Lawmakers Float Plans For Consumers'Gains From Check 21

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WASHINGTON - (04/21/05) -- A bipartisan group of lawmakersagreed they favor some kind of legislative or regulatory action toensure that consumers benefit from shorter check clearing timesenabled by the new Check 21 law. Rep. Carolyn Maloney, D-N.Y., tolda panel of the House Financial Services Committee, she hopes togain support for her bill that will shorten check-hold times toallow consumers faster use of funds that they deposit in creditunions and banks with checks. Rep. Joe Baca, R-Calif., said shorterhold times are critical "especially for those who live paycheck topaycheck." But Louise Roseman, director of the Federal Reserve'sdivision of operations and payment systems, told the committee itis far too early, just six months since passage of Check 21, todraw any conclusions on shorter check clearing or to take anyactions to shorten hold times. Only 400,000 checks of the 50million collected by the Fed each business day are being convertedto an electronic image, so far, Roesman testified to the panel."Ongoing improvements in the check-collection system have not yetbeen extensive enough to warrant a reduction in the maximumpermissible check-hold periods, but we will continue to monitordevelopment closely," she told the panel.

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