TALLAHASSEE and PALM BEACH, Fla. (3/11/15)--This year should be the year that fairness prevails in the long-standing debate in Florida about public funds depository choice, writes Patrick La Pine, president/CEO of the League of Southeastern Credit Unions (LSCU), in an op-ed piece in Monday's Palm Beach Post.
"Each year, credit union supporters and advocates take their plea for fairness to Tallahassee with a simple message: Allow municipalities and public offices to have a choice when it comes to their banking needs," said La Pine.
Public funds depository choice is the top legislative priority of the Florida Credit Union Association, an affiliate of LSCU. Two bills have been introduced that would allow credit unions to accept deposits from local government entities: Florida House Bill 907, sponsored by Rep. Bill Hager (R-Boca Raton), and Senate Bill 1154, sponsored by Sen. Rene Garcia (R-Hialeah) (News Now Feb. 27).
"Credit unions are not asking for any kind of preferential treatment when it comes to the public funds market," La Pine wrote. "Credit unions are simply seeking the opportunity to provide depository choice for public offices, with which they may have strong, community ties, and for which they can provide lower rates and bigger savings during an already tough economic environment."
He noted that banking lobbyists fight every year to stop legislation that "simply allows these entities (local government entities) to have a choice. A choice that would ultimately lead to these entities receiving a better rate of return on their tax dollars and the ability to keep their funds within their communities."
Currently 33 states allow credit unions to qualify as depositories of public funds.