PHOENIX, Ariz. – Underscoring the heightened credit union profile in the state, the Arizona legislature appeared ready on April 1 to change the name of the Department of Banking to the Financial Institutions Department, though the change will not become effective until Dec. 31, 2005. “This is something we’ve pushed the last three years and for budgetary reasons got delayed, but now it looks like it will pass,” said Gary L. Plank, president/CEO of the Arizona Credit Union System. The House-passed enabling measure cleared the State Commerce Committee 9-0 Thursday and now goes to the full Senate. The CU industry-backed bill also contains language specifying the department director – now known as the superintendent – must have had years of experience in accredited “financial institutions,” replacing a “banking” background. A spokesman for the ACUS said the name change fits the standard of 28 other states that have financial institution departments including a CU regulator. Previously, the name change bill failed because of lawmaker concerns over letterhead costs and internal expenses. “We had been talking about $8,000,” said the spokesman, a figure that now is acceptable since the department is expected to run out of mailing letterhead by the 2005 date.

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