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FSCC, Defense CUs Enter Pact

SAN DIMAS, Calif.-The shared service center network Financial Service Centers Cooperative, Inc. and the Defense Credit Union Council have signed an agreement to promote shared branching services. "Serving the troops and their families is a priority for our credit unions," said Arty Arteaga, president of the DCUC. Artega said one overlooked benefit is that not only will the agreement expand services to deployed personnel, it will also help spouses who may return home when their husband/wife is shipped out. "Especially if they need to perform a function that cannot be conducted via the Internet, shared branching will help fill that void," said Artega, noting many defense facilities on which credit union branches are located are difficult to access. FSCC has 97 new branches in process of implementation with another 75 anticipated in 2003, and expects to have more than 700 branches in the pipeline for the next two and a half years.

Tax Bill, CU Funds Initiative Collide

SALEM, Ore.-Two bills that have been traveling similar paths-a measure to allow municipalities to deposit funds in credit unions and a bill to tax large state chartered CUs-were slated to meet up here last week during separate hearings in the legislature. The credit union lobby was working to keep the issues separate but legislative leaders have decided to hold hearings on both bills the same day because of their potential relationship, an official with the committee told The Credit Union Journal. The public funds bill, which would allow municipalities, fire districts and other government entities to deposit funds up to $100,000 in CUs, passed the State Senate last month.

The bankers, which have been fighting the public funds bill, have threatened to try to get the tax bill tied to it to dampen CU enthusiasm for the measure, which would drain those public deposits from banks. The tax bill would apply the state's 6.6% corporate excise tax to all CUs over $100M.

Mich. CUs Pave Way For Reform

LANSING, Mich.-Credit union lobbyists were working with legislative supporters as well as potential opponents and the bankers to ease the way for the broadest reform of the state's CU statute in two decades.

Michigan Credit Union League President David Adams said they are working with the state's new financial institutions regulator, a former banker, as well as the banking lobby in hopes of minimizing any conflict on the bill, expected to be introduced in the legislature over the next few weeks.

"Right now we don't see a battle and we're hoping to avoid one," Adams told The Credit Union Journal.

The bill would allow credit union boards to set their own fields of membership (FOM), allow credit unions to offer secondary capital instruments and trust services, increase permissible investment limits in CUSOs, and modernize allowance for electronic voting and board governance.

Panel To Move On Modernization

AUSTIN, Texas-The state Senate's Business and Commerce Committee is scheduled to hear a bill which would amend the state's credit union statute by allowing credit unions to offer alternative capital, provide services to non- members within a field of membership (FOM), and provide parity for out-of-state credit unions operating in Texas.

Gary Parker, president of 1st University CU in Waco, is scheduled to testify for the Texas CU League in support of the package.

The measure, which passed the House April 14, would also update allowances for electronic voting and expelling members; and require quarterly call reports for all credit unions.

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