The American Bankers Association next week will ask the federal government to eliminate regulatory obstacles to all-electronic accounts.
In a letter scheduled to be sent Monday to the Federal Reserve Board and the Treasury Department, the ABA plans to promote low-cost, paperless accounts that do not issue checks or mail monthly statements. Customers instead would use debit cards and check their balances at automated teller machines or by telephone.
"All the existing regulations were made for paper-based transaction systems," said William H. Phillips, the ABA's director of policy development. "We are asking them to review the regulations that apply, with an eye toward reducing some of the requirements."
One of the principal barriers to these accounts is the Fed's Regulation E, which requires institutions to send periodic account statements by mail, Mr. Phillips said. Also, banks would like to get Community Reinvestment Act credit for offering inexpensive electronic accounts to low-income customers.
The ABA is making the request now because the Treasury is required to send all government payments except tax refunds electronically by 1999, said Mr. Phillips.