2024 Utah Legislative Session Recap

The 2024 Utah Legislative Session ended on March 1, with several bills arising in the last few weeks that required amendment in order to be workable for Utah’s credit unions.

HB 572, State Treasurer Investment Amendments, took some work. The bill’s purpose was to grease the wheels of funding for attainable housing. Under the bill, when a developer applies for a development loan with a lender, if the loan pencils out and meets certain criteria regarding attainable housing, the lender can then apply to the state to receive a deposit of state funds that the credit union can then lend to the developer.

One challenge with the bill was that old language regarding field of membership and business lending in the state credit union act would have kept credit unions from taking advantage of the program. So, the Association worked with the bill sponsor to add an amendment, which basically says that despite all the restrictions in the state credit union act, credit unions can participate in the program.

Once the language was added, it took some effort to ensure that it stayed in the final bill—which it did.

Another bill, HB 484, added late in the session, had the purpose of blocking the government from accessing personal information of members of non-profit groups organized under the IRS section 501(C). Really, they were looking to keep advocacy organizations’ lists out of government hands.

The trouble was that credit unions, organized either under section 501(c)1 for federal credit unions or 501(c)14 for state chartered credit unions, must from time-to-time share information about members with the government. This bill as originally written would have compromised the regulatory and exam processes.

The sponsor simply overlooked that complication, and after some discussion agreed to amend the bill so that credit unions could be properly regulated.

Those two bills popped up in the last portion of the session.

One more particular bill to note is HB 534, Boards and Commissions Modifications. This bill was part of a broad effort on the legislature’s part to eliminate 35+ groups run by the executive branch. The Board of Credit Union Advisors was one of those.

We will feel the loss of the board, as it’s a solid way to interface with the DFI. However, it’s not a dire situation. The Association currently meets with the DFI on a fairly regular basis, and has a good working relationship. Credit unions have ready access to the supervisor of credit unions, and can talk with him at virtually any time. Any time we have asked to meet with them outside the Board, they have been ready to meet with us.

We’re confident that we will be able to establish a regular cadence of meetings with the DFI and state-chartered credit unions, with the added benefit of being able to talk more freely in the meetings.

Among the other 30+ bills that we worked on or monitored were these:

  • HB 99, Consumer Credit Protection Amendments, a bill that passed in the form we were hoping. When a consumer credit services organization provides a credit report to a buyer, it must provide the buyer with a written disclosure that identifies the agency providing the information in the report, the name of the credit score model used, and the minimum and maximum possible scores.
  • SB 25 Substitute 2, Financial Institution and Consumer Notification Amendments, was a bill we watched just to make sure it didn’t get hijacked and used against us. It ended up being fine—no trouble for us.
  • HB 406 Substitute 2, Firearms Financial Transaction Amendments, was one that originally gave us heartburn. The purpose is to prevent the usage of a firearms merchant category code, and at first it prohibited financial institutions from using the codes. Since we don’t set the codes, it didn’t make sense, and we worked with the sponsor to get it changed so that it targeted the correct level of the ecosystem—the payment card network. It passed in an acceptable form.
  • HB 348, Precious Metals Amendments, which began life as Specie Legal Tender Amendments, had the original objective of allowing the State Treasurer to establish a new legal tender with gold as the backing asset, and with a digital component. The bill was 100% the State Treasurer’s, and was amended to basically stop and study the issue. It passed in an acceptable form.
  • HB 164, Digital Currency Modifications, was an anti-central bank digital currency bill. More than anything it made a statement about not accepting a CBDC as currency in Utah. We watched to make sure it didn’t spill over into our wheelhouse, and as it passed it was fine.

For more details about other bills we watched, see our 2024 legislative session tracking page.