March 24, 2020

Brown Introduces New Legislation To Help Hardworking Americans In The Coronavirus Relief Package


WASHINGTON, D.C. — U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH) – ranking member of the U.S. Senate Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs today introduced legislation that will help hardworking Americans recover from the Coronavirus pandemic. Specifically, Brown called on his colleagues to include his new proposal, which would allow Americans to set up a free bank account that could be used to receive any direct stimulus payments related to coronavirus relief.

“At the height of this pandemic we must do more to protect the financial wellbeing of hardworking Americans and consumers. They are on the front lines of this crisis and are already feeling the effects of the economic fallout. My legislation would allow every American to set up a free bank account so they don’t have to rely on expensive check cashers to access their hard-earned money,” said Senator Brown. I look forward to continuing to negotiate with my colleagues, and urge them to prioritize people over big banks and corporations.” 

Specifically the bill would:

·       Allow everyone to set up a digital dollar wallet, called a “FedAccount,” a free bank account that can be used to receive money, make payments, and take out cash.

·       FedAccounts would be available at local banks and Post Offices.

·       FedAccounts would have no account fees or minimum balance requirements.

·       Account holders would receive debit cards, online account access, automatic bill-pay, mobile banking, and ATM access at Post Offices.

·       FedAccounts can be used to make sure that everyone who is entitled to COVID-19-related relief receives it quickly and inexpensively. That means that people will not have to rely on costly check cashers or other alternative financial services.

Approximately 8.4 million U.S. households, made up of 14.1 million adults and 6.4 million children, were unbanked in 2017, according to the FDIC’s 2017 National Survey of Unbanked and Underbanked Households. An additional 18.7 percent of U.S. households were “underbanked” in 2017, meaning that the household had an account at an insured institution but also obtained financial products or services outside of the banking system. Similar legislation was also included in the House Financial Services Committee’s Coronavirus proposal.