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SANTA FE, N.M. – The state’s modernized Credit Union Act passed on March 5th by the state legislature was signed into law by New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson (D) on March 17. Among the provisions of the measure – SB 546 – it allows state-chartered credit unions to cash checks, conduct wire transfers, and sell money orders to non-members in their field-of-membership; give the state’s Financial Institutions Division regulatory oversight of out-of-state state-chartered credit unions operating branches in New Mexico; and increases the investment powers of state-chartered credit unions. John Radebaugh, president/CEO, of the New Mexico Credit Union League said, “We are pleased and excited that the State Legislature and Governor Richardson supported their credit unions in New Mexico.” Radebaugh said he considered one of the most exciting changes as a result of the new law are credit unions’ ability to cash checks, sell money orders and traveler’s checks and conduct wire transfers for potential members. He said this provision will allow New Mexico’s state -chartered credit unions to extend these services to low income areas. For example First Financial Credit Union has two branches on the Zuni Indian Pueblo. “Non members have to drive 30 miles to cash their checks at a check cashing outlet and pay exorbitant fees. Now they will be able to cash their checks at the credit union and the credit union can encourage them to open accounts and start to build their financial stability,” said Radebaugh.

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