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Ohio public funds bill has second third hearings
DUBLIN, Ohio (3/12/10)--Legislation in Ohio to include credit unions as a choice of depositories for public funds underwent its second and third hearings before the state House Financial Institutions, Real Estate and Securities Committee on March 3 and again on Wednesday, said the Ohio Credit Union League.
Click to view larger image Attending a hearing on Ohio's House Bill 317, which would include credit unions as a choice of depositories for public funds, were, from left: John Kozlowski, Ohio Credit Union League General Counsel; State Rep. Ted Celeste (D-Grandview Heights), Greg Kidwell, Members First CU CEO; and Grandview Heights Mayor Ray Degraw. Kozlowski and Degraw testified in favor of the bill.
Click to view larger image Ohio credit union leaders showed their support for Ohio legislation that would include credit unions as a choice for depositing public funds by attending a March 3 hearing on House Bill 317. A similar group also supported testimony on behalf of the bill in a hearing conducted on Wednesday. (Photos provided by the Ohio Credit Union League)
Testifying in favor of House Bill 317 and on behalf of credit unions on March 3 was Hardin Community FCU Matt Jennings and Board President Dick Wilcox. Each stressed the importance of community and choice, and the important role the credit union plays in the community and lives of the people in Hardin and Logan Counties. Hardin Community FCU is a $60 million asset credit union based in Kenton, Ohio. Also testifying on behalf of credit unions was Ray Degraw, mayor of Grandview Heights, located in central Ohio. DeGraw testified that the legislation would give his city a true choice of depositories and a local option within his community. League General Counsel John Kozlowski stated in his testimony that the league has long advocated including credit unions as eligible depositories for public funds and for their inclusion in lending and savings programs available through the Treasurer of State's office. Testifying in opposition to H.B. 317 was Scott McComb, president of Heartland Bank, and Joan Jones, president of Peoples Bancshares. Both advocated taxing credit unions to offset what they called credit unions' "unfair advantage" and to "level the playing field." Kozlowski, in his testimony, addressed that issue, saying that credit unions pay property taxes and payroll taxes, and state-chartered credit unions also pay sales and use taxes. He noted credit unions don't have an unfair advantage. "If this were true, why do credit unions have only 0.81% of the total assets in financial institutions in Ohio and hold only 6.7% of deposits in the state?" During Wednesday's hearing, the Ohio Bankers League and two bankers testified in opposition to the bill. They argued that credit unions had an unfair tax advantage and deviated from their original mission and that their common bond had eroded. They also suggested credit unions' interest in public funds stemmed from lack of liquidity and need for funds. Also testifying Wednesday in favor of the bill were Seth Michael, clerk of court for Jackson County, and Terry Scott, auditor for the city of Mount Vernon. They testified in favor of the choice HB 317 would present their public entities and noted the safety and soundness of credit unions. Knox County Commissioner President Bob White also submitted a letter to the committee on behalf of himself and two other commissioners stating they were in favor of HB 317.


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