WASHINGTON-The House passed a bill November 6 to create a computerized network linking the anti-fraud databases of the nation’s financial regulators and law enforcement agencies. The Financial Services Antifraud Network Act (H.R. 1408), sponsored by ex-FBI agent and Congressman Mike Rogers (R-Mich.), passed overwhelmingly by a vote of 392 to 4. At the local, state and federal levels over 250 different agencies are tasked with regulating banks, securities firms and insurance companies with little to no coordination among them. The bill also directs state-related organizations, including NASCUS, to develop model guidelines for regulators to promote uniform standards for information sharing. Financial Services Committee Chairman Michael G. Oxley (R-Ohio) called the bill “a common sense, low-cost solution that will bring the regulatory architecture into line with the modernized era of financial services.” This legislation has taken on even greater urgency since the terrorist attacks of September 11. The networking capabilities will open up lines of communication without any new collection of information, without the creation of any new databases and without sharing consumer information. It’s estimated that financial fraud costs the industry $100 billion each year, most of which is passed on to consumers through higher prices.

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