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Florida is one of several states that has enacted “de-banking” legislation that requires financial institutions to provide consumers with fair access to financial products and services. On May 3, Governor DeSantis signed into law H.B. 989, which amends and expands upon that law and provides additional protection for consumers against discrimination by financial institutions.

In July 2023, Florida enacted legislation which requires financial institutions to provide consumers with fair access to financial products and services. Under that law, financial institutions are prohibited from denying or cancelling financial products or services based on factors such as a person’s political views, religious beliefs, social credit scores, and any other factor that is not a non-quantitative, impartial, risk-based standard. The law was enacted in response to the perceived “de-banking” of consumers with conservative ideologies. However, the law did not create a complaint process to follow through on alleged violations. Thus, H.B. 989 was enacted to establish a formal complaint process, as well as expand the scope of the state’s fair access requirements. 

H.B. 989 amends and expands upon Florida’s current fair access law in three key ways:

  • It creates a complaint process for consumers alleging violation of Florida’s fair access requirements. The bill requires the Florida Office of Financial Regulation to investigate any fair access complaint against a financial institution.
  • It expands the scope of the law to require non-Florida chartered banks to attest to compliance with the state’s fair access requirements.
  • It expands the fair access provision of the current law to prohibit not only discriminatory denial and cancelling of financial services and products, but also the suspension or termination of those products and services.

The law is effective as of July 1, 2024.

Putting it into Practice: Florida is not the first state to enact “de-banking” laws and it is unlikely to be the last. On April 22, Tennessee enacted its own fair access protection law (previously discussed here). Meanwhile, other states such as Arizona, Georgia, Idaho, Indiana, Iowa, Kentucky, Louisiana, and South Dakota are considering similar legislation. Financial institutions operating within Florida and the above mentioned states should review their policies to mitigate the risk of running afoul of the law.