Text: H.R.4490 — 106th Congress (1999-2000)All Information (Except Text)

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Introduced in House (05/18/2000)

 
[Congressional Bills 106th Congress]
[From the U.S. Government Printing Office]
[H.R. 4490 Introduced in House (IH)]







106th CONGRESS
  2d Session
                                H. R. 4490

  To establish a program to promote access to financial services, in 
particular for low- and moderate-income persons who lack access to such 
                   services, and for other purposes.


_______________________________________________________________________


                    IN THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES

                              May 18, 2000

     Mr. LaFalce (for himself, Mr. Leach, Ms. Waters, Mr. Frank of 
Massachusetts, Mr. Vento, Mr. Kanjorski, Mrs. Maloney of New York, Mr. 
Sanders, Mr. Gutierrez, Mr. Bentsen, Ms. Hooley of Oregon, Ms. Carson, 
Ms. Lee, Mr. Mascara, Mr. Inslee, Mrs. Jones of Ohio, Mr. Gonzalez, Mr. 
 Capuano, Mr. Frost, Ms. Roybal-Allard, Ms. Rivers, Mr. Jefferson, Ms. 
   Millender-McDonald, Mr. Hinchey, and Mr. Weygand) introduced the 
  following bill; which was referred to the Committee on Banking and 
                           Financial Services

_______________________________________________________________________

                                 A BILL


 
  To establish a program to promote access to financial services, in 
particular for low- and moderate-income persons who lack access to such 
                   services, and for other purposes.

    Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the 
United States of America in Congress assembled,

SECTION 1. SHORT TITLE.

    This Act may be cited as the ``First Accounts Act of 2000''.

SEC. 2. FINDINGS AND PURPOSE.

    (a) Findings.--The Congress finds as follows:
            (1) Many low- and moderate-income persons lack adequate 
        access to basic financial services, such as a low-cost 
        transaction or savings account at a federally insured 
        depository institution.
            (2) The lack of such basic financial services increases 
        costs for such persons, reduces their ability to manage their 
        finances and to save and plan for the future, and limits their 
        access to other financial products, such as credit cards, home 
        mortgages, or automobile loans.
            (3) Existing products and services may not be adequate to 
        meet the needs of low- and moderate-income persons for 
        financial services, such persons may be inadequately informed 
        about financial issues, and depository institutions may have 
        insufficient information about such persons to develop suitable 
        products for them.
            (4) Increasing access to basic financial services will 
        require research and development, incentives to provide basic 
        accounts and increase access to financial services, and 
        consumer and depository institution education.
    (b) Purpose.--The primary purpose of this Act is to create a 
program to promote access to financial services, in particular for low- 
and moderate-income persons who lack access to such services, including 
low- and moderate-income persons who do not receive Federal benefits.

SEC. 3. DEFINITIONS.

    For purposes of this Act, the following definitions shall apply:
            (1) Community partner.--The term ``community partner'' 
        means a nonprofit organization, State or local government 
        agency, quasi-governmental entity, or community development 
        financial institution (as defined in section 103(5) of the 
        Community Development and Financial Institutions Act of 1994) 
        that provides education to low- and moderate-income persons 
        regarding financial services, or develops or provides financial 
        services for low- and moderate-income persons or otherwise 
        facilitates the provision of financial services to such 
        persons.
            (2) Depository institution.--The term ``depository 
        institution'' means--
                    (A) any insured depository institution (as defined 
                in section 3(c) of the Federal Deposit Insurance Act); 
                and
                    (B) any insured credit union (as defined in section 
                101(7) of the Federal Credit Union Act).
            (3) Financial services electronic network.--The term 
        ``financial services electronic network'' means an organization 
        or entity that provides electronic access to an individual's 
        account at a depository institution, including an automated 
        teller machine network, point-of-sale network, and a provider 
        of such services through the Internet.
            (4) Indian reservation.--The term ``Indian reservation'' 
        has the same meaning as in section 4(10) of the Indian Child 
        Welfare Act of 1978 and, to the extent not already included, 
        shall include lands held by incorporated Native groups, 
        regional corporations, and village corporations, as defined in 
        or established pursuant to the Alaska Native Claims Settlement 
        Act; public domain Indian allotments; and former Indian 
        reservations in the State of Oklahoma.
            (5) Low- and moderate-income.--The term ``low- and 
        moderate-income'' means a family income that does not exceed--
                    (A) for nonmetropolitan areas, 80 percent of the 
                statewide median family income; or
                    (B) for metropolitan areas, 80 percent of the 
                greater of statewide median family income or 
                metropolitan area median family income.
            (6) Secretary.--The term ``Secretary'' means the Secretary 
        of the Treasury.
            (7) Service area.--
                    (A) In general.--The term ``service area'' means--
                            (i) any population census tract for which 
                        the poverty rate is 20 percent or greater, 
                        based on the most recent census data;
                            (ii) any population census tract--
                                    (I) which is not located within a 
                                metropolitan area; and
                                    (II) for which the median family 
                                income does not exceed 80 percent of 
                                statewide median family income;
                            (iii) any population census tract--
                                    (I) which is located within a 
                                metropolitan area; and
                                    (II) for which the median family 
                                income does not exceed 80 percent of 
                                the greater of statewide median family 
                                income or the metropolitan area median 
                                family income;
                            (iv) an Indian reservation; and
                            (v) any other area that has significant 
                        unmet needs for financial services, as may be 
                        determined by the Secretary.
                    (B) Application in absence of population census 
                tracts.--In the case of an area that is not tracted for 
                population census tracts, the equivalent county 
                divisions (as defined by the Bureau of the Census for 
                purposes of defining poverty areas) shall be used in 
                lieu of population census tract for purposes of clauses 
                (i), (ii), and (iii) of subparagraph (A) and in 
                determining poverty rates and median family income for 
                purposes of such clauses.
            (8) Service population.--The term ``service population'' 
        means individuals, or a group of individuals, who are low- or 
        moderate-income, or who otherwise lack adequate access to 
        financial services, as may be determined by the Secretary.

