The readers’ forum

Credit unions to push for more member services


With Florida lawmakers back in Tallahassee for the 2014 legislative session, the Florida Credit Union Association, an affiliate of the League of Southeastern Credit Unions & Affiliates, is prepared to advocate for measures to ensure credit unions can provide the best and most secure services possible to their members. Last year, Florida lawmakers, unfortunately, didn’t consider proposed legislation that would have granted credit unions the ability to accept public deposits, and in turn, allowed municipalities and public offices to have depository choice and the opportunity to take their funds elsewhere if their financial needs are currently not being met by their bank.

As the 2014 session gets under way, we are committed to vigorously advocating for any proposal that would bring Florida in line with 33 other states that allow credit unions to accept public deposits and spur competition among eligible public depositories.

Looking beyond the issue of public deposits, we are committed to advocating for reform laws as they relate to data security and protection of personal information. Data breach security and the exposure to merchants that may fail to ensure their access devices and systems are maintained with proper security provisions is something Florida law currently doesn’t go far enough in addressing. The Florida Credit Union Association intends to advocate for legislation that would work to protect card issuers and financial institutions from data breaches that may result from negligent retailers that fail to maintain security protocols to access devices. The association also supports any effort to require retailers to notify consumers if and when any data breach incident occurs.

Another continuous effort of the Florida Credit Union Association is to help ensure Florida’s youth have a working knowledge of what it means to be financially solvent and help spur financial literacy. Proposed legislation has already been filed that would require high school students to take a half-credit hour in financial literacy to qualify for graduation. The association supports this and any effort that would help foster more financially literate and responsible youth.

As we prepare to tune in to developments of proposed legislation that may affect Florida’s credit unions and the regulatory environment under which we operate, we are always looking for ways to improve the Florida Credit Union Act, to help reduce over regulation and maintain the safety and soundness of all credit unions. Credit unions are 100 percent locally owned and return all profits back to their Florida membership in the form of lower fees, better interest rates and better returns on deposits. The Florida Credit Union Association looks forward to a continued, productive discussion with Florida lawmakers this session on how we can work to improve the operating environment of all credit unions and continue to serve our 4.7 million members, Florida’s communities and the economy.

Patrick La Pine, president/CEO, Florida Credit Union Association, Tallahassee

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