Alabama Credit Union Act Updates Benefit Boards
Alabama Gov. Ronald J. Bentley signed into law H.B. 165 on Monday, which changes some provisions in the state’s credit union act.
The new law will allow credit unions to provide board members with insurance protection and expense reimbursement, limit board member liability, allow boards to expel members, and additionally modifies the Alabama Credit Union Administration’s annual operating fees to make the state charter more affordable for some asset classes.
The new operating fees range from $600 for credit unions with assets of $500,000 to $1 million, to $16,350 for credit unions with more than $100 million in assets.
The law becomes effective May 1.
“The fees were addressed in order to make it less expensive for all sizes of credit unions to be state-chartered instead of federally chartered,” said Mike Bridges, vice president of the League of Southeastern Credit Unions & Affiliates. “That was not the case before as for some assets sizes it was more expensive to be state-chartered.”
Currently, there are 64 state-chartered and 60 federally-chartered credit unions in Alabama.
Patrick La Pine, president/CEO of the Southeastern league, said the credit union act updates were much needed, and the changes will benefit credit union members.
Although board members of Alabama’s state-chartered credit unions do not receive compensation for their services, a provision in the new law now allows credit unions to provide board members with “reasonable life, accident and similar insurance protection,” which will not be considered compensation.
However, another new provision in the updated act also allows credit unions to reimburse directors, officers and committee members for “necessary expenses incidental for the performance of the official business of the credit union.”
The credit union act also adds protections for credit unions on accounts created by minors, and increases the liability protection from $5,000 to $10,000 on accounts of deceased members.
Another provision in the updated act gives the state the authority to impose a $500-a-day penalty for anyone or any organization that fraudulently uses the words credit union in “their name, title or in advertising.”
This type of fraud, however, is limited, Bridges said.
“With new versions of financial institutions arising regularly, we felt it important to address any fraud that may occur in the future,” he said. “Additionally, the language existed in the banking code and we felt it was important to have it in the credit union code as well.”
A copy of the new law signed by the governor is available on the Alabama Secretary of State’s website.