PERSONAL FINANCE MANAGEMENT

Virginia Credit Union: Proposal to Remove the PPP Waiting Period in Virginia

If you’re interested in a Federal Credit Union, or a New York City-based alternative to the locally owned banks and credit unions, check out the Jamestown area federal credit union. This union has four branches in the town of Jamestown, New York. If you’re thinking about getting involved with a local community like this, we suggest that you keep reading for more information.

The Jamestown area federal credit union has both a General Membership and a Specialized Membership. Its General Membership holds all the right to all the activities of the union, and all the powers inherent therein; but, it has no power or authority to bind or to prohibit others from engaging in such activities. (violated) This means that members of the General Membership may engage in any lawful order, practice, transaction or other form of activity as they so choose, subject to the restrictions specifically set forth in the By-Laws. The Specialized Membership is limited to:

All members of the Jamestown area federal credit union must, by law, hold a minimum of one year of applicable experience as an officer or employee of the union. All officers or employees of the union must, by law, have at least three years of relevant experience as an officer or employee of the union. (Violating this rule can be viewed by the courts as a basis for firing). The union has the power to expel an offending member, but only after the offending member has been given notice of the potential discipline.

The third requirement that all Jamestown area federal credit unions must meet is that all PPP loans be used for business expenses only. This includes but is not limited to, medical bills, home repairs or improvements, and educational expenses. One could argue that medical bills and home repairs would fall under the “luxury” definition outlined in the current By-laws. But, the credit unions are required to remain unbiased when making these determinations.

The fourth requirement that all participants in the Jamestown area federal credit union must meet is to commit to not promoting, participating in, or taking part in any act or activity that could result in violations of Federal Laws forbidding child abuse or domestic violence. Again, this includes promotion, participation or endorsement that would aid or assist in any child abuse or domestic violence. Violating this provision can lead to immediate termination. Again, one could argue that the purpose of this provision is to prevent the Jamestown area federal credit union from being a magnet for illegal activity.

Perhaps the most important requirement, yet perhaps the one that is the subject of the most discussion, is the one stating that the members of the Jamestown area federal credit union must affirmatively affirm that they will not participate in any activity that would promote or partake in any act or activity that endorses or condones child abuse or domestic violence. This includes but is not limited to, promoting any event, organization, or individual that opposes child abuse or domestic violence. This is similar to the “No Child Left Behind Act” that exists in many schools across the country. In essences, this provision seeks to ensure that students, teachers, staff, and other employees are not indirectly encouraging or condone child abuse or domestic violence. If one fails to take this requirement seriously, one could find themselves facing serious consequences.

Lee said that he believes the current laws and by-laws at the Jamestown area federal credit union are too stringent and cumbersome for the little enterprise. He suggested that some kind of carve out for the business was introduced during the last board meeting. He indicated that he thought this might be the best option available because of the regulatory environment. During this discussion, however, several residents voiced their opposition and some voiced support for the removal of the requirement for the members to affirmatively affirm that they will not participate in any activity that would somehow be construed as condoning or promoting child abuse or domestic violence. These residents suggested that by-laws were often written by individuals who do not have an interest in ensuring that the institutions operate to serve the betterment of their communities and their employees.

Several residents also pointed out the irony of the situation. According to them, the very same provision in the original agreement that allows the employers to cut down workers who are considered to be abusers or delinquent spousal relationships also allows an employee who is currently undergoing a PPP program to remain on the program even after a specified time period has passed. This is how Jamestown became one of the last municipalities in Virginia to have a mandatory two-year waiting period before an individual who is receiving PPP benefits can begin receiving unemployment compensation. The proposed amendment that would eliminate the two-year waiting period was referred to the local governing body for a second reading and is scheduled for a final vote later this month. If it is passed, the PPP forgiveness process will be continued in Jamestown and potentially move from the jurisdiction of the federal credit union to that of the state.

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