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WASHINGTON-NCUA recently issued a proposal to amend the Federal Credit Union Bylaws, to which both CUNA and NAFCU responded that the agency could be even more flexible with the bylaws. “CUNA believes NCUA has the legal authority to provide more options to federal credit unions to draft their own bylaws, consistent with statutory and regulatory requirements, as well as sound principles of good corporate governance,” CUNA Senior Vice President for Regulatory Affairs and Associate General Counsel Mary Dunn wrote. Both groups suggested broadening the nonstandard bylaw approval process by allowing federal credit unions to write their own bylaws. NAFCU President and CEO Fred Becker wrote, “FCUs could still adopt NCUA’s model bylaws. This approach would give FCUs more flexibility in adopting bylaws that fit their governance needs and would prevent FCUs from having to obtain NCUA approval in a piecemeal fashion for non-standard bylaws amendments.” He suggested that the federal credit union submit the bylaws for agency approval. Dunn went one step further saying that established credit unions should not be required to obtain NCUA approval of bylaw changes. “Bylaws, in order to be both accurate and useful to a credit union, must be viewed as an organic document, which change as the needs of the organization evolve,” she wrote. “While the Act makes it clear that a credit union in the process of obtaining a charter must submit its bylaws to NCUA for approval, we believe established federal credit unions have the authority to draft adjustments to their bylaws without prior NCUA approval, drawing on appropriate resources from NCUA and elsewhere, as long as the provisions are consistent with legal and regulatory requirements as determined by the agency.” She pointed out that NCUA could review these bylaws through the regular examination process. On the specifics, CUNA and NAFCU supported allowing credit unions the option to require joint account owners to open separate accounts to establish membership. While NAFCU supported requiring credit unions to list required items of business for an annual meeting, CUNA said the option should be available but not required. However, both groups came together again regarding the mailing of ballots. NCUA had proposed that credit unions be required to mail paper ballots along with the instructions for voting electronically, but CUNA and NAFCU said this could be costly and should remain optional. CUNA and NAFCU also agreed that the names on the board member election ballots should be entirely random and not alphabetical, as NCUA has suggested. Additionally, both backed minimum age requirements for holding office or voting on credit union issues. Both groups addressed several other issues relating to the FCU bylaws, but the overall theme they supported was greater flexibility. [email protected]

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