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WASHINGTON- The House of Representatives Oct. 8, unanimously approved the conference report on the check truncation legislation. H.R. 1474, the Check Clearing for the 21st Century Act, was approved by the House by voice vote. The legislation permits financial institutions to exchange checks electronically. Banks are currently required to present hard copies of checks, while credit unions have been able to truncate checks for decades. However, H.R. 1474 will allow credit unions to truncate earlier in the process and more often for greater cost savings. CUNA and NAFCU have thrown their support behind the bill. The Senate is expected to take up H.R. 1474 before it adjourns for the session. The legislation had passed out of the conference committee the evening of Oct. 1. The major sticking point in the conference had been a conflict between the Federal Reserve and AirNet Systems Inc.-a check transportation company based in House Financial Services Committee Chairman Mike Oxley’s (R-Ohio) home state-in which the company wanted the Fed to disclose more of its check transportation expenses citing a competitive disadvantage. The compromise requires the Fed to disclose transport costs related to commercial checks in its annual report for the next 10 years, according to the conference report. The bill will be effective one year after being signed into law. NAFCU Director of Legislative and Political Affairs Brad Thaler commented, “We expect to get that approved and to the president to sign. All indications are there should not be anymore hurdles in the way now that the issues have been worked out in conference.” Prior to the House approval, NAFCU sent a letter to Speaker of the House Dennis Hastert (R-Ill.) and Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist (R-Tenn.), and other congressional leaders, urging quick passage of the law. Earlier in the session, CUNA had a representative testify before the House Financial Services and Senate Banking Committees.

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