CARSON CITY, Nev. – Here’s a story of how legislative teamwork achieved in lightning speed, coupled with a quest to protect long-term interests of credit unions has paid off for the 12-state chartered CUs in Nevada. The story has a happy ending, indeed, for CUs following passage of a new `wild card’ law giving the Nevada commissioner of financial institutions authority to give Nevada’s state-chartered CUs parity with their federal CU counterparts on new powers. The law becomes effective Oct. 1. Though there has been no pressing issues for state CUs currently, sources said, the state CU community was particularly concerned about future new services afforded federals by NCUA. Lacking a wild card law, state-chartered credit unions might have been at a severe disadvantage given the short legislative sessions in Nevada, according to one of the key architects of the new law, Robert V. Taylor, senior vice president of mortgage services and technology at the $260 million Greater Nevada Credit Union here. “My original goal was simply to form a CUSO to handle mortgage servicing for the credit union, and that’s when I realized the state law was silent on CUSOs,” recalls Taylor on how he became interested in state parity. Using the Internet and combining it with a little persistence, Taylor decided to explore how other states handle parity particularly on CUSOs. He came up with a law in the State of Washington he thought might work for Nevada. “I realized we needed to run it through the Credit Union Advisory Council,” recalled Taylor in describing how he began mulling last February on how to proceed with this governor-appointed state council. At one point, the Council had to cancel earlier meetings, deciding instead to resume its consideration of bills in April. Because of time constraints and the eagerness to get a bill enacted in the very brief 120-day session of the Nevada legislature, which meets every two years, Taylor knew he had to move swiftly. He quickly enlisted the help of Marcia Burgess, retired chief executive of Greater Nevada and the chairman of the Credit Union Advisory Council. Also brought in was the staff of the California Credit Union League, which manages lobbying for the Nevada League of Credit Unions. “What we were able to do was attach a last minute rider to a mortgage licensing bill completely unrelated to credit unions,” explained Ronald Fong, assistant director of state legislative affairs for the California League. Through the work of the Nevada League board, including some who also are directors of the Advisory Council, Nevada lawmakers were persuaded of the bill’s merits. The sponsor of the bill was state Sen. Raymond Shaffer (D-Las Vegas.) The Nevada Assembly passed the bill May 26 with later concurrence by the Senate, and it was signed shortly thereafter by Democratic Gov. Kenny Gwinn. “We had a great team working on this which we mobilized to make contacts with members of the Advisory Council and with key legislators,” said Fong, who also credits Greater Nevada, its CEO Wallace Murray, and Taylor “for putting something on our agenda that wasn’t there at the start.” If Nevada had not moved on state parity now, “we might have had to give up three years” waiting for state-chartered credit unions to catch up with federals on authority for new powers, said Fong. “We also found that we’ve maintained good relationships with our legislators and that’s important.” -

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