between credit unions,
- Clearing up federal insurance and membership issues if a credit union purchases a bank,
- Outlining a clear and fair process for member expulsion for non-participation by a credit union,
- Clarifying processes and definitions, including that of purchasing/selling loan participations for credit unions, and
- Renaming supervisory committee to audit committee to avoid confusion that the duties are the same as the duties of a supervisory committee for a federally chartered credit union.
The DBF proposed rules also address prize-linked savings accounts, which come about in Georgia through the above mentioned HB 193 by Rep. Emory Dunahoo (R-Gainesville). This bill was sought to allow Georgia financial institutions, if they so choose, to offer savings accounts that include a “sweepstakes” component (such as the Save to Win program), and was pursued to give credit unions an option to help encourage savings among members to make a dent in the number of individuals who cannot handle a $400 emergency. And all of these positive changes for the industry represent almost three years of work by the Department of Banking and Finance (DBF) and others, including the credit union charter enhancement task force that met in 2016, 2017 and 2018.
Also, the DBF utilized the rulemaking process to bring about clarification changes for credit unions, including addressing internal audit provisions. Our thanks to all involved for the time, energy, work and effort by the DBF, credit unions and GCUA to bring these improvements to help enhance operations, alleviate compliance burdens, and modernize the laws surrounding credit unions. If your credit union has any questions or comments on the proposed changes, please email Cindy Connelly at email@example.com to share your thoughts.