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COLUMBUS, Ohio – NASCUS VP of Regulatory Affairs Brian Knight fielded 30 minutes of questions by the Ohio House Committee on Financial Institutions May 26 after testifying in a hearing of the House Committee on Financial Institutions, Real Estate and Securities in support of legislation that would update the Ohio credit union law for the first time in 18 years. The hearing on May 26 was the fifth in a series of hearings on HB 81, the Credit Union Member Services Powers bill. H.B. 81 was introduced in February by its chief sponsor state Rep. Geoffrey Smith (R-24). State Sen. Bob Spada (R-24) is the sponsor of a companion bill in the Ohio Senate. SB 72. Among the provisions of the bills, they would: *authorize state and federal credit unions as depositories for probate and guardianship assets; * permit student branches of credit unions to operate in public schools grades K-12; * permit CUs to offer limited financial services, including check-cashing and wire transfers, among others, to people in underserved areas; * establish a safety and soundness standard for membership approval; * provide additional authority to the Superintendent of Financial Institutions to adopt rules setting forth membership criteria; * simplify the process of adopting parity rules related to other credit unions not chartered under Ohio law; * permit electronic technology for meetings, record-keeping, and documentation; * add the definition for low income credit unions, net worth, shares and deposits. Testifying at the request of the Ohio Division of Financial Institutions, Knight covered the history of credit union tax exemption, diversified fields of members hip and the dual chartering system. He also discussed the benefit of diversified fields of members hip to safety and soundness and stressed that allowing diversified FOM allows a credit union to maintain safe and sound capital levels while providing services to groups of members experiencing difficulties in a downsizing industry or recession. By example, Knight pointed to the closing of military bases around the U.S. which has sparked concern about the economic impact on surrounding communities. Doug Banks of the Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland also testified that day. “To the extent that credit unions, if empowered by state law, can diversify their membership through association and communities, those credit unions have an extra protection against economic downturn that might beset a specific industry or community,” said Knight in his testimony. -

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