Sens. Tina Smith, D-Minn., and Ben Sasse, R-Neb., introduced bipartisan legislation in the Credit Union Governance Modernization Act intended to make credit unions safer for employees and members, and simplify rules for credit union operations.

According to a news release, the measure would allow federal credit unions to expel members for violations of credit union policies, without requiring a vote of membership. Under current law, a federal credit union must have a vote of its entire membership before it can expel a member who engages in unacceptable, sometimes dangerous behavior.

Minnesota credit unions have shared stories of members who have robbed credit unions, smashed ATMs, and sexually harassed tellers. Despite this behavior, it can be burdensome and slow for credit unions to expel these members because current law requires the credit union to call a vote of membership to expel a member, even when the member has engaged in egregious conduct. Smith’s and Sasse’s bill would fix this problem by simplifying the expulsion process, with protections to prevent unfair expulsions.

“For too long, Minnesota credit unions have had to endure members who rob them, harass employees, or destroy credit union property,” Smith stated in the release. “The Minnesota Legislature voted unanimously to fix this problem for state-chartered credit unions in 2018, and our bipartisan legislation would take what we’ve learned in Minnesota and apply it to credit unions that are federally chartered. And I’m glad to be working across party lines with Republican Sen. Ben Sasse of Nebraska.”

“Credit unions should be able to have a straightforward and fair way to enforce their membership rules,” Sasse stated in the release. “Right now, if an unruly credit union member makes trouble for tellers or other members, the credit union has to go through a lot of rigmarole to expel them. Our common-sense bill simplifies that process to make it fast and fair to ensure safety and transparency.”

“This bill is an important step to update the federal credit union charter,” Mark Cummins, president and CEO of the Minnesota Credit Union Network, stated in the release. “We appreciate Sen. Smith’s commitment to the safety and security of Minnesota credit unions.”