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Mass. lawmakers considering updates to state’s credit union statutes

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A bill to modernize state credit union laws in Massachusetts is making its way through the legislature.

The Cooperative Credit Union Association, which represents CUs in Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Rhode Island and Delaware, worked with lawmakers last fall to introduce the bill, and late last week the legislation moved out of the state’s Joint Committee on Financial Services.

The bill makes Massachusetts the latest state to put forward legislation that would update state CU statutes. Modernization bills were signed into law in both Kansas and Washington last year, while Idaho, Michigan and others have also undergone updates in recent years.

“The goal is to achieve a vetted and balanced bill that has practical significance for credit unions,” CCUA said on its website. :In doing so, the legislation will help to keep the state credit union charter a viable option in Massachusetts to continue to deliver reasonably priced, quality, local products and services to consumers as the financial services industry evolves.”

While the bill includes a number of technical changes, it also includes dozens of measures that would help modernize credit union operations across the commonwealth, including allowing for electronic loan applications, helping credit unions gain a low-income designation and easing the path for mergers between state- and federally chartered credit unions. It also includes elements refiled from previous bills that would allow for electronic member voting regarding CU business, changes to annual meeting processes and more.

The legislation, now known as House 4290, has passed on to the House Ways & Means Committee. CCUA hopes to see the bill enacted before the current legislative session closes on July 31.

Despite the growing number of states updating their CU statutes recently, a representative from the National Association of State Credit Union Supervisors told Credit Union Journal last year these measures are not uncommon during state legislative sessions and do not represent a wider trend.

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