TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (4/16/13)--Legislation that would allow Florida credit unions to accept public deposits is still alive in a Florida Senate committee awaiting action, said the League of Southeastern Credit Unions.
"There is a possibility it could get a hearing this year in the Banking and Insurance Committee," Mike Bridges, LSCU vice president of communications, told News Now. "The Florida legislature will be in session for three more weeks. While our public deposits bill has not been heard yet in committee, we still hope that it will pass this year.
"It still remains one of our top priorities," he added. "The league has made a strong push to educate consumers and municipalities on the issue. We have gotten great press coverage across the state. If it does not pass this year, our job is to continue to build this momentum and educate even more after session ends."
House Bill 251, sponsored by State Rep. Bill Hager (R-Boca Raton), and Senate Bill 918, sponsored by State Sen. Rene Garcia (R-Hialeah), look to reverse the state law's mandate that public entities--such as fire and sheriff departments, schools and libraries--use only banks.
Credit unions have the same public depository requirements as for-profit banks. They also must offer the same protections to members and have the same accountability standards. However, because state law renders credit unions ineligible to receive these funds, Florida credit unions are forced to turn down deposit requests from local government entities, said the league.
If enacted, the legislation would provide local elected officials depository choice and allow credit unions to bring competition to public deposits for better returns and economic benefits to Florida's taxpayers, LSCU said.