HIGHTSTOWN, N.J. -- Marking an unusual team-up with bankers, the New Jersey Credit Union League is taking the lead in the state legislature this summer by spearheading a data breach bill protecting consumers and holding retailers responsible for breach costs.
The bill, introduced in the Assembly Financial Institutions & Insurance Committee June 18 and sponsored by committee chair Neil Cohen, (D-Roselle), is similar to a bill enacted recently by the Minnesota legislature aimed at TJX-type security breaches.
"We did take the lead role with bankers back in March and we're thrilled they agreed to support us on this issue," said Chris Abeel, the league's director of governmental affairs.
Abeel and other officials met with both the New Jersey Bankers Association and New Jersey Community Bankers Association, representing smaller independents, to develop legislative strategy for the bill.
The community ban-kers group agreed to support the Cohen bill, but the larger NJBA adopted a "no-action" stance for the time being however Abeel said "it is my understanding some of its members opposed taking an active role but not because of the coalition with the credit unions."
The measure provides limits on the information retailers can retain on magnetic cards, holds retailers "financially responsible for any resulting loss including card replacement and fraud", and allows CUs or banks to disclose to cardholders the entity responsible for the breach.
The bill parallels the model Minnesota TJX bill championed by the Minnesota Credit Union Network earlier this spring.
The one difference, said Abeel, is the Minnesota provision does not enable issuers to disclose to their cardholders the entity responsible for the breach.
Abeel said the league does expect to work together with bankers on other issues of mutual interest in the future "though we have not gotten into specifics".
"I came from the banking sector and hope to improve bank/credit union relations here in N.J.," said Abeel. "I hope we can agree to disagree on some issues such as taxation and still work together on the numerous other issues where our interests are similar."