Thank you, Mr. Chairman. I want to commend you and Senator Sarbanes for putting together such a distinguished panel. I also want to thank our panelists for taking the time to meet with us.
Several days ago I had the pleasure of meeting with a small group of community bankers from New York, and we discussed this check truncation proposal. These individuals represented community banks who, as we all know, have a strong dependence on the support and patronage of the individuals and businesses in their area. Efficiency is important, but doing the right thing to maintain the customer relationship is critical.
These bankers support the Fed's proposal on check truncation. Many have already moved to electronic statements in their operations. They told me that not a single customer had objected to the modernization of the banking processes.
I have long been an advocate of consumer protection in our banking systems. To me, the consumers can be the real beneficiaries if we decide to make this change. While there are no guarantees in this proposed legislation, experience tells us that lower operating costs enable businesses to offer lower costs or better services to their customers. Things like broader deposit options, later deposit cutoff hours, more timely access to account information, and faster deposit clearance. If one bank doesn't do it, another will. That is the nature of our market system. And in the end the consumer wins.
"The check is in the mail," is an old expression. Today, despite tremendous advances in data systems, networks, and technology, the check is still in the mail. It is time we updated our banking processes so that the check doesn't have to be in the mail for banks.
The Federal Reserve has provided a thoughtful proposal. There is some work to be done to ensure that the interests of consumers and bankers are safeguarded and balanced. And much progress has already been made. But it is time we moved forward with this legislation.
Thank you Mr. Chairman.