Florida’s CFO Says State Is on Course to De-Bank Wokeness

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More than 100 banks across Florida have signed an agreement to not politically discriminate against customers in exchange for a Qualified Public Depositories (QPD) accreditation. QPD banks are banks “legally allowed to accept public dollars which include state or local government funds.”

The announcement was made by state Chief Financial Officer Jimmy Patronis on Jan. 19, where he confirmed that close to 120 banks have already entered into the agreement, including some major banks, in what he has dubbed the “De-woking of Banks.”

The signatories include Bank of America, Citibank, PNC, TD Bank, Wells Fargo, and JPMorgan Chase. It follows the implementation of HB 3, “which works to prevent the qualification of a bank as a QPD, if they are engaged in any “unsafe and unsound practices” of canceling services based on a person’s beliefs whether they be “political, religious, or any other factor that shows impartiality,” according to a press release by Florida’s Office of Communications.

“With the continued rise of Environmental and Social Governances (ESG) infiltrating our economic institutions, I am extremely happy to see the positive effects of HB 3,” Mr. Patronis said.

“These 117 QPDs have officially made a commitment to put returns over politics. They understand that if they de-bank customers over political persuasion, they are threatening their own bottom lines,” he went on to say.

HB 3 was signed into law in July last year, effectively barring public dollars from being deposited into banks not designated as QPDs. Banks that deny services to customers based on their political or religious beliefs are subsequently prevented from being designated as QPDs.

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It further bars financial institutions to apply controversial tactics, such as social credit scores.

“I am proud that we now have safeguards like this that will allow Floridians to do what they want with their hard earned cash, without having to worry about a sudden denial or cancellation of services,” Mr. Patronis said.

“I desire economic freedom for all Floridians, and we simply cannot stand by as the leadership in Washington fails to protect citizens from political targeting,” he added.

The bill was sponsored by several Republicans, including Reps. Bob Rommel, (R-Naples) and Tyler Sirois, (R-Merritt Island), who sponsored the House version of the bill. The Senate version was endorsed by Sen. Erin Grall, (R-Fort Pierce).

Since it was signed into law, the bill appears to have ignited some momentum toward its goal to punish discriminatory actions by banks, with several banks openly declaring their opposition to “woke-ism.” This included banks that approached Mr. Patronis’s office directly to assert their stance.

“The success of this bill has helped ensure that Florida remains a safe haven for freedom, where citizens can rest assured that they will not face discrimination from our financial institutions,” Mr. Patronis said.

Mr. Patronis, who is also a state fire marshal, is a Florida official and a member of Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis’s cabinet. He oversees the Department of Financial Services.

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