Two House Banking Committee Democrats on Wednesday blasted a Federal Reserve Board plan to give banks an extra day to clear local checks.

"In this age of increasing technology we should be exploring ways to decrease, not increase, the amount of time consumers are denied access to their funds," Rep. Henry B. Gonzalez of Texas and Rep. Carolyn B. Maloney of New York wrote in a letter to fellow House members.

The letter was signed by 15 Banking Committee Democrats, and more signatures are expected.

The Fed, as part of an effort to fight fraud, has asked Congress for legislation that would let banks hold local checks for up to three days.

Though the Banking Committee's ranking Democrat has pressed for tougher laws against money laundering, Rep. Gonzalez said the Fed plan would hurt honest customers.

"For many lower- and middle-income customers living from paycheck to paycheck, an extra day without access to their funds can mean paying the rent late or not having enough for groceries or medical prescriptions," he and Rep. Maloney wrote.

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