Public Funds Bill Makes Headway in Washington State
Despite banker opposition, Washington State credit unions are encouraged legislation allowing deposits of public funds in CUs could be enacted this session following support from a key lawmaker, the Washington Credit Union League said Thursday.
Under a bill awaiting a state Senate committee vote, CUs could accept up to $100,000 in public funds, an amount seen as a compromise against a league request for unlimited funds opposed by the banking lobby.
Supporting the $100,000 limit is state Sen. Jean Berkey (D. Everett), author of the bill and chairman of the Senate Financial Institutions Committee, which held its first hearing on the measure last week.
"We think credit unions can help out struggling public entities with this legislation and we feel unlimited amounts is the solution," said Stacy Augustine, senior vice president of policy/public advocacy for the league.
Banker groups have complained that financially weak, small community banks will be injured if public funds are switched to CUs, a point challenged by the league. "We want to assure lawmakers that is not the case," said Augustine.
Similar CU-backed public funds bill were introduced in the House last year and received favorable votes, but the measures became stalled at the end of the session.