Credit Unions Meet Regulatory Changes With More Productive Boards

It’s been a busy summer for Canadian credit unions thanks to a whole lot of new regulations and updates to legislation that affect credit unions. Boards of directors play a major role in monitoring a credit union’s compliance with regulations, which means the next few months and years are going to be busy for directors across the country. These are just some of the leading news stories affecting credit union regulation from the past few months:

Investigating Unauthorized Debt and Credit Transactions

A big new change facing credit unions is coming in the form of how they must investigate unauthorized debit and credit transactions. Authentication technologies are no longer enough to rule out an investigation, and credit unions must now take into account circumstances “beyond the consumer’s control,” such as card theft, systems malfunctions, and even people obtaining PINs by peering over shoulders.

Goodbye to “Banking”

Of course, one of the most frustrating new regulations facing Canadian credit unions involves new rules over who gets to say they offer “banking” services. By June 30, 2019, credit unions across the country will have to remove the terms “banking,” “banker,” and “bank” from every aspect of their business, including promotional materials. It puts credit unions in an awkward situation – given that much of what they do is banking, offering an alternative to major banks with all the services they provide, including chequing and savings accounts, loans, and mortgages.

By the end of this year, credit union websites will have to have scrubbed the word from their online presence, while they have a year to remove it from print materials, and until 2019 to remove it from signage. It can be an expensive process for many credit unions, and boards need to discuss the vocabulary that will replace “banking” but still communicate to consumers what a credit union does. Not only will this be an important rebranding effort for Canadian credit unions, it will also be costly.

CASL Anti-Spam Regulations

July 1, 2014 was the day that Canada’s Anti-Spam Legislation entered into force, with but as for July 1, 2017, the transition period has ended, and all organizations are expected to adhere to the new rules. However, the private right of action has been delayed; the private right of action section of CASL allowed action from individuals who had been affected by organizations violating new CASL laws. The suspension is meant to allow organizations to achieve “legal certainty” about all aspects of the law. This gives your board more time to make sure that the credit union is on the right side of the law when it sends newsletters, e-newsletters, or any other kind of promotional material.

With so many new regulations facing credit unions in Canada, it’s become more important than ever to use the best board management software to keep boards of directors productive and well-informed. Directors should always know about changes to regulations in a timely manner, and a board portal can help administrators achieve that. Instant email notifications are the best way to keep directors informed, but they must be balanced by security measures, a balance achieved in portals like Aprio board management software. Email notifications must require login access to the portal to remain secure; never share board information as an email attachment. Credit union boards that already use board management software like Aprio are ahead of the game. Their directors can stay informed and in constant communication with each other in between meetings. Given the shifting regulatory landscape for credit unions, your board needs every asset it can find to achieve transparent communication and ongoing discussions. If your credit union hasn’t already, start with board management software.