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Credit union membership may growSTACEY PLAISANCE / L’Observateur / August 26, 1998Area citizens will soon have the opportunity to join credit unions as H.R.1151, the CU Membership Access Act, will be instituted locally in approximately two months, said Debbie Farris, marketing director of the Louisiana Federal Credit Union.

“Although it’s been made law, we can’t act now,” Farris said. “It will beabout two months before we can take advantage of it because the federal agency has to work out local procedures.”Farris said passage of the bill was a victory for credit union agencies fighting to undo court-imposed limits on federal credit union membership stemming from lawsuits brought by the banking industry two years ago.

More than 90 percent of Congress voted for this bill that the banking industry lobby spent millions of dollars trying to surpass.

“We haven’t been able to take new companies since October of ’96 because of the lawsuit,” she said. “We’re ecstatic about this bill being passed.”In an announcement prior to the signing of the bill, President Clinton said this bill ensures that consumers will continue to have “a broad array of choices in financial services.”Farris said the array of financial service options was the most integral part of the bill to the community as well as the credit unions. The billrestores consumer choice of financial institutions by allowing credit unions to serve multiple groups of members.

“We’re glad they have the option to choose where they want to make their financial transactions, especially small businesses that can now offer credit union membership to their employees,” Farris said. “We had peoplewho wanted to join the credit union, but couldn’t because their company didn’t belong to the credit union.”Farris said a credit union may offer its members benefits not provided by banks, and it’s important that people have options.

“LFCU offers lower loan rates, higher savings rates, great certificate deposit rates, and a new Looney Toons Savings Club for kids,” she said.

LFCU can service employees of a company that obtains membership with the credit union or family members of an employee with that company, Farris said.

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