DES MOINES, Iowa -- In a bill that could essentially reorganize the Iowa Credit Union Act, one addition could change how strong of a voice credit unions might have on regulations, examinations and fees. According to Iowa Senate File 38, section 7, a "credit union council" would replace the current "review committee." The council would serve as an advisory body to Jim Forney, superintendent of the Iowa Credit Union Division, on such matters as recommending changes in the examination and regulation of credit unions and strategic planning for credit union-provided services as well as recommendations regarding the annual fee assessed to help operate the division.
The problem with the switch to a council is that it could potentially strip rule and policy making powers away from credit unions, said Iowa Rep. Bob Kressig (D-Cedar Falls), who also serves on the state's Commerce Committee's Financial Services Subcommittee.
"Right now, Iowa has a committee that decides the rules that govern credit unions. The regulator wants it to be a review committee but not have any power," Kressig said. "There are multiple boards and commissions in this that have the ability to change rules. These folks can vote up and down. I have some concerns about that."
A spokeswoman from Forney's office had "no comment" on the bill.
The credit union council would be made of the superintendent, who will be an ex officio, nonvoting member and chairperson, seven other members, five of whom shall have been, for at least the previous five years, members in "good standing" of either an Iowa state credit union or a credit union chartered under the Federal Credit Union Act and having its principal place of business in Iowa. Two of the members may be public members. At no time shall more than five of the members be directors or employees of a credit union. All members of the council will be appointed by the governor who may chose from a list of nominees submitted by Iowa credit unions.
The Iowa Credit Union League is also concerned about what appears to be a demotion of power, said Justin Hupfer, vice president of governmental affairs and internal counsel.
"The change in the bill would do away with the review board approval authority over final rules and makes [members] an advisory council with no authority to oversee any rule making," Hupfer said "We think this is problematic because it doesn't provide any authority for us."
Hupfer said the league is continuing to work with Forney's office on the proposed change.
"We're having ongoing conversations," Hupfer said.
Under Iowa Senate File 38, the new council would meet at least four times each year and would hold special meetings at the call of the chairperson, which would be Forney. The members would also serve three-year staggered terms. Each council member may be eligible to receive compensation, but could not take part in any action or participate in any decision when the matter under consideration specifically relates to a credit union of which the council member is a member.
Ninety-two pages long, Senate File 38, was introduced by Sen. Matt McCoy (D-Des Moines) and as of Jan. 24, the bill was still in subcommittee. --firstname.lastname@example.org