WASHINGTON The House passed a bill Tuesday to study the effects of a Federal Reserve Board rule restricting the number of transactions customers can make with their savings accounts each month.
The Fed's Regulation D, which is intended to manage the nation's money supply, requires banks to hold reserves against certain types of deposits. But it also limits depositors to six online transfers or automatic withdrawals per month for non-transaction accounts.
With online banking becoming more dominant, the legislation would require the Government Accountability Office to examine the regulation's effects. Proponents of the bill say the restrictions can make customers liable to surprise fees for going over the transaction limit, including overdraft fees that can arise when a depositor links a savings and checking account.
"The regulators who created this rule never envisioned online banking and modern banking technology," said Rep. Robert Pittenger, R-N.C., who introduced the bill. "As technology advances, we need to make sure federal regulations keep pace. We can continue to protect the financial system while allowing families more flexibility to use online banking tools."
The legislation would require the study to include a history of how the Fed has used the rule as part of its monetary policy, what impact it has had on consumers and what alternatives might be available that would serve a similar function for the central bank. The House voted 422-0 in favor of the bill.