WASHINGTON-In letters to key leaders of the House, CUNA supported movement on H.R. 1474, the Check Clearing for the 21st Century Act, to increase efficiencies and lower fees. CUNA President and CEO Dan Mica wrote in the letters to Dennis Hastert (R-Ill.), speaker of the House, and Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), “The proposal would revolutionize the way share drafts and checks are processed by increasing the ability of financial institutions to convert paper checks into electronic checks and to use electronic checks in the check collection/return process. Legislation will increase efficiencies in the payment system and allow existing truncation programs, such as those in credit unions, to coexist.” Mica’s letter pointed out that credit unions have been truncating checks since 1977, when they first were permitted to offer checking accounts. Presently, of the 64% of credit unions that offer checking accounts, 91% truncate. The legislation would allow credit unions to truncate more frequently and earlier in the process. The current system allows credit unions to charge lower fees while the legislation would make room for even lower fees. When instances arise that a member has requested an original, the credit union has been able to provide clear images of the check to help the member. “In fact, the imaging service that credit unions can offer reduces the time it takes to retrieve checks from 2-3 days to making it nearly instantaneous,” Mica wrote. Check truncation also permits credit unions to investigate complaints and resolve disputes faster. The House was tentatively scheduled to vote on the bill Thursday, June 5, shortly after press time.

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