H.R.4490 - First Accounts Act of 2000106th Congress (1999-2000)
|Sponsor:||Rep. LaFalce, John J. [D-NY-29] (Introduced 05/18/2000)|
|Committees:||House - Banking and Financial Services|
|Latest Action:||House - 06/27/2000 Committee Hearings Held. (All Actions)|
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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>