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La Pine presents CU legislative agenda in the Tallahassee Democrat

In the opinion section of the Tallahassee Democrat, LSCU & Affiliates President Patrick La Pine presents the credit union legislative agenda.

This legislative session, the Florida Credit Union Association, an affiliate of the League of Southeastern Credit Unions & Affiliates, is advocating for measures to ensure credit unions can provide the best and most secure services possible to their members.

Last year, lawmakers unfortunately did not 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 if their financial needs are not being met by their bank.

This year, 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.

Looking beyond the issue of public deposits, the Florida Credit Union Association wants reform laws as they relate to data security and protection of personal information. Florida law does not go far enough in addressing data breach security and the exposure to merchants who may fail to maintain security protocols to access devices. Legislation could protect card issuers and financial institutions from these data breaches. The association also supports requiring retailers to notify consumers if any data breach has occurred.

Another continuing effort of the association is promote financial literacy and ensure Florida’s youth have a working knowledge of what it means to be financially solvent. Legislation has been filed in both the House and Senate that would require high-school students to take a half-credit hour in financial literacy. The Association supports this and any effort that would help foster a more financially literate and responsible youth.

As we tune in to developments of legislation that may impact Florida’s credit unions and the regulatory environment under which we operate, we are always looking for ways to improve Chapter 657, the Florida Credit Union Act, to reduce overregulation 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 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.

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