Tuesday | December 5, 2017

Scott Votes in Support of Major Bipartisan Legislation to Help Local Economic Growth

Bill includes Scott amendments to help low-income and underbanked families

Washington – This afternoon, the U.S. Senate Committee on Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs passed major bipartisan financial legislation, the Economic Growth, Regulatory Relief and Consumer Protection Act, including two amendments introduced by U.S. Senator Tim Scott (R-SC). Scott’s amendments are the bipartisan Family Self-Sufficiency Act, which will help families living in public housing build their savings and increase their earnings, as well as the bipartisan MOBILE Act, which makes it easier for poor and minority Americans to open a bank account instead of relying on payday lenders and pawnbrokers.

“I was proud to work with Chairman Crapo and my colleagues on the Banking Committee to pass this important bipartisan legislation, including my two amendments,” Scott said. “Both the Family Self-Sufficiency Act and the MOBILE Act will help hardworking Americans gain a foothold in our financial system, be it through simply being able to open a bank account or more efficiently growing their savings account.”

Scott continued, “The Economic Growth, Regulatory Relief and Consumer Protection Act as a whole is a huge step forward for economic growth and job creation. Too many local communities are being held back by burdensome regulations on small financial institutions, and by providing regulatory relief we can help create jobs and stimulate growth. Community banks are often an invaluable tool for small businesses and local entrepreneurs, and it is critical we provide an environment where they can succeed. I’m also pleased we developed important provisions protecting veterans, consumers and homeowners. I look forward to the entire Senate voting on this commonsense, bipartisan legislation!”

The committee passed the Economic Growth, Regulatory Relief and Consumer Protection Act by a vote of 16-7 this afternoon. Scott is an original cosponsor of this bipartisan legislation, which, as the Banking Committee notes, right-sizes regulation for smaller financial institutions, encourages growth in local communities, and includes important consumer protections for veterans, senior citizens and victims of fraud. A section by section summary of the bill can be found here.

Scott’s first amendment, the Family Self-Sufficiency Act, originally introduced this past June by a bipartisan group of Senators including Scott, would streamline and improve the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development's Family Self-Sufficiency (FSS) program. Specifically, it would:

  • Improve the FSS program by permanently streamlining the Housing Choice Voucher-FSS and Public Housing-FSS into one program, which would relieve public housing agencies of the unnecessary burden of running two separate programs that share the same goal
  • Broaden the scope of the supportive services that may be offered to include attainment of a GED, education in pursuit of a post-secondary degree or certification, homeownership assistance, and training in asset management
  • Expand the reach of the FSS program to more families that may be excluded due to a technicality related to the kind of housing assistance a family receives. The bill would authorize HUD to open up the FSS program to families that live in privately-owned properties subsidized with project-based rental assistance.

Scott’s second amendment, the Making Online Banking Initiation Legal and Easy (MOBILE) Act, addresses the fact that current laws in regard to identity verification have not kept up with the changing technologies of the Internet era. This amendment would allow banks and credit unions to use a scan or picture of a driver’s license to verify a customer’s identification when they open an account online. It also specifically stipulates the image must be destroyed after the account is created in order to protect privacy. Approximately 16 million adults live in households without a checking or savings account and an additional 51 million adults live in households that have a bank account but rely on nonbank lenders like payday lenders and pawnbrokers with sky-high interest rates. However, about 90 percent of underbanked adults own a mobile phone, of which 75 percent are smartphones. The MOBILE Act can connect these Americans to legitimate financial institutions and deter them from payday lenders and pawnbrokers. It is supported by the South Carolina Bankers Association, the Carolinas Credit Union League, Independent Banks of South Carolina, the American Bankers Association Consumer Bankers Association, Credit Union National Association, and the Financial Services Roundtable.

Related Issues:  Banking