Senate Democrats Introduce Bill to Require Fed to Develop a Real-Time Payments System
On July 24, 2019, Senate and House Democrats unveiled a bill that would require the Federal Reserve to develop a new real-time payments system for consumers and businesses, putting new pressure on the central bank to act amid opposition from lenders that have built their own network.
Sen. Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.) is introducing the bill with fellow Senate Banking Committee member Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), a leading presidential candidate. Nacha’s government affairs team is hearing that a Democratic House bill will be introduced in the House very soon.
This is likely an effort to give the Fed a nudge toward implementing its own faster payments system. Based on several meetings with Nacha staff, Sen. Van Hollen’s office has been frustrated with how long the Fed has been deliberating whether it should be an operator and offer RTGS.
It’s also interesting that they direct the Fed to operate such a system as a utility and not in line with current cost recovery rules used by the Fed.
Click here for a Fact Sheet on the bill.
Senators Urge Fed Chair Powell for Answers on Real-Time Payments
On July 22, 2019, a bipartisan group from the Senate Banking Committee – Sens. Mark Warner, (D-Va.), Thom Tillis, (R-N.C.), David Perdue, (R-Ga.), Jon Tester, (D-Mont.), and Tom Carper, (D-Del.), sent a letter to Federal Reserve Board Chairman Jerome Powell pressing him to provide answers to several questions prior to any additional action being taken by the Fed in relation to the Fed’s October 2018 RFC on “actions the Federal Reserve could take to support faster payments in the United States”. While the senators remain open to the idea of the Fed looking into the possibility of pursuing a real-time payments system, competing with the private sector, the group questions what benefit this would ultimately provide to consumers and whether the Fed should even be considering entry into the real-time payments space.
FinCEN and Regulators Issue Statement on Anti-Money Laundering Examinations
On July 22, 2019, U.S. Treasury’s Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN), the Federal Reserve, Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, Office of the Comptroller of the Currency and National Credit Union Administration issued a joint statement with the intent to clarify how examinations related to the Bank Secrecy Act are specifically tailored for each bank’s individual risk profile. According to the agencies, “This statement is intended to improve transparency into the risk-focused approach used for planning and performing BSA/AML examinations and does not establish new requirements.”
CFPB Warns Financial Institutions to Stay Vigilant Regarding Elder Financial Scams
On July 17, 2019, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) released an updated advisory regarding scams targeting seniors. The 25-page advisory urges banks to report to the proper government authorities anytime suspicion arises that exploitation of elder account holders is occurring. This most recent advisory is an update on the previously released notice from 2016 that outlined how to identify and respond to senior financial exploitation. According to CFPB Director Kathy Kraninger, senior financial exploitation is becoming an increasing threat, with the possibility of reaching “epidemic” levels “given the aging of the baby boomer generation”. Kraninger stated "The bureau is renewing its efforts to alert banks and credit unions to elder financial exploitation as they are uniquely positioned to detect that an older account holder has been targeted or victimized, and to take action."
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Legislative Calendars for 2019
House 2019 Calendar
Senate 2019 Calendar
As the steward of the ACH Network, Nacha applauds the Federal Reserve Board of Governors’ approval today of the extension of the National Settlement Service operating hours, which is necessary for the expansion of Same Day ACH. With the issuance of the notice today by the Board of Governors, Nacha confirms that the effective date of the expansion of Same Day ACH is March 19, 2021.