Washington Credit Union Act update signed into law

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Washington state Gov. Jay Inslee this week signed into law an update to the Washington Credit Union Act.

The legislation was proposed and backed by the Northwest Credit Union Association, which serves CUs based in Washington, Oregon and Idaho.

NWCUA is also working with Oregon lawmakers on an update to that state’s credit union act, and the Pacific Northwest states join a number of others – including Michigan, Idaho and others – that have taken steps to modernize state laws governing credit unions.

The updated Washington law is scheduled to take effect July 28, and NWCUA said the bill makes six “common sense updates” to the state’s CU Act. The league said these changes will allow CUs to “better serve” their 4.3 million members by increasing member engagement and participation, and adding “clarity” for state regulators. The updated law:

  • Allows for virtual membership meetings
  • Confirms the Washington Department of Financial Institutions authority over field of membership permissions
  • Grants DFI authority to issue rules approving investments
  • Increases the limit on investments in CUSOs not exclusively owned by credit unions
  • Updates the federal parity date from July 23, 2017 to the effective date of the act and clarify parity with other states
  • Clarifies the member account verification timeline.

The bill was sponsored in the House by Reps. Kristine Reeves (D-Federal Way) and Larry Hoff (R-Vancouver), with Sens. Mark Mullet (D-Issaquah), Lynda Wilson (R-Vancouver) and Annette Cleveland (D-Vancouver) sponsoring a companion version in the Senate. The bill unanimously passed Washington’s state House and Senate in March.

Hoff is the former president and CEO of Fibre Federal Credit Union, Longview, Wash. He was elected in November 2018 in his first try for political office.

Hoff said in a statement he is, “Always pleased when legislation supports efficiencies in any industry, particularly one in which I served for 35 years.”

Joe Adamack, NWCUA’s VP of legislative affairs for Washington, said the league worked closely with bill sponsors, committee chairs and leadership across the legislature in order to ensure the bill was a priority for lawmakers.

This year’s state legislative session saw some 3,000 bills introduced, and HB 1247 was one of the first 27 bills to pass, the NWCUA noted. The group said it will continue to monitor and engage on other issues and legislation of potential interest to credit unions as the regular session moves toward its April 28 end date.

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