Minnesota enacts prize-linked savings bill

ST. PAUL, MN (May 18, 2015) — Minnesota Gov. Mark Dayton signed into law H.F. 1127/S.F. 1043 last week, a bill authorizing credit unions in the state to offer prize-linked savings (PLS) accounts. This marks the 13th state to enact such a law.

The Minnesota Credit Union Network-supported (MnCUN) bill, authored by Rep. Jennifer Loon (R-Eden Prairie) and Sen. Vicki Jensen (Democratic Farmer Labor-Owatonna), encourages consumers to save by offering chances at cash prices in exchange for the healthy practice of setting aside money each month.

The House passed the legislation with a 125-2 vote, and the Senate approved it unanimously.

“(This bill) gives credit unions more options for helping their members save for the future, benefiting Minnesota families and communities alike,” said Mark Cummins, MnCUN president/CEO.

Twelve other states have already approved PLS accounts, and similar legislation is pending in Oregon, Illinois, Massachusetts, New Jersey, North Carolina, South Carolina and Texas.

In New York, a credit union-backed bill that would allow credit unions to act as public depositories for a portion of state funds continues to push through the state Legislature. The New York Credit Union Association discussed this measure at length with state lawmakers last month during the league’s annual Governmental Affairs Conference in Albany (The Point May 15).

Last week, the bill advanced out of the Senate Banks Committee and has been reported to the Senate Finance Committee. Additionally, a companion bill was introduced in the New York Assembly.

“Deposits in local credit unions can have a significant impact within that particular community,” the bill argues (The Point). “The placement of state deposits would help enable those community banking institutions to meet the economic needs of their local communities. Because many small communities are home to credit unions, creating the program would be of benefit to the economies of these small communities.”

Meanwhile, Oklahoma Gov. Mary Fallin recently signed a bill related to transportation network companies (TNCs) in the state, while the Texas House approved a similar bill (Leaguer May 14).

The Texas bill is now pending in the Senate.

While both bills begin to address concerns credit unions have about insurance on vehicles used by drivers working for TNC companies, CUNA maintains that sufficient legislation would further require TNC drivers to show proof to lienholders and TNCs that they have acquired comprehensive and collision coverage–a provision absent from the new Oklahoma law and the pending Texas bill.

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