Credit Union Advocacy in Augusta

Even though the Legislature has only been in session for a few weeks, your League’s Governmental Affairs team has been hard at work advocating for credit unions. Tuesday, February 5, proved to be a busy day with the League hosting a legislative luncheon for Augusta-area legislators and testifying in support of two pieces of legislation.

Julie Marquis, President & CEO of Five County Credit Union, testified before the Legislature’s Committee on Health Coverage, Insurance and Financial Services on behalf of the League and Maine’s credit unions in support of L.D. 242, a bill to amend the laws governing multiple-party accounts at financial institutions. In presenting her remarks, Marquis stated,

“Given that the state’s new probate code provides a clear path for establishing multiparty accounts as well as the survivorship rights associated with these accounts, I would ask your Committee to support L.D. 242. This emergency legislation will suspend the requirements created in L.D. 968 until the state’s new probate codes goes into effect on July 1. At that time, all financial institutions will be required to comply with the changes outlined in the code including the new framework for establishing multiparty accounts. “

The committee voted the bill “Ought to Pass.” Once the bill is moved out of committee, L.D. 242 will go to the full House and Senate for consideration. Votes could occur as early as next week.  The legislation would go into effect immediately after the Governor signs the bill, as long as it receives two-thirds support in both the House and Senate.

League President/CEO Todd Mason also testified before Health Coverage, Insurance and Financial Services Committee in support of L.D. 477, a bill which would provide a state guarantee on private loans from credit unions and other financial institutions to federal government employees living in Maine. In Mason’s testimony, he stated,

“While the types of assistance offered varied from credit union to credit union – all of their collective efforts were based on member need. Whether it was offering a member a low interest – or in some instances, 0 interest loan, a loan deferment, or financial counseling, our network came up with creative solutions to support our members. And, with the financial backing of the state behind us, perhaps even more can be done in the future at other financial institutions across Maine if another federal government shutdown occurs. With the state assuming most of the risk as Senator Jackson’s bill proposes, affected employees would have better opportunities to qualify for short-term, interest free loans.”

A work session for L.D. 477 has been scheduled for February 7 at 1 PM.  The committee will likely vote on the bill that afternoon.

The League continues to analyze hundreds of bills that have been printed to determine any potential impact on credit unions and will stay actively engaged fighting for credit union interests in Augusta until the Legislature adjourns in June.