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NM Legislative Session Ends, No New Regs Impact CUs
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (3/22/13)--New Mexico's 60-day state legislative session ended March 16, with no additional regulatory or tax burdens enacted that would impact credit unions, said the Credit Union Association of New Mexico.

Credit unions were "extremely active, visible and engaged," and they took the "opportunity to showcase the credit union difference" and the work credit unions do daily, said CUANM Vice President Governmental Affairs Juan E. Fernandez Ceballos. "We worked diligently to ensure that no additional regulatory or tax burdens were enacted and successfully achieved this goal," he added.

A key data breach bill, SB 347, which would have made it illegal for merchants to keep unencrypted credit or debit card data after an authorization process and made them liable for the costs associated with data breaches of unencrypted data,  ran out of time and was not addressed by the time the session ended.

Credit unions strongly supported the bill and had met with the Senate Majority Leader to explain credit unions' position, Ceballos told News Now. However, SB 347 "clocked out." Earlier, SB 347 "had passed unanimously in the Senate Judiciary Committee and the Corporations and Transportation Committee," he said.

"We plan to reintroduce the legislation," he added. It was modeled after legislation in other states and would have given credit unions grounds to sue breached merchants if they didn't purge or encrypt their data. It would have enabled them to sue for costs of reissuing cards, notifying breach-affected members, dealing with fraud on the accounts, and for closing and reopening the account, he said.

Other legislative proposal the association tracked included bills on:

  • Unclaimed insurance benefits and policies, which would provide an affirmative duty for insurers to search databases to find deceased policyholders. CUANM supported the legislation, which passed both chambers of the legislature. Credit unions already have processes to identify deceased members or dormant accounts. Forcing them to perform an extension search of their records, only to pay themselves as a beneficiary, would be "a costly exercise that is likely to outweigh the financial benefits," said CUANM.
  • Creation of a "state financial regulation fund" to administer funds allotted to the state from a court settlement reached by state attorneys general and mortgage lenders. The legislation was signed into law on March 3.
  • Expansion of the New Mexico Finance Authority (NMFA), which would allow NMFA to make participation loans with lenders. The association and its allies worked to amend the proposal to include credit unions, which CUANM said were purposely left off the initial proposal. Although the measure clocked out, the amendment to include credit unions passed unanimously. CUANM said it would work to make sure future bills include the credit union language.
Several other bills tracked by the association clocked out when the legislative session ended.


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