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Cuomo signs historic credit union field of membership expansion bill into law

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Thu, Dec 18th 2014 02:40 pm

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Gov. Andrew Cuomo yesterday signed into law a historic piece of pro-credit union legislation that will allow state-chartered credit unions to combine select employer groups, associational and community groups into a single field of membership. The New York Credit Union Association worked closely with Cuomo's office, the Department of Financial Services and top lawmakers to help draft and advance the legislation. The law marks the first time stand-alone, pro-credit union legislation - beyond federal parity legislation - has been incorporated into the State Credit Union Act.

"New York has a long banking history and is largely considered a bankers' stronghold. But this law shows significant progress, and it sends a strong message that New York supports and recognizes the economic and financial importance of state-chartered credit unions," said NYCUA President/CEO William J. Mellin. "This law is a testament to many years of hard work and the positive relationships built between the association, the state's credit unions and our elected officials."

Under the law, state-chartered credit unions now will be allowed to apply for a membership field that includes community, association and occupation-based groups at the same time. Credit unions must still meet common-bond requirements, and the law does not create any new affiliation or membership categories. The DFS still will be responsible for approving field of membership expansion requests.

The legislation passed through the state Legislature in June for the second time in two years. In 2013, a previous version of the legislation was vetoed by Cuomo, who expressed concerned the bill diluted the authority of the DFS. However, the new law contains clarifying language regarding the DFS' authority, as well as language empowering the DFS to determine additional permissible investments for state-chartered credit unions. The NYCUA pushed for the new legislation in an effort to provide the state's credit unions with a viable, healthy, attractive and competitive alternative to the federal charter.

The law takes effect March 16.

The New York Credit Union Association has served as the trade association for the state's credit unions for 97 years. With more than 5 million memberships, New York credit union assets total more than $67 billion. To learn more about NYCUA, visit www.nycua.org. To find a credit union or learn more about the credit union movement, visit www.asmarterchoice.org.

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