February 12, 2021

Minnesota Legislature – Weekly Recap

2021 Bank Day at the Capitol – A Great Success

On Wednesday, we held our annual MBA Bank Day at the Capitol, only this year it was virtual. Bankers gathered remotely to learn about the issues affecting the state and were encouraged to speak directly with their legislators regarding their priorities this legislative session.

The morning kicked off with Temporary Commissioner Grace Arnold, Minnesota Department of Commerce. Commissioner Arnold spoke of the importance of local financial institutions to Governor Walz’s One Minnesota plan as you provide the financial services Minnesotans need to be successful. She acknowledged all the work banks have been doing during the pandemic working with customers and businesses. She stated that the Department doesn’t have much in legislative proposals this session. She spoke of the success of the senior financial exploitation legislation from last year. (We expect that the Governor will announce his appointment for Commerce Commissioner in the next few weeks.)

Legislative speakers included House Commerce Chair Representative Zack Stephenson (D-Coon Rapids), Senate Commerce Chair Senator Gary Dahms (R-Redwood Falls), Senate Deputy Majority Leader and Senate Redistricting Chair Senator Mark Johnson (R-East Grand Forks), Speaker of the House Melissa Hortman (D-Brooklyn Park) and newly elected Banker/Legislator Representative Brian Pfarr (R-Le Sueur). Stephenson and Dahms both discussed what they saw coming up in their committees. The Senate Commerce Committee meets less often than the House, so they will take up fewer issues.

Johnson and Hortman spoke to their caucuses’ priorities of the session, dealing with a budget in a remote environment and the likelihood of a special session. While Hortman says they should be able to get their work done on time, special sessions are more of a norm than special these days. Senator Johnson spoke about redistricting and that the consensus numbers needed to draw the lines won’t be available until after session adjourns, so he foresees interim work on redistricting. The House and Senate have differing thoughts on tax conformity on the PPP loans, which was brought up in many of the comments by the legislators.

Representative Pfarr wrapped up the legislator session giving his insight as a new legislator and a fellow banker. He stressed the importance of the personal notes to legislators and staying in contact with them as issues pop up that impact your communities.

We were honored to feature Shawntera Hardy as our closing keynote speaker. Shawntera Hardy is co-founder and chief of strategy for Civic Eagle, a national technology company. She was formerly commissioner of the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development (DEED). Prior to serving as DEED commissioner, Hardy was deputy chief of staff in the office of Gov. Mark Dayton and Lt. Gov. Tina Smith.

As bankers, we are rightfully proud of our commitment to give back to the communities in which we do business. After the tragic death of George Floyd last summer and the resulting civil unrest, it has been an eye-opener that whether you do business in the core of Minneapolis or in small town Minnesota, diversity, equity, and inclusion are everyone’s issues. Shawntera shared how that as bankers and community members, we all have a responsibility to promote and foster these critical values, not only in our staffing but in our business models as well. She addressed four key areas in which you can lend your voice: (1) Retire – The pandemic has revealed flaws in our system. We need to retire the scarcity and deficit-based mindset.  (2) Hire – It is imperative that the industry has a pipeline of diverse voices in the room. This is about intentionally investing, not just checking boxes. (3) Wire – As core keepers of capital, the industry wields tremendous power. PPP showed that the banking industry is agile and willing to take risks, lean into transformational work. (4) Inspire – Create possibility and create a culture of compassion, curiosity, and critique. Establish brave spaces to continue the conversation and conquer the anxiety of getting it wrong.

Shawntera’s entire presentation is worth 30-minutes of your time and may be viewed here.

Contacting Your Legislator

Meeting with YOUR local legislators is still incredibly important. As in-person group meetings are not feasible at this time, we encourage you to set up a phone or video call with your local representatives to make sure they’re aware of the issues that are important to you.

How do I set up my appointment? If you know who you legislator is, you can find their email addresses here: House members and Senate members. Simply send them an email asking to set up an appointment. Feel free to conduct the meeting by phone or Zoom. Some members even have the capability to help with Zoom links.

I would rather send an email. That is great as well. We have set up an easy click and send email that will come directly from you. Please personalize it to your bank and /or community. Click here for link to send the email.

I lost my Bank Day talking points. No problem. Click here!

The MBA would like to thank all of the speakers and bankers for participating in and helping make Bank Day at the Capitol such a success! We would also like your feedback on how we can make Bank Day at the Capitol even better next year.

Thoughts on Bank Day

Please contact Therese Kuvaas with any feedback.

Bill Introduced to Allow Account Openings for Financial Institutions

Yesterday, a bill (HF1067), authored by Representative Jim Davnie (D-Minneapolis) was introduced that would exempt financial institutions that have a program to expand access to financial services to the unbanked and underbanked from following the statute that does not allow a financial institution to open an account for someone that has had their account closed. The statute only applies to state-chartered banks, as nationally chartered banks do not have to follow this statute. Over the years, legislators and non-profit groups have pushed for the elimination of the statute to give people the opportunity to open these accounts.

Last session, Representative Davnie offered an amendment to remove this language and stated that financial institutions could choose not to open these accounts, but it would be based off their policy and decisions and not a unilateral decision by statute. He said that financial institutions were in the best position to make these decisions.

