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News Now

CU System
Iowa Supreme Court accepting IOLTA grant applications
DES MOINES, Iowa (12/19/07)--The Iowa Supreme Court Lawyer Trust Account Commission is accepting grants under the Interest on Lawyer Trust Account (IOLTA) program for the grant period beginning July 1, 2008. IOLTA programs allow lawyers who are holding clients' funds that are too small or short-term for an individual interest-bearing account to deposit the funds into a special bank or credit union account that contains similar funds from other lawyers. The interest generated from the pooled account helps fund legal programs for the needy (News Now Oct. 16). In Iowa, IOLTA grants are awarded to public purpose projects that provide legal services to the poor in civil cases, law-related education and other programs that improve the administration of justice in the state, according to a press release from the Iowa Judicial Branch. Last year, the Iowa Supreme Court awarded $1.327 million to the program. Total IOLTA program receives for the current fiscal year, which ended Nov. 30, exceeded $1.5 million. Deadline for grant applications is 4:30 p.m. CST, March 7, 2008. Grant recipients will be announced in late May or early June. Since Iowa's first grant in June 1986, the state has awarded nearly $20 million in grants. Credit unions in several other states can accept IOLTA deposits, including Maine, Washington, and Ohio. Effective Jan. 1, credit unions in Maine will accept IOLTA deposits for all deposits at low-income-designated credit unions. The Maine Supreme Court ruled in favor of the Maine Credit Union League's position to allow credit unions to offer interest on the IOLTA accounts, after the Maine Bar Foundation sought to limit credit union IOLTA participation to only low-income-designated credit unions (News Now Oct. 16). In August 2006, the Washington State Supreme Court backed the use of credit unions by attorneys to hold IOLTA accounts, after the Washington State Bar Association proposed rules to prohibit credit unions from accepting the interest on the accounts (News Now Aug. 1, 2006). A credit union modernization law in Ohio, the Credit Union Member Service Powers Act, which was signed into law in 2006, also allows credit unions to participate in IOLTAs (News Now Jan. 13, 2006).


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