An MEP is a single plan adopted by a group of employers, which may have a common interest though not common ownership. By comparison, a single employer plan covers employees of one employer, or several employers that are part of the same related group of employers.
The Credit Union Retirement Plan Association 401(k) Plan became available January 1. “This is the first national MEP designed exclusively for credit unions and their affiliates. When the Department of Labor published its Advisory Opinion in 2012 on open MEPs (that they are not single ERISA plans), we worked hard to come up with a solution so credit unions could get the full benefits of an MEP, including not having to do an annual audit of their plan,” says Paul Chong, senior vice president of CUNA Mutual Retirement Solutions, based in Madison, Wisconsin. ERISA plans are plans covered by the Employee Retirement Income Security Act.
The new MEP includes advantages such as the elimination of annual plan audit expenses, reduction of employer’s fiduciary responsibility, and elimination of annual Form 5500 filings by individual employers.
“The plan administrator appointed by the association is responsible for the annual audit of the MEP, so credit unions can save audit costs, which typically run from $5,000 to $20,000 per year,” says Chong. “They also save staff time by not having to file the annual Form 5500.”
Chong says to be a member of the Credit Union Retirement Plan Association, an employer must be a member of the Credit Union National Association, Inc. (CUNA). Affiliates of CUNA members, such as wholly owned CUSOs, and credit union leagues, are also eligible to join the association. There are no association membership dues.
More information is available at 800-356-2644 or www.cunamutual.com.