On May 1st Governor Nathan Deal signed into law multiple positive regulatory reform provisions for credit unions. This is from the industry priority bill, HB 143 by Rep. Bruce Williamson (R-Monroe), which is the Department of Banking and Finance’s housekeeping legislation. These improvements help enhance operations, alleviate compliance burdens, and modernize membership laws at credit unions. These changes, which are a direct result of the Department’s dialogue with a credit union task force that met in the summer of 2016, include:
- adds “working” to the eligible criteria for field of membership (when an individual is working in the approved geographic area),
- creates flexibility and enhancements in the audit provisions for smaller credit unions by permitting different forms of audits to be held on a case-by-case basis,
- modifies the law governing merger votes to reflect what is in practice (and not requiring votes of both merging and merged institutions),
- outlines that businesses headquartered within the field of membership may be eligible for membership in the same manner as a “person,”
- adds whole loans to the permissible items for investment, and
- improves the law that governs fixed assets/real estate property held by the credit union.
The new law also outlines the ability of financial institutions to charge a convenience fee, outlines that a financial institution may operate on Sundays, permits the department to include third-party providers in their examinations, streamlines the calculation for lending limits, and increases the age at which a minor can open an account with a bank (but no changes to the law governing minor accounts at credit unions).
Now that the bill has been signed into law, the next steps are a quick rulemaking process by the Department, as the bulk of the provisions go into effect on June 1st. GCUA has already been engaged with several state chartered credit unions to share what steps would need to take place on some of the field of membership changes, and will be working with the Department as they analyze their proposed rules to implement the changes.