House Financial Services Committee advances a series of bills out of markup session

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The House Financial Services Committee prepared a series of bills in a markup session last week that focus on financial technology, money laundering and illicit finance, job creation, and investor and consumer protections.

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They also advanced two resolutions to create task forces on financial technology and artificial intelligence.

One of the bills the committee passed out of the markup session was the Expanding Access to Capital for Rural Job Creators Act (HR 2409), which would require the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) to identify unique challenges rural small businesses face in securing capital. This bill, introduced by Reps. Cindy Axne (D-IA) and Alex Mooney (R-WV), would require the SEC to describe the most serious issues that these businesses and their investors face in its annual report to Congress. It passed by voice vote.

Another bill that advanced out of the session was the Coordinating Oversight, Upgrading and Innovating Technology, and Examiner Reform Act (HR 2514). This legislation – introduced by Reps. Emanuel Cleaver (D-MO) and Steve Stivers (R-OH) – would close loopholes in the Bank Secrecy Act, increases penalties for those who break the law, and helps provide financial institutions with tools to fulfill their oversight obligations. It passed by a vote of 55-0.

The committee also advanced the Insider Trading Prohibition Act (HR 2534), introduced by Rep. Jim Himes (D-CT). This bill, approved by voice vote, would create a clear definition of illegal insider trading under securities laws so that there is a codified, consistent standard for courts and participants in financial markets. It is also designed to better consumers.

Also, the committee approved the Whistleblower Protection Reform Act (HR 2515), which would expand whistleblower protections. Specifically, it would amend the Dodd-Frank to clarify that whistleblowers who report misconduct to their employers and not to the SEC also have protections against retaliation. The bill, approved by voice vote, was introduced by Reps. Al Green (D-TX) and Bill Huizenga (R-MI).

Finally, the committee advanced the Protect Affordable Mortgages for Veterans Act of 2019 (HR 1988). This bill would ensure that certain U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) loans, which were inadvertently made ineligible for securitization by Ginnie Mae, are made eligible. This bill, approved by voice vote, was introduced by Reps. David Scott (D-GA) and Lee Zeldin (R-NY).

Also, the committee postponed further consideration of Corporate Transparency Act of 2019 (H.R. 2513), introduced by Reps. Carolyn Maloney (D-NY) and Peter King (R-NY), until the next full Committee markup.

The committee also passed two resolutions. One is to establish a Task Force on Financial Technology, which will examine the current legal framework for fintech, how fintech is used in lending and how consumers engage with fintech. Rep. Stephen Lynch (D-MA) will chair this task force.

The other established a Task Force on Artificial Intelligence, which will examine the impact of automation and machine learning and how consumers, and companies, can use AI to improve their lives. Rep. Bill Foster (D-IL) will chair this task force.

American Bankers Association President and CEO Rob Nichols thanked committee members for their efforts to improve the Anti-Money Laundering/Bank Secrecy Act compliance framework and approving the COUNTER Act of 2019.

“This important bipartisan legislation approved by the committee today would allow banks and law enforcement to better share information and assist in our mutual goal of preventing bad actors from accessing the banking system,” Nichols said. “We appreciate the committee’s engagement on these issues, and urge lawmakers to continue to advance legislation sponsored by Chairwoman Maloney that would require corporations and limited liability companies to self-report beneficial owners to FinCEN, a long overdue measure that would bring the U.S. in line with other countries and improve oversight.”

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