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BURLINGTON, Vt.-Members of the Vermont Credit Union League (VCUL) had much to celebrate this year at their 58th Annual Meeting and Convention, held May 13-15, 2005. After three years of hard work by credit union supporters, the state’s proposed credit union modernization statute has become law. More than 50 credit union CEOs and employees, as well as several members of the Vermont House Commerce Committee, watched as Governor Douglas signed the bill on May 6, 2005, at a ceremony held in the lobby of the Vermont State Employees Credit Union (VSECU). Both Governor Douglas and Rep. Kathy Keenan (D-3), H.149′s primary sponsor, are VSECU members. “In spite of many serious challenges along the way, the modernization of Vermont’s over-40-year-old credit union law by legislators is a testament to the value credit unions bring to increasing numbers of voting consumers in our state,” said VCUL President Joe Bergeron. “A lot of blood, sweat and tears went into this bill,” Rep. Keenan said. Despite much progress, efforts to modernize the statue failed during the last legislative session. Rep. Keenan also expressed her excitement at being at her own credit union for the signing into law. “I’m pleased with this successful conclusion,” Gov. Douglas said. He also commented that the new law gives “fair modernization to Vermont credit unions with the goal of giving Vermont-chartered credit unions parity with federally chartered credit unions.” Among the provisions in the new law is a first-time allowance for state-chartered credit unions to provide member business loans. The law also allows for state-chartered credit unions to exercise any rights not addressed in state law but granted to federally chartered credit unions. However, the state-chartered credit union first must notify the Banking, Insurance, Securities and Health Care Administration (BISHCA) of its intentions and then receive approval. VCUL representatives sought an amendment to remove the notification and approval process, but it was rejected. To commemorate H.149′s success, VCUL President Bergeron presented Gov. Douglas with a limited-edition, framed print of Vermont’s state flower, the Red Clover. The original, by artist Margaret Huddy, hangs in the Credit Union House in Washington, D.C., along with those of the other 49 states. The new credit union law officially goes into effect July 1, 2005. In the meantime, the VCUL will begin an education campaign to explain regulation changes to member credit unions. [email protected]

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