Kansas governor signs bill modernizing state credit union statutes

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Kansas Gov. Laura Kelly on Thursday signed into law a sweeping update to the state’s credit union statute, making nearly 70 changes to modernize operations for state-chartered CUs and bring parity with the federal charter.

The changes are the result of a process that started last July when the league convened a taskforce of credit union CEOs and compliance experts to determine where improvements needed to be made, according to Stephanie Mullholland, director of Kansas legislative and political affairs at the Heartland Credit Union Association, which serves institutions in Kansas and Missouri.

“They made a total of 67 changes to statutes ranging from technical updates like removing requirements that credit unions produce certain forms in triplicate to local-control protections that recognize that the best decisions are often made at the local level by credit union members,” she explained.

Mullholland noted that despite the wide-ranging nature of the changes, the league did not get pushback from banking lobbyists in Kansas.

“I don’t think they saw a reason to engage,” she said. “We had some conversations with them ahead of time that we were going to do this and they’ve done the same thing with us when going through a recodification bill. I think it was professional courtesy.”

Many credit union trade groups can only dream of having such congenial relationships with bankers. Mullholland said both groups “try not to surprise each other, but by and large this probably just wasn’t an issue they wanted to expend political capital on.”

The Kansas bill signing comes just days after Washington Gov. Jay Inslee signed an update to the Washington Credit Union Act into law. In recent years, Idaho, Michigan and other states have made moves to update their state credit union regulations, though a representative for the National Association of State Credit Union Supervisors this week told CU Journal most of these changes are par for the course during state legislative sessions and do not reflect any wider trends.

Of all the changes to Kansas credit union law, Mullholland said the most significant are likely to be measures that bring parity with federal charters. That includes rules concerning how and when credit unions can call membership meetings or the length of board members’ terms.

“Taking that out of the state statute so it can be determined on a local level by members” is likely to be the most impactful component of the legislation, she said.

The changes go into effect July 1. Kansas is home to approximately 80 credit unions – 62 of them state-chartered – serving more than 667,000 consumers, according to HCUA.

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Law and regulation State-chartered credit unions Compliance Kansas