News Column

Congressman Carney Introduces Bill to Protect Consumers Opening Checking Accounts

July 24, 2014



WASHINGTON, July 24 -- Rep. John Carney, D-Del. (at-large), issued the following news release:

Congressman John Carney (D-DE) today introduced H.R. 5188, the Checking Account Simplification Act, legislation to implement a straight-forward, easy-to-understand model checking account disclosure form that can be adopted across the banking services industry. These disclosure forms will ensure consumers know up front the fees and costs associated with opening a checking account.

"People opening a standard checking account shouldn't be surprised by hidden fees or get caught in unfair policies," said Congressman Carney. "My legislation ensures that Americans can make confident, informed choices when deciding where to keep their money."

The Checking Account Simplification Act would direct the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) to consult with the banking services industry to develop a standardized, easy-to-read model disclosure form that would include disclosures related to overdraft fees, the costs of opening or closing a checking account, processing policies, and procedures for resolving disputes between consumers and banks. Banks would be required to present the form to consumers before opening a new checking account.

Rashmi Rangan, executive director, of the Delaware Community Reinvestment Action Council, Inc., said, "DCRAC applauds Congressman Carney for introducing this bill, as it pushes for transparency and it illustrates the importance of the new CFPB working effectively with the banking industry." DCRAC's mission is to ensure equitable treatment and equal access to credit and capital for underserved populations throughout Delaware.

According to the Pew Charitable Trusts, checking account disclosure forms in Delaware are on average 49 pages in length, with an average 21 extra fees ranging from $.10 to $125. In Delaware, 88 percent of checking accounts have monthly fees of an average of $14 per month. The average overdraft penalty is $35.

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