A Treasury Department proposal to extend money-laundering rules to nonbank financial institutions unfairly singles out check-cashers, a representative of that industry told lawmakers Wednesday.

"While we must train our employees and develop compliance plans, our major competitors would be exempt from such activities, giving them a competitive edge in the marketplace," Jerome Gagerman, an executive with the National Check Cashers Association, told House Banking's general oversight subcommittee.

The proposal would require money transmitters to: register with Treasury; report funds transfers outside the United States exceeding $750; and report suspicious transactions above $500.

Mr. Gagerman said the proposed rules, issued in May, would not apply to liquor, grocery, and convenience stores, all of which compete with check cashers.

Rep. Spencer Bachus, who chairs the panel, said he called the hearing to ensure that Treasury does not place unnecessary regulatory burdens on businesses.

"We certainly do not need new rules that punish honest businesses and drive up costs for law-abiding Americans," the Alabama Republican said.

Commercial banks are already required to report suspicious transactions. They also must report all currency transactions exceeding $10,000.

The comment period on the Treasury plan has been extended to Sept. 30.

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