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MONTPELIER, Vt. -Members of Vermont’s House Commerce Committee gathered on Feb. 16, for an entire day’s discussion of H. 149, the state’s credit union modernization act proposed by the Banking, Insurance, Securities and Health Care Administration (BISHCA). Vermont Credit Union League President Joseph Bergeron was scheduled to testify, as was Vermont Bankers Association President Christopher D’Elia. Other credit union and banker witnesses also were expected to testify. During the previous week’s session, BISHCA Deputy Commissioner Tom Candon provided the committee with pertinent facts about credit unions, including what they are, their history in Vermont, the variety of sizes and types of credit unions, and their present status. BISHCA attorney Steve Knudson followed with a line-by-line reading and explanation of the bill, answering legislator’s questions along the way; Knudson is expected to finish his review today. Efforts to modernize Vermont’s credit union statue-by bringing parity between state and federal charters, as well as clarify regulator authorities and modernizing financial statutes-failed during the last legislative session. Former Committee Chairman Mark Young at the end of April 2004 opted to shelve the 150-page proposal written by BISHCA until the new legislative session in January 2005, stating that too much controversial language remained to be addressed. Instead, Young instructed BISHCA to revise its original proposal with language thus far approved by the committee and to reintroduce the proposal at the start of the next session. Then, in an eleventh-hour move, State Sen. Ann Cummings introduced an amendment to H.648-which already passed the House-that would have given state-chartered credit unions parity with federal-chartered credit unions, almost to the same extent as the BISHCA proposal while only removing seven words from the existing credit union law. However, Cummings-who chairs the Vermont Senate Finance Committee-ultimately decided to remove the entire bill from consideration. The last major recodification of Vermont’s credit union statute occurred in 1969. [email protected]

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