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Oregon CUs Urge Parity On Occupancy Rule
SALEM, Ore. (5/29/13)--Oregon state-chartered credit union representatives urged adoption of an occupancy rule that gives parity with rules applying to federally chartered credit unions in a meeting with the state Department of Consumer and Business Services (DCBS) this month.

In February, DCBS adopted a temporary rule allowing a state-chartered credit union up to six years to partially use unimproved property held for future expansion, according to the Northwest Credit Union Association (Anthem Recap May 24).

"It can be difficult to obtain permits, particularly when cities change building codes halfway through a project that can slow down the entire process," said Jerry Liudahl, chief credit officer at Oregon Community CU in Eugene, told NWCUA. "A three-year window is too narrow to effectively get things done and we would appreciate the DCBS permanently adopting a rule that gives us parity with the federal act."

DCBS took the next step toward adopting the rule in early May, convening an advisory group made up of state-chartered credit unions to discuss the permanent adoption of the rule. Nearly one third of Oregon's state chartered credit unions sent a representative to participate, said John Trull, NWCUA director of regulatory advocacy.

The temporary rule was set to expire after 180 days on July 31, said Rick Blackwell, DCBS senior policy analyst. Blackwell asked if there was interest in adopting the text of the temporary rule on a permanent basis. All of the credit unions' representatives expressed support for permanent adoption of the rule, said NWCUA.

Participants also were asked how the rule will impact small business--fiscally and from a regulatory standpoint. The rule potentially lowers the long-term cost for facilities and doesn't create a compliance burden, said Kevin Cole, chief financial officer for Maps CU in Salem.

Several participants encouraged DCBS to define unimproved real property, by using the same definition proposed in the National Credit Union Administration's Fixed-Asset Rule.

"Defining unimproved property ensures credit unions and the regulator are on the same page," Trull said.

After receiving input from the advisory group, the DCBS filed the notice of proposed rulemaking with the Secretary of State office.
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