Six Democratic senators introduced a bill Wednesday meant to prevent financial services companies from discriminating against customers.
The Fair Access to Financial Services Act would make it illegal for any U.S. bank, credit union, investment firm, broker or dealer, insurance company, or lender to reject a customer or limit their access to services based on their race, religion, country of origin, ethnicity, sexual orientation and gender identity.
The measure is spearheaded by Sen. Sherrod BrownSherrod Campbell BrownInternal Democratic poll: Desiree Tims gains on Mike Turner in Ohio House race Senate Democrats call for ramped up Capitol coronavirus testing Dems to focus on issues, not character, at Barrett hearings MORE (Ohio), the top Democrat on the Senate Banking Committee, and Sens. Elizabeth WarrenElizabeth WarrenJustice Department charges Google with illegally maintaining search monopoly Overnight Health Care: Trump takes criticism of Fauci to a new level | GOP Health Committee chairman defends Fauci | Birx confronted Pence about Atlas Senate Democrats call for ramped up Capitol coronavirus testing MORE (Mass.), Bob MenendezRobert (Bob) MenendezWatchdog confirms State Dept. canceled award for journalist who criticized Trump Kasie Hunt to host lead-in show for MSNBC’s ‘Morning Joe’ Senators ask for removal of tariffs on EU food, wine, spirits: report MORE (N.J.), Cory BookerCory Anthony BookerDurbin signals he isn’t interested in chairing Judiciary Committee Booker ‘outs’ Cruz as vegan; Cruz jokingly decries ‘scurrilous attack’ Why Latinos should oppose Barrett confirmation MORE (N.J), Tina SmithTina Flint Smith Senate Democrats call for ramped up Capitol coronavirus testing The Hill’s Campaign Report: Trump faces backlash after not committing to peaceful transition of power Credit union group to spend million on Senate, House races MORE (Minn.) and Chris Van HollenChristopher (Chris) Van Hollen Senate Democrats call for ramped up Capitol coronavirus testing Democratic senators offer bill to make payroll tax deferral optional for federal workers Senators push for Turkey sanctions after reports Ankara used Russian system to detect US-made jets MORE (Md.). All but Booker are members of the Banking panel.
The bill’s sponsors say it is intended to bolster the Civil Rights Act of 1964. That landmark law banned discrimination from public accommodations and businesses engaged in interstate commerce but did not specifically mention the financial services industry.
“Too many Black and brown Americans experience racial profiling and unequal treatment when trying to access services at banks and other financial institutions. Victims of discrimination are not even able to hold financial institutions accountable—it is shameful,” Brown said in a statement.
“It is past time we pass legislation that explicitly outlaws discrimination in our nation’s financial system so that Black and brown people can have complete access to financial services free from harassment.”
The senators leading the bill highlighted several articles from The New York Times, CNN, and The Detroit News that documented alleged cases of racial discrimination by and within banks.
“For far too long, big banks and financial institutions have discriminated against Black and Brown families — denying communities of color the chance to build real economic security. Everyone deserves equal access to our banking system and this bill is a step in the right direction to help root out the systemic racism that has pervaded our financial institutions for decades,” Warren said.
The House version of the bill will be introduced by Democratic Reps. Hank JohnsonHenry (Hank) C. JohnsonFive takeaways as panel grills tech CEOs Lawmakers, public bid farewell to John Lewis Johnson presses Barr on reducing Roger Stone’s recommended sentence MORE (Ga.) and Joyce BeattyJoyce Birdson BeattySharpton, police reform take center stage at National Mall Sanders raised over 0,000 for candidates in Tuesday primaries The Hill’s Campaign Report: Progressives raise expectations ahead of big primary night MORE (Ohio), who chairs the House Financial Services Subcommittee on Diversity and Inclusion.
The measure faces uncertain prospects in the GOP-controlled Senate with less than two weeks until Election Day, but it could become an early priority for Democrats in 2021 if they take control of the White House and flip the Senate.
House Financial Services Committee Chairwoman Maxine WatersMaxine Moore WatersSafeguarding US elections by sanctioning Russian sovereign debt Kamala Harris and the stereotypes we place on Black women OVERNIGHT DEFENSE: Top general negative for coronavirus, Pentagon chief to get tested after Trump result l Top House lawmakers launch investigation into Pentagon redirecting COVID-19 funds MORE (D-Calif.), the first Black lawmaker and woman to hold that position, has focused much of the committee’s work around improving diversity within the financial services industry and bolstering protections against redlining and other forms of discrimination. Waters is closely aligned ideologically with Brown, who would lead the Senate Banking Committee in 2021 if Democrats capture a majority of seats in the upper chamber in November.