TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (3/4/13)--The No. 1 priority for credit unions during the 2013 Florida legislative session convening Tuesday will be to allow credit unions to accept public deposits, the League of Southeastern Credit Unions and Affiliates announced Friday.
Senate Bill 918, sponsored by State Sen. Rene Garcia (R-Hialeah) and House Bill 251, sponsored by State Rep. Bill Hager (R-Boca Raton), will seek to reverse the state law's mandate that public entities--such as fire and sheriff departments, schools and libraries--can only use banks and not their local, not-for-profit credit unions for their financial needs.
"Public entities should be given the choice to seek better returns for their tax dollars and lower fees for their business," said Patrick La Pine, LSCU president. "As not-for-profit financial entities that are held to the same standards as banks, credit unions deserve the opportunity to compete in this market and provide for greater consumer choice, accountability and a more stabilized market."
Credit unions are required to meet the same public depository requirements as for-profit banks. They also are held to the same accountability standards and must offer the same protections to their members. However, credit unions across Florida are forced to turn down deposit requests from local government entities because state law renders them ineligible to receive these funds, said the league.
If successful, the proposed legislation would give local elected officials depository choice and would allow credit unions to bring competition to public deposits that will drive better returns and economic benefits to Florida's taxpayers, LSCU said.
"One of the founding principles of credit unions is the commitment to give back to their communities and their members," Garcia said. "By allowing credit unions to accept municipal and public deposits, we would allow for yet another opportunity for credit unions to give back by passing on bigger savings to local governments, who in turn would put the money right back into the communities to meet service, infrastructure or public needs. I see this bill as another means of providing greater consumer choice, fairness in the market and maximizing yields of public funds."