ALBANY, N.Y. (4/16/10)--The commissioner of the New York City Department of Consumer Affairs and the state Assembly's assistant speaker pro tempore have written an op-ed item in support of municipal depository choice for the state in Albany's Times Union. In Thursday's article, Commissioner Jonathan Mintz and Assemblyman Harvey Weisenberg say that for nearly 100 years, New York municipalities have been prohibited from depositing taxpayer funds into credit unions, savings banks or savings and loans institutions, "based on an anachronistic law dating to a time before credit unions even existed." They wrote that credit unions "offer rates of return that are competitive with--and may be higher than--commercial banks. Credit unions and savings banks often provide low-income communities with access to loans that can help them start a business, purchase a home or meet other financial needs." Mintz and Weisenberg noted that local governments are "fighting for autonomy and asking the state to pass a law that lifts this prohibition," which would give them "greater freedom to decide where best to deposit taxpayer dollars--taking into account the safety of funds, pricing and other taxpayer benefits. Arbitrarily restricting deposits based on a century-old law means limiting competition and reducing options." They also referred to New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg's plan to make $25 million in deposits available to credit unions and savings banks located in low- and moderate-income communities once state legislature passes municipal deposit reform. The Credit Union Association of New York thanked Mintz and Weisenberg for their action in support of municipal depository choice. Earlier this week the association conducted a press conference with a number of officials urging the state legislature to pass a muni-deposit choice bill. For the full article, use the link.