The "Financial Consumer Hotline Act of 2007" (HR 4332), legislation that would establish a single, toll-free telephone number consumers can call if they have a problem with their bank and want to speak to the bank's federal regulator, has passed the U.S. House of Representatives. Congresswoman Carolyn B. Maloney (D-NY), Chair of the Financial Institutions and Consumer Credit Subcommittee, introduced the bill in December because a number of different governing bodies currently regulate banks, which can make it difficult for consumers to figure out who they should contact with concerns and complaints. Rep. Maloney's bill would also establish a corresponding informational website for consumers.
"Most consumers have no idea who regulates their local bank," said Rep. Maloney. "If they have a problem and want to talk with someone, it's confusing to even know where to begin. One toll-free number will cut down on the confusion and help put consumers in quicker contact with the appropriate regulator who can help them. I want to thank Chairman [Barney] Frank for his support in helping to move this bill forward."
Rep. Maloney's bill would amend the "Federal Financial Institutions Examination Council Act of 1978," and direct the Federal Financial Institutions Examination Council (FFIEC), a formal interagency body empowered to prescribe uniform principles and standards for financial institutions, to set up the toll-free number and Website. The Federal Reserve, the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC), the National Credit Union Administration (NCUA), the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC), and the Office of Thrift Supervision (OTS) are the various governing bodies charged with regulating banks, credit unions, and other financial institutions.
Financial Services Chairman Barney Frank (D-MA) and Financial Institutions and Consumer Credit Subcommittee Ranking Member Judy Biggert (R-IL) are both co-sponsors of HR 4332. Other co-sponsors include Reps. Ginny Brown-Waite (R-FL), Al Green (D-TX), George Miller (D-CA), Maxine Waters (D-CA), and Robert Wexler (D-FL).
For more information on HR 4332, click here.