Senator Brown Pushes Digital Bank Accounts for Unbanked Households to Facilitate Coronavirus Relief

Apr 7, 2020Congressional Legislation, News

In order to help non-banked consumers more easily access the coronavirus relief funds recently passed by Congress and signed into law, Senator Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio) recently proposed legislation that would require banks to offer free digital accounts for consumers without bank accounts.

Congress and the Trump administration have decided to send coronavirus relief payments to many Americans in the form of checks. However, Senator Brown’s “FedAccount” digital wallet would support the expedient and inexpensive collection of relief money.

“My legislation would allow every American to set up a free bank account so they don’t have to rely on expensive check cashers to access their hard-earned money,” said Senator Brown, as reported in American Banker.

According to a 2017 FDIC report, there are about 8.4 million unbanked U.S. households.

Brown’s proposed accounts would have no fees or minimum balance requirements. FedAccount holders would also receive many of the same benefits as traditional bank account holders, including debit cards, automatic bill-pay, online account and ATM access, and mobile banking.

The Federal Reserve would be responsible for overseeing the program, and banks with less than $10 billion in assets would be reimbursed quarterly by their Federal Reserve Bank for operational costs. Under the legislation, FedAccounts would be opened at local banks and post offices.

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