On September 19, the “Freedom and Mobility in Consumer Banking Act” was introduced by Rep. Jan Shakowsky (D-Ill.) and Senator Tom Harkin (D-Iowa). The companion  bills seek to make it easier for consumers to change banks by requiring, among other things:

  • Mandatory disclosures in a format that allows consumers to make meaningful comparisons between bank accounts.
  • Banks not prevent consumers from closing a covered account.
  • Banks not charge a fee for closing a covered account.
  • Banks not reopen a closed account to apply subsequent debits, whether preauthorized or not, unless the consumer asks to have the account reopened.
  • Banks to close a covered account within five days of a consumer’s request, unless special circumstances (such as a request from law enforcement) apply.

The term “covered account” includes “any check, savings or any other account that the [CFPB] may include by regulation.”

The proposed legislation may be helpful to consumers by making it easier to move from a traditional bank account to other payment methods. On the other hand, the same rules might be applied to other payment methods, since the CFPB is given leeway to extend the definition to “any other account.”

Copies of the legislation may be found at here and here.

As first published in the NBPCA Government Update.