HIGHTSTOWN, N.J. (2/5/14)--Electronic lien titling is among the top legislative priorities for the New Jersey Credit Union League during the new session of the state's Legislature, Chris Abeel, NJCUL director of government affairs told
Electronic lien titling (ELT) is moving on an administrative level within the state, and the league hopes to avoid legislation on the issue.
"We've been working with Motor Vehicle Commission, trying to nudge them along," Abeel said. "There is some legislation that would mandate that they complete it by a certain time, but we've stayed neutral on that legislation because we've developed what we think is a good relationship with MVC."
The greatest benefit of electronic titling is the efficiency gained in the elimination of the paper filing. Rather than storing titles in a vault, a credit union can locate a title electronically and have it ready for a member once the car loan is paid off. Credit unions can also eliminate some of the expenses required to handle and process paper titles. Under a paper process, a staffer may have to take a large batch of titles, look them up in a loan system and then match the two. ELT allows for an automated matching process based on the vehicle identification number.
That increased efficiency can save credit unions both time and human resources, Abeel said.
Legislation that would authorize credit unions to offer prize-linked savings to their members could also be introduced this session, Abeel said. "I'm optimistic in one respect: I don't think bankers would oppose it."
At the same time, credit unions are flush with deposits, Abeel said, and momentum for another deposits bill could wane after New Jersey credit unions helped pass legislation that authorized them to become eligible to accept municipal deposits in 2011.
Abeel also said a data breach bill that has been introduced in each legislative session since 2006--but not pushed because of heavy opposition from retailers--has been prefiled for the 2014 session, "and it might have legs," because the bill's sponsor is now the Assembly Speaker Vincent Prieto (D-32).
The bill would restrict the information that a retailer can retain from a card's magnetic strip. In case of a breach, it would allow the card issuer to identify who is responsible for the breach, and also allow the card issuer to recoup card replacement and fraud costs.
The league is also laying the groundwork for state charter modernization, which Abeel said will likely be a multi-session initiative. The league and state credit unions have yet to determine whether they will press for a complete rewriting of the state credit union act or changes on individual items.
Abeel said the league will take a defensive posture on foreclosure-related issues in two areas. One concern is legislation that would a require lender to provide maintenance to a foreclosed property. "While we want to be good corporate citizens," Abeel said. "We do not want lenders to be held to a different standard than homeowners are held to."
Two New Jersey municipalities--Orange and Newark--have also moved forward with plans to use eminent domain to buy properties that are in foreclosure. "That concerns us," Abeel said. "The towns can pay us less than is owed on the properties, and then turn around and give it back to the person that the lender foreclosed on."