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WASHINGTON-Credit unions helped push through two key pieces of legislation dealing with financial services this year: the Fair and Accurate Credit Transactions Act (H.R. 2622) and the Check Truncation Act (H.R. 1474). The FACT Act was signed into law earlier this month. It renews the expiring Fair Credit Reporting Act federal preemptions that were set to expire Jan. 1. In addition, the law provides for additional identity theft protections for consumers. The bill was held up in the Senate for some time while compromises were worked out with the California delegation to get a vote on tougher privacy provisions, such as those passed by the California legislature earlier this year. President George W. Bush also signed the credit union-supported Check 21 legislation into law. The law will allow credit unions to truncate share drafts, sending them electronically, earlier in the process than previously permitted and more often for increased cost savings. Banks for the first time will be able to truncate checks; they previously were required to present the paper checks. This became a problem after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, which grounded planes for days.

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