Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives
in General Court assembled, and by the authority of the same,
Chapter 170 of the General Laws is hereby amended by striking out sections 30, 31 and 32, as appearing in the 1984 Official Edition, and inserting in place thereof the following three sections:-
Section 30. Fifteen or more co-operative banks may form the Co-operative Banks Employees Retirement Association, in this section and in sections thirty-one and thirty-two called the retirement association, for the purpose of providing retirement benefits through retirement plans which are qualified under Section 401 of the Internal Revenue Code, in this section called plans, for eligible employees, as hereinafter provided. The retirement association, in its name and by or through its authorized officers, may (a) establish plans and related trusts for eligible employees participating therein, (b) make agreements and investments subject to such limitations as from time to time may be prescribed by law or the by-laws of the retirement association, (c) sue and be sued, plead and be impleaded, (d) enforce liens and other obligations and foreclose mortgages held by the retirement association on or with respect to real or personal property situated in the commonwealth or in any state or territory of the United States, (e) adopt an official seal and alter the same at pleasure, and (f) do such other acts and things as may be necessary to carry out the powers conferred upon it by law and its by-laws.
All co-operative banks established under the laws of the commonwealth, all such co-operative banks which have converted to a federal savings bank, federal savings and loan associations or federally chartered stock corporation and which have their main offices located in the commonwealth, the Co-operative Bank League of Massachusetts, the Co-operative Banks Employees Retirement Association, the Co-operative Central Bank, and such other Massachusetts co-operative bank organizations as from time to time may be provided for in the by-laws of the retirement association, and such of the respective employees of each of the foregoing as may be provided by such by-laws, shall be eligible for membership in the retirement association. For the purposes of this section, and sections thirty-one and thirty-two, a reference to "bank" or "banks" shall, unless the context otherwise requires, mean and include any or all of the organizations named or referred to in this paragraph, and a reference to "board of directors" of a bank shall also, unless the context otherwise requires, mean and include the governing body of such organizations.
Eligible employees may contribute a portion of their salaries or wages to or under plans established by the retirement association, to be deducted by the employing banks and paid to the plans or the retirement association. A participating bank may contribute to or under plans of the retirement association to the extent determined by its board of directors. Contributions and benefits under the plans of the retirement association shall not exceed the limits, if any, imposed on such plans by the Internal Revenue Code of 1954, and the Employees Retirement Income Security Act of 1974, in this section called the Code and ERISA, respectively.
All plans maintained by the retirement association shall conform to the Code and ERISA and funds held under any such plans shall be invested in such manner as the retirement association shall determine. Copies of all plans shall be filed with the commissioner. Funds held under any of the said plans shall be held by or used by the retirement association to the extent required by the Code and ERISA for the exclusive purpose of providing plan benefits to participating members and, as determined by the retirement association, may be used to defray reasonable expenses of administering the retirement association and the plans and investing the assets of the plans. To the extent that expenses necessary for the administration of the retirement association or the said plans are not paid from the plans, they shall be paid by participating banks on a proportionate basis, as provided in the by-laws of the retirement association.
A participating bank, by vote of its board of directors, may adopt one or more of the plans of the retirement association for the benefit of its employees. Any such bank which has adopted a plan of the retirement association may, if it is otherwise eligible, also establish an employee stock ownership plan.
A bank, by vote of its board of directors, may directly or indirectly by means of a contribution to one or more of the trust funds held by the trustees of the retirement association supplement the retirement benefits being paid to its former employees or their beneficiaries on account of bank service; provided, however, that no supplement of a retirement benefit shall exceed the retirement benefit multiplied by the increase in the cost of living since the retirement benefit began. The increase in the cost of living is the percentage by which the national monthly consumer price index figure for all urban consumers issued by the Bureau of Labor Statistics of the United States Department of Labor for the last November before the year in which payment is made is greater than the beginning index figure. The beginning index figure is the average of such monthly consumer price index figures for the year in which a retirement benefit was first paid to or with respect to a former employee. Except with respect to supplements first voted by the bank's board of directors on or after January first, nineteen hundred and eighty-one, and which are paid through one or more of the trust funds held by the trustees of the retirement association, no bank may become obligated to pay in future years any supplement authorized by this paragraph.
Section 31. The by-laws of the retirement association shall be submitted to the commissioner and shall prescribe the manner in which, and the officers and agents by whom, the retirement association may be conducted and the manner in which its funds may be invested and paid out. Such retirement association shall be formed when its by-laws have been approved and agreed to by a majority of the trustees of each of fifteen or more co-operative banks, and have been approved by the commissioner. Such retirement association shall annually, on or before June first, report to the commissioner such statements of its membership and financial transactions for the year ending on the preceding October thirty-first as the commissioner may consider necessary to show its business and standing. The commissioner may verify such statement by an examination of the books and papers of the retirement association.
The retirement association shall not be subject to chapter thirty-two or chapter one hundred and seventy-five or to such other provisions of law as relate to insurance companies or other retirement associations.
Section 32. The property of the retirement association, the portion of the wages or salary of any employee deducted or to be deducted under sections thirty and thirty-one, the right of an employee to an annuity or pension, and all his rights in the funds of the retirement association, shall be exempt from taxation and from the operation of any law relating to insolvency, and shall not be attached or taken on execution or other process to satisfy any debt or liability of the retirement association, a participating bank, or any employee member of the retirement association. No assignment of any right in or to said funds or of any pension or annuity payable under section thirty shall be valid, except that deferred annuity contracts purchased by a participating bank on account of past service of eligible employees may be assigned to such bank prior to actual retirement.
Nothing in this section shall prevent an employee's annuity or pension from being attached, taken on execution, assigned, or subject to other process to satisfy a support order under chapter two hundred and eight, two hundred and nine, or two hundred and seventy-three.