"We had a successful meeting last Thursday in our offices and which followed an opinion rendered by our attorney general triggered by the Nebraska ruling," explained Scott Jarvis, director of the Department of Financial Institutions.
While the Oct. 29 opinion by Washington State Assistant Attorney General Heather Polz takes issue with state-CUs using "bank," "banking" or "banker" in advertising under state law, discretionary authority is handed to the regulator in light of parity statues and other conflicting language.
Under rulemaking authority, "we are looking to a consensus so we don't have to take this to the legislature," said Jarvis echoing a position also advocated by the Washington Credit Union League.
Over the last year there have been a few cases of CUs using what were described as "strong rhetoric in touting themselves as better than banks" and on that the DFI asked the language be toned down. League officials said the issue had been discussed and that CUs also agreed to cooperate with the DFI position while a survey on usage is also being undertaken.
In Nebraska where bankers also complained about CU's "banking" usage, the attorney general in that state ruled the Nebraska statute is pre-empted by NCUA regulation.