The readers’ forum

Legislative hits and misses for financial institutions

 

Florida’s financial institutions saw some much-needed provisions head to Gov. Rick Scott for his signature as a result of the 2014 legislative session. One of the most significant pieces of successful legislation was Senate Bill 1012, which came from a collaboration of the Florida Credit Union Association (FCUA) and the Office of Financial Regulation (OFR).

Specifically, SB 1012 clarifies that the OFR holds regulatory authority over the banking practices of financial institutions and allows for credit unions operating in a sound and safe manner to move and open branches after giving OFR a 30-day notice.

Updates to Florida’s data breach notification statutes were also put in place this session, including provisions that require covered entities to report a suspected breach of information that affected more than 500 individuals.

In addition, the Keeping Identities Safe Act (KIDS Act) was also successful this past session and allows parents or guardians to freeze a child’s Social Security number to protect their credit scores for a nominal fee.

Although we can count the above-mentioned provisions as big wins for Florida’s financial community and consumers overall, there were some missed opportunities that are worth mentioning.

For example, legislation that would have required high school students to take a course in financial literacy in order to qualify for graduation was, unfortunately, unsuccessful. This good piece of legislation, had it been successful, would have gone a long way to arm Florida’s youth with critical information on how important it is to build their financial security and become financially independent.

The FCUA believes that learning how to manage personal finances and become financially solvent in a responsible manner should be part of our youth’s education and the transition to becoming independent adults, and we will continue to advocate for such provisions that will work toward that goal.

The FCUA will also continue to advocate for legislation that will allow credit unions to serve as public depositories and provide public institutions with greater choice and value when it comes to meeting their banking needs. Legislation passed this year that will update and clean up the Security of Public Deposits Act, but unfortunately, language to bring credit unions into the mix and provide municipalities a choice was not included.

As we head into the summer months, the FCUA looks forward to another year of publicly advocating for critical updates to help strengthen Florida’s financial community, educate Florida’s youth on sustainable financial practices and making Florida safer for businesses, investors and consumers overall.

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

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