SEC. 4. ESTABLISHMENT OF A PROGRAM FOR EXPANSION OF FINANCIAL SERVICES 
              TO THE UNDERSERVED.

    The Secretary of the Treasury shall establish a program to support 
and promote--
            (1) the expansion of access to financial services, in 
        particular for low- and moderate-income persons who lack access 
        to such services, and for other purposes;
            (2) the development of new financial products and services 
        that are adequate to meet the needs of low- and moderate-income 
        persons for financial services;
            (3) the education for both low- and moderate-income persons 
        and depository institutions concerning the availability and use 
        of financial services for and by such persons; and
            (4) such other activities and projects the Secretary may 
        determine are consistent with the purposes of this Act.

SEC. 5. POWERS AND AUTHORITIES OF THE SECRETARY.

    (a) In General.--In carrying out the program established pursuant 
to section 4, the Secretary may make or enter into grants, cooperative 
agreements, and contracts, and designate depository institutions as 
financial agents of the Treasury, to provide for technical assistance, 
education, training, or financial services, to further the purposes of 
this Act.
    (b) Specific Powers.--The powers of the Secretary under this Act 
shall include the following:
            (1) Financial services.--The Secretary may promote access 
        to financial services by providing financial and technical 
        assistance to depository institutions for providing low-cost 
        financial services, including--
                    (A) electronic transaction accounts;
                    (B) savings accounts; and
                    (C) other financial services deemed appropriate by 
                the Secretary to meet the needs of service areas or 
                service populations.
            (2) Distribution.--The Secretary may promote access to 
        financial services by providing financial and technical 
        assistance to depository institutions, financial services 
        electronic networks, or community partners for expanding the 
        distribution of financial services to service areas or service 
        populations, including through financial services electronic 
        networks.
            (3) Education.--The Secretary may promote access to 
        financial services by--
                    (A) providing financial education to service areas 
                or service populations;
                    (B) providing technical assistance or training to 
                or by depository institutions or community partners; 
                and
                    (C) otherwise promoting financial services to or by 
                service areas, service populations, depository 
                institutions, or community partners.
            (4) Research and development.--The Secretary may conduct or 
        support such research and development as the Secretary 
        considers appropriate in order to further the purposes of this 
        Act, including the collection of information about access to 
        financial services.
    (c) Selection Criteria.--
            (1) In general.--In selecting any depository institution, 
        community partner, or financial services electronic network as 
        a recipient of a grant or other financial assistance under this 
        Act, the Secretary shall consider the following criteria:
                    (A) The likelihood of success of the depository 
                institution, community partner, or financial services 
                electronic network in achieving the purpose of the 
                grant or assistance and carrying out the purposes of 
                this Act.
                    (B) The experience of the depository institution, 
                community partner, or financial services electronic 
                network in undertaking activities similar to the 
                activities to be funded or supported by the proceeds of 
                the grant or other financial assistance.
                    (C) Such other factors, including management, and 
                performance criteria, as the Secretary may determine to 
                be appropriate.
            (2) Publication of criteria.--The Secretary shall publish 
        the selection criteria established pursuant to paragraph (1) in 
        the Federal Register.
    (d) Terms and Conditions.--
            (1) In general.--Before providing any assistance under this 
        Act, the Secretary and each entity to be assisted shall enter 
        into an agreement that requires such entity to comply with 
        performance goals and abide by other terms and conditions as 
        determined by the Secretary.
            (2) Remedial terms and conditions.--The agreement shall 
        provide that, in the event of fraud, mismanagement, or 
        noncompliance with the terms of the agreement, the Secretary 
        shall have discretion to--
                    (A) require changes to the performance goals;
                    (B) terminate the agreement or reduce assistance 
                under the agreement;
                    (C) require repayment of assistance;
                    (D) bar an entity from reapplying under the 
                program; or
                    (E) take such other action as the Secretary deems 
                appropriate.
    (e) Finality of Decisions.--Any determination, including the 
selection of recipients of grants and other financial assistance, under 
this Act shall be made in the sole discretion of the Secretary and 
shall be final.
    (f) Regulations.--The Secretary may prescribe such regulations and 
procedures as the Secretary determines to be appropriate to carry out 
the program and the purposes of this Act.

SEC. 6. REPORTS.

    The Secretary shall submit a report to the Congress by the end of 
the 2-year period beginning on the date of the enactment of this Act, 
and annually thereafter, containing--
            (1) a detailed description of the operation of the program 
        established under section 4;
            (2) the findings and conclusions of the Secretary on the 
        extent to which the program is meeting the purposes of this Act 
        and the goals of the Secretary in establishing the program; and
            (3) such recommendations for legislative or administrative 
        action as the Secretary may consider to be appropriate.

SEC. 7. AUTHORIZATION OF APPROPRIATIONS.

    (a) In General.--To carry out this Act, there are authorized to be 
appropriated to the Secretary, to remain available until expended--
            (1) $30,000,000 in fiscal year 2001; and
            (2) such sums as may be necessary to carry out this Act in 
        each of fiscal years 2002 through 2005.
    (b) Administrative Expenses.--Of amounts appropriated to the 
Secretary, not more than $3,000,000 may be used in any fiscal year to 
pay the administrative costs and expenses of the program. Costs 
associated with research and development, training, technical 
assistance, and education shall not be considered to be administrative 
expenses for purposes of this subsection.
                                 <all>