AUGUSTA — The Legislature’s Health Coverage, Insurance and Financial Services Committee voted unanimously in March in favor of a bill from Senator Chip Curry, D-Belfast, to provide safe and secure banking services for minors who do not have a trusted adult in their lives.
And last week, the Maine Senate gave initial approval to the bill. LD 752 faces additional votes in the Senate and House.
The idea for LD 752, "An Act to Expand Access to Banking Services for Minors," came from a group of students at the Belfast Community Outreach Program in Education (BCOPE), who shared concerns based on the challenges faced by youth who they know, according to a news release.
“This milestone marks an important step towards empowering young adults in our state, promoting financial literacy and independence,” said Sen. Curry. “I want to thank the bright young adults at BCOPE for bringing this issue to our attention and for the diligent research they put in to make this bill a reality.”
LD 752 aims to ensure access to banking services for minors who don’t have a trusted adult by making it an enforceable contract when the minor opens a deposit account with a bank or credit union.
This provision removes liability issues for financial institutions and allows them to set their own standards for opening accounts for minors. The bill does not require financial institutions to open accounts for minors or make any changes to their current business practices.
During the March public hearing, Sen. Curry highlighted the potential benefits of LD 752, including preventing financial exploitation of minors and fostering financial responsibility.
Committee members were impressed by the initiative shown by the BCOPE students, who provided written and live testimony at the public hearing, sharing their personal stories, perspective, research and ability to answer questions from lawmakers, per the release.