On August 22nd the Georgia Credit Union State Law Review Task Force met with the Department of Banking and Finance to identify and analyze additional potential changes to credit union law and regulation, and assess the legislative temperament in the year ahead. This Task Force, in its fourth year, was created to pursue improvements to the state charter for credit unions, remove compliance burdens, and be engaged with the Department in a proactive, meaningful way for the future. A timeline of the work accomplished by this Task Force:
- Task Force met in June 2016 to discuss potential changes with the Department for the inaugural meeting, identifying multiple areas for improvements (click here the list of enhancement ideas). These priorities helped comprise the legislation HB 143 by Rep. Bruce Williamson (R-Monroe), which passed in March of 2017 after much lobbying by GCUA, and provided field of membership changes, investment changes, and improvements to the law that governs fixed assets (among others), and was signed into law.
- Task Force met in July 2017 to identify other potential changes with the Department so as to pursue proactive changes and remove compliance burdens (click here for the list of enhancement ideas generated). This meeting served as a positive avenue to obtain multiple improvements that comprised the legislation, H.B. 780 by Rep. Bruce Williamson (R-Monroe), and included power parity language, liability protection language for directors, and removing superfluous reporting requirements (among others). GCUA lobbied to help see the bill pass in March of 2018, and it was signed into law.
- Task Force met in July 2018 to identify any other areas of change for credit unions, and potential changes and issues for the future. While it was unclear in the summer of 2018 IF there would be an avenue to obtain key enhancements with the change in state leadership, this quickly dissipated after the November elections, and several key provisions for credit unions made up HB 185 by Rep. Bruce Williamson (R-Monroe), which passed in March of 2019 (along with a separate bill to reflect the ability to offer prize-linked savings accounts) after much lobbying efforts. These two bills were signed into law.
While this Task Force tackled several positive charter enhancement issues that were able to pass into law to make the operational environment competitive for credit unions each year since its inception, it is important to continually look for ways to improve so as to have a strong charter option in Georgia.
Comprising credit unions from around the state, this meeting was the opportunity for dialogue to discuss ideas, insight and traction for progressive changes, and look for avenues to advance the state charter now and in the future. Topics addressed in the meeting with the Department was focused predominantly on potential changes to how the legal lending limit at credit unions is defined, as well as providing operational flexibility on member interactions and record retention.
This meeting is a key step in pursuing additional charter enhancements and protections for the industry; and is how credit unions have been able to procure positive changes with the Department in legislation. Building consensus is a key factor in any legislative success, and our thanks to the Department for their open dialogue and desire for the credit union Task Force to be an active part of the process.