Sen. Cramer Introduces Fair Access to Banking Act

Feb 17, 2023Congressional Legislation, News

U.S. Senator Kevin Cramer (R-N.D.) recently introduced the Fair Access to Banking Act, which would prohibit financial institutions from limiting or denying services to certain industries. Banks would instead be required to base their decisions on unbiased, individualized risk-based analysis that can be measured with quantifiable standards.

“There is no place in our society for discrimination, and big banks and financial institutions are no exception,” said Cramer in a press release. “Our bill imposes serious consequences for discriminatory decisions or de facto bans of legal industries.”

The bill would punish banks and credit unions with assets of $10 billion or more if they refuse to do business with a qualified person or business. It would also prevent payment card networks from discriminating against a legally-compliant person for political or reputational reasons, and would systematize the requirements of the Trump administration’s Fair Access Final Rule.

Under the bill, banks would be required to provide written reasoning as to why they denied a person financial services. If institutions failed to comply, they would be disqualified from using discount window lending programs, have their  status terminated as an insured credit union or insured depository institution, or pay a fine of up to $10,000.

Banks would also not be allowed to restrict working with certain firearms companies and munitions. Cramer cited examples of banks refusing financing for coal plants or oil and gas drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, as well as banks including “ammunitions, firearms, or firearm parts” in the prohibited payments section of their policies.

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