Lawmakers' Legislation Simplifies Process for Credit Unions to Expel Members Who Have Unacceptable, Dangerous Behavior

WASHINGTON, D.C. [05/20/21]—U.S. Senators Tina Smith (D-Minn.) and Ben Sasse (R-Neb.) introduced bipartisan legislation to make credit unions safer for employees and members. The Credit Union Employee and Member Safety Act of 2021 would simplify the expulsion process for credit union members who engage in unacceptable, sometimes dangerous behavior, while preventing unfair expulsions. 

Minnesota credit unions have shared stories of members who have robbed credit unions, smashed ATMs, and sexually harassed tellers. Despite this unacceptable behavior, it can be difficult for credit unions to expel these members. That is because current law requires the credit union to call a vote of membership to expel a member, even when the member has been in engaged in egregious conduct. Sens. Smith and Sasse’s bill would fix this problem by allowing federal credit unions to expel members for violations of credit union policies without requiring a vote of membership. The bill is based on bipartisan legislation that was passed unanimously by the Minnesota legislature several years ago. The Credit Union Employee and Member Safety Act of 2021 would apply the Minnesota legislation to federally chartered credit unions. 

“It's unacceptable that Minnesota credit union employees have had to endure harassment, theft, or violence by members,” said Sen. Smith. “Right now, expelling members who seek to harm credit unions and their employees is a time consuming and burdensome process, leaving staff, members and the credit union itself at risk of further harm. The Minnesota legislature voted unanimously to fix this problem for state-chartered credit unions in 2018, and my bipartisan legislation would take what we’ve learned in Minnesota and apply it to credit unions that are federally chartered.”

“Nebraska’s credit union employees should feel safe and comfortable clocking in every day and members should feel safe doing their banking,” said Sen. Sasse. “These employees perform important services across the state and ought to be able to do their jobs unimpeded. This bill provides a much needed update to the federal credit union charter and I am glad to have worked with Senator Smith on this bill.”

“This bill is an important update of the federal credit union charter and prioritizes the safety of credit union members and the staff that serve them,” said Mark Cummins, President and CEO of the Minnesota Credit Union Network. “We appreciate Senator Smith’s commitment to strengthening the security of Minnesota credit unions.”

“The safety and security of credit union employees and credit union members is paramount to Nebraska’s credit unions and therefore we strongly support the Credit Union Employee and Member Safety Act and urge its passage,” said Scott Sullivan, President and CEO of the Nebraska Credit Union League. “Nebraska credit unions thank our United States Senator Ben Sasse for his commitment to the safety of credit union employees and their members.” 

“NAFCU applauds Senators Tina Smith and Ben Sasse for introducing legislation that will bolster consumer protections at credit unions to defend their employees and their members from abusive, fraudulent, and criminal activity,” said Dan Berger, President and CEO of the National Association of Federal Credit Unions. “Ensuring credit unions have the ability to address illegal activity or threatening behavior at their institutions is paramount so they can continue to safely and soundly serve their members and local communities. NAFCU strongly supports this bipartisan bill, and we will continue to advocate for Congress to pass these important reforms.”  

“We thank Sens. Smith and Sasse for their bipartisan bill that would modernize the Federal Credit Union Act to support staff and member safety,” said Jim Nussle, President and CEO of the Credit Union National Association. “We look forward to working with them to advance this bipartisan legislation so that we can bring credit union governance into the 21st century.”

You can access bill text here.

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