Tipton bill would expand rural banking

A bill that sponsors claim would expand banking services to rural Americans has been introduced in the U.S. House.

The measure would allow Americans to use their smartphones to open and manage accounts, said U.S. Rep. Scott Tipton, R-Colo., one of three sponsors of the bill, H.R. 6287. The other two are an Illinois Republican and an Alabama Democrat.

Tipton’s opponent in the November general election noted that the bill was introduced late in the session and is unlikely to go far.

“If you needed to get something done, you might have wanted to start before now,” Democrat Gail Schwartz said Thursday.

The Making Online Banking Initiation Legal and Easy Act of 2016 would clarify federal law and establish a uniform standard of compliance for mobile banking services.

Under the measure, financial institutions could swipe the machine-readable zone on state-issued identification cards, such as driver’s licenses, and store the information for the purposes of verifying the identity of a bank customer.

“There are many families in rural communities across the country who are struggling to achieve financial security because they can’t easily get to a bank to open checking or savings accounts. Smartphones can change this, but we need our laws to catch up to the technology,” Tipton said.

The MOBILE Act has been referred to the House Committee on Financial Services, of which Tipton and the other two sponsors, Randy Hultgren of Illinois and Terri Sewell of Alabama are all members.


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