At the MBA, we have had dozens of conversations regarding this statute over the years and we recognize that there are differing opinions on the statute. The language in the bill is a compromise allowing those that want to open accounts, but have been unable to due to the statute, to implement a program and offer these accounts. It also allows those that prefer to follow the statute that option.

The bill would also remove the $4 service fee limit for a dishonored check. We believe this language could get some push back at the legislature.

This law has been on the books since 1983 when the Minnesota Retailers pushed for the language due to the number of bad checks they were receiving. Now, many retailers do not even accept checks.

The bill is scheduled to receive its first hearing in the House Commerce Committee on Tuesday.

Tidbits

  • A bill (HF333) was heard in Senate Commerce on Monday and House Judiciary and Civil Law on Tuesday that would require lenders and servicers of a reverse mortgage loan to notify borrowers that they can identify an additional person to receive communications regarding loan defaults. It also requires the loan servicer to send communications to the borrower’s independent loan counseling agency. Both versions are now headed to their respective Floors for final votes.
  • A bill (SF440) that would expand current law protections for property in foreclosure to tax-forfeited property, common interest communities, and contracts for deed was heard in the Senate Civil Law and Data Practices Committee yesterday. This bill also makes changes to the process of issuing and recording a state deed for tax-forfeited property. The bill makes several conforming and clarifying changes. The goal of the bill is to ensure consistency in Chapter 325N – the law that protects homeowners from predatory equity stripping scams. Click here for some additional background from Legal Aid. The bill has passed committees in the House and Senate and is headed to the Floor.

Mark Your Calendar

Here are some key dates for the 2021 legislative session:

  • End of February/Beginning of March – February Budget Forecast
  • March 12 – 1st Committee Deadline - bills must be out of all policy committees in one body
  • March 16-17 – ABA’s Virtual Washington Summit (more information below)
  • March 19 – 2nd Committee Deadline - bills must be out of all policy committees in both bodies
  • March 27 – April 5 – Legislative Spring/Passover/Easter Break
  • April 9 – 3rd Committee Deadline - bills must be out of all committees except Finance/Taxes
  • May 17 – Session ends – Constitutionally required adjournment date.

Next Week (as of Friday morning):

Monday         Presidents’ Day – the House and Senate will be in session and committees will be meeting

Tuesday         House Tax Committee will hear HF501 (posted amendment to bill) on PPP federal tax conformity and the House Commerce Committee will hear the Governor’s Commerce Budget Proposal and also a bill (HF1067) that would allow account openings for programs designated to expand access to financial services.

Wednesday   House Commerce Committee will hear the adult-use cannabis bill (HF600)

Please contact Tess Rice or Therese Kuvaas for any additional information.

For more legislative updates, follow Therese Kuvaas, Government Relations Manager, on Twitter @thkuvaas

Bill Introductions (all introduced on Thursday, February 11):

H. F. 823, A bill for an act relating to financial institutions; creating a working group to examine the merger of financial institutions and tax status designations; requiring a report.

H. F. 927, A bill for an act relating to motor vehicles; modifying provisions governing manufactured home certificates of title; proposing coding for new law in Minnesota Statutes, chapter 168A; repealing Minnesota Statutes 2020, section 168A.141.

S.F. No. 813: A bill for an act relating to consumer protection; requiring debt collectors to provide information in the preferred language of the debtor; proposing coding for new law in Minnesota Statutes, chapter 332.

S.F. No. 838: A bill for an act relating to taxation; income; excluding loans forgiven under the paycheck protection program from gross income; allowing expense deductions.

S.F. No. 892: A bill for an act relating to financial institutions; regulating interest rates for consumer short-term and small loans; amending Minnesota Statutes 2020, sections 47.59, subdivision 2; 47.60, subdivision 2; 47.601, subdivisions 2, 6; 53.04, subdivision 3a; 56.131, subdivision 1.

S.F. No. 972: A bill for an act relating to commerce; establishing the Governor's budget for Department of Commerce and Public Utilities Commission activities; modifying various provisions governing commerce and energy policy; appropriating money; amending Minnesota Statutes 2020, sections 60A.14, subdivision 1; 115C.094; 216B.62, subdivision 3b; 332.31, subdivisions 3, 6, by adding subdivisions; 332.311; 332.32; 332.33, subdivisions 1, 2, 5, 5a, 7, 8, by adding a subdivision; 332.34; 332.345; 332.355; 332.37; 332.385; 332.40, subdivision 3; 332.42, subdivisions 1, 2; repealing Minnesota Statutes 2020, section 115C.13.

H. F. 1067, A bill for an act relating to financial institutions; modifying checking account requirements; amending Minnesota Statutes 2020, section 48.512, subdivisions 2, 3, 7.

Registration Now Open for ABA’s Virtual Washington Summit

Due to the pandemic, the MBA is unable to conduct our normal Washington Visit again this year. However, please consider joining us for ABA’s Virtual Washington Summit.

Registrations are now being accepted for the 2021 ABA Washington Summit, a free virtual event to be held March 16-17. At this year’s summit—which all bankers are encouraged to attend free of charge—attendees will hear from lawmakers and regulators on the top issues of the day, including the pandemic response and relief effort, financial inclusion, cannabis banking, fair lending, AML/BSA reform and nonbank entrants into the financial system. Register now.

*Some of the information provided in the Weekly Recap is reported by Cook Girard - MBA’s contract lobbyists