Section 24. The participating members of the Co-operative Banks Employees Retirement Association, established by section 21, shall constitute as the Co-operative Banks Employees Benefit Association, in this section and in sections 25 and 26 hereinafter referred to as the benefit association, for the purpose of providing retirement benefits through retirement plans which are not qualified plans under section 401 of the Internal Revenue Code of the United States and for establishing employee welfare benefit plans, in this section hereinafter referred to as plans, for eligible employees of participating organizations. The benefit association, in its name and by or through its authorized officers, may: (a) establish plans and related trusts for eligible members participating therein; (b) make agreements, establish trusts and make or cause to be made investments subject to such limitations as may from time to time be prescribed by law or by the by-laws of the benefit association; (c) sue and be sued, plead and be impleaded; (d) enforce liens and other obligations and foreclose mortgages held by the benefit 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 that may be necessary to carry out the powers conferred upon it by law and its by-laws.
For the purposes of this section and sections 22 and 23, ''bank'' and ''banks'' shall, unless the context otherwise requires, mean and include any or all member organizations and ''directors'' of a bank shall, unless the context otherwise requires, mean and include the governing body of each of such organizations.
Eligible employees may contribute a portion of their salaries or wages to or under plans established by the benefit association, to be deducted by the employing banks and paid to the benefit association. A participating bank may contribute to or under plans of the benefit association to the extent determined by its directors. Contributions and benefits under the plans of the benefit association shall not exceed the limits, if any, imposed on such plans by the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 as amended, and the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974, as amended, in this section called the code and ERISA, respectively.
All plans maintained by the benefit association shall conform to the code and funds held under the plans of the benefit association shall be invested in such manner as the benefit association shall determine, consistent with the by-laws. Funds held under plans of the benefit association shall be held by or used by the benefit association for the exclusive purpose of providing plan benefits to eligible members and, as determined by the benefit association, may be used to defray reasonable expenses of administering the plans and investing the assets of the plans. To the extent that expenses necessary for the administration of the benefit association or the plans of the benefit association are not paid from the plans, they shall be paid by participating banks on a proportionate basis, as provided in the by-laws.
A participating bank, by vote of its directors may adopt 1 or more of the plans of the benefit association for the benefit of its employees and their beneficiaries.
Nothing in this section shall be construed so as to prevent any such bank from establishing its own employee welfare benefit plans or non-qualified retirement plan.