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Bill Intro'd to Help You Move Your Money

October 6, 2011 - by Donny Shaw

As big, taxpayer-supported banks jack up fees on their customers, Rep. Brad Miller [D, NC-13] has introduced legislation to ensure that customers can easily close their accounts and mover their money elsewhere. The bill, titled the Freedom and Mobility in Mobile Banking Act, would require banks to allow customers to close their accounts at any time and help them transfer their direct deposits and automatic bill-pay settings to a new bank.

According to Miller’s press release, here’s what the bill would do, more specifically:

  • Provides consumers the right to close an account at no charge
  • Provides consumers the right to close an account at any time, regardless of whether the balance is positive, zero, or negative
  • Provides consumers the right to close an account in person, by phone, or by other remote means as may be prescribed by regulation

Prohibits abusive fees and charges:

  • Prohibits fees or charges from being assessed to an account after receiving a request to close an account

 Requires banks to take reasonable steps to facilitate account closures:

  • Requires institutions to notify consumers of preauthorized and recurring debits that hit their account for 30 days after a qualified account is closed
  • Requires institutions to remit the balance in a closed account to the customer’s new account electronically if the consumer chooses 

 Prohibits banks from blacklisting consumers for failing to satisfy bank-generated fees assessed to an account at time of closure:

  • Provides that consumers must be given at least 30 days to remit payment for an account that is closed with a negative balance before the institution can initiate any collection activity, or reporting to a third party
  • Provides that where an account is closed with a negative balance that is exclusively the result of overdraft or other fees assessed to the account by the depository institution, the institution may not report the account as delinquent to ChexSystems or any similar specialty consumer reporting service. 
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