I have been a supporter of transparency and fairness for consumers in the financial services area since I came to Congress. I believe that consumers should be informed of charges such as ATM fees, overdraft fees, or holds on their account, so that they can decide how to manage their money. I also support increasing access to financial institutions for the unbanked and providing ways for consumers to access information about banking.
Legislation I Have Introduced in the 111th Congress
H.R. 1455, Financial Consumer Hotline Act of 2009. With the regulatory structure of our nation’s banks divided among a series of governing bodies, it can be difficult for consumers to identify and contact the appropriate regulator when they have an inquiry or complaint. In an effort to address this situation, I have introduced the Financial Consumer Hotline Act. This legislation would establish a single, toll-free telephone number consumers can call if they have a question or complaint and want to speak to the bank’s regulator. This legislation also would establish a corresponding informational website.
H.R. 1456, The Consumer Overdraft Protection Fair Practices Act. Consumers should have clear and accurate information about overdraft protection programs before they are enrolled in them. In response to constituent complaints, I introduced a bill to arm consumers with the tools they need so they can decide whether they want to participate in these programs. My bill provides that consumers must “opt-in” to overdraft protection plans before they can be charged for them. It also requires that bank ATMs must disclose the true balance in a customer’s account, inform the customer that the transaction will trigger an overdraft fee and vie the customer an opportunity to cancel the transaction after being notified. Finally, the bill prohibits banks from
Legislation I introduced in the 109th Congress (see Legislation)
H.R.799, the Consumer Checking Account Fairness Act. I introduced this bill to reduce the amount of time banks can hold accountholders’ deposits before crediting them to the account to reflect the faster times under which checks can clear with the use of electronic check clearing. In the 108th Congress, I cosponsored the Check Clearing for the 21st Century Act, "Check 21," which substantially reduces the cost of clearing checks by allowing banks to clear checks electronically. However, consumers as well as banks should get the benefit of electronic funds transfer; now that checks can clear instantly, deposits should also clear faster.
H.R.3449, the Consumer Overdraft Protection Fair Practices Act. In response to constituent complaints, I introduced this bill to correct abuses relating to so-called overdraft protection, which has become an arena for abuse. This bill provides that consumers must opt in to overdraft protection plans before they can be charged for them. It also requires that bank ATMs must disclose the true balance in a customer’s account, inform the customer that the transaction will trigger an overdraft fee and give the customer an opportunity to cancel the transaction after being notified. Finally the bill bans manipulation of accounts to create overdraft charges – things like posting checks before deposits on the same day. The bill has been enthusiastically received by consumer advocates and financial policy makers. (See Documents).
H.R.5482, the Identity Theft Protection Act of 2006. I introduced this bill to protect consumers’ rights to control access to their credit reports so as to prevent identity theft, a growing crime. This legislation sets a federal standard for universal file freeze, allowing any person to control access to their credit report. The bill protects the many state laws that give consumers the right to freeze their credit files and extends that right to all Americans.
08/03/07 - Credit Card Reform Principles