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Bipartisan Financial Services Bills Earn Overwhelming House Approval

Washington, December 2, 2014 - The House today voted to approve several strongly bipartisan bills designed to help consumers manage their bank accounts, help investors make better informed decisions and lessen regulatory burdens on small companies seeking investments.

The bills, many of which had previously attracted solid bipartisan support in the House Financial Services Committee, are common sense steps to promote job creation, said Chairman Jeb Hensarling (R-TX).

“Incomprehensible Washington regulations complicate the lives of consumers, make investors less willing to invest, and deny small businesses access to investments that create jobs.  The House is once again taking bipartisan action to eliminate costly, outdated and unnecessary red tape and now the Senate needs to do the same.  The Senate has become a graveyard for good ideas that are overwhelmingly supported by Republicans and Democrats and that can help create good jobs.  It’s well past time for the Senate’s obstruction to end,” said Chairman Hensarling.

The House approved the following bipartisan bills today:

H.R. 3240, the Regulation D Study Act sponsored by Rep. Robert Pittenger (R-NC), is designed to help consumers manage their personal finances.  Regulation D is an early 1980s-era policy that limits consumers to six remote transfers between their checking and savings accounts per month.  The bill directs the Government Accountability Office to make recommendations to Congress about updating banking regulations to reflect modern technology such as online banking and ATMs.  The bill was approved 422-0.

H.R. 4569, the Disclosure Modernization and Simplification Act, sponsored by Rep. Scott Garrett (R-NJ).  This bipartisan bill will help investors navigate lengthy and confusing company disclosures by allowing public companies to submit a summary page of all material information included in annual Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) filings.  The bill directs the SEC to also simplify financial reporting requirements for small and emerging growth companies.  Doing so would reduce unnecessary impediments for small businesses seeking investment capital and also lessen the “disclosure overload” that overwhelms investors and makes it more difficult for them to locate relevant information about public companies.  The House passed the bill by voice vote.

H.R. 4200, the Small Business Investment Companies Advisers Relief Act, sponsored by Rep. Blaine Luetkemeyer (R-MO).  H.R. 4200 amends the Investment Advisers Act of 1940 to reduce unnecessary regulatory costs and eliminate duplicative regulation of advisers to Small Business Investment Companies, which are professionally-managed investment funds that finance small businesses.  Freeing up money that currently goes toward fees and duplicative regulatory compliance will allow more funds to flow directly to job-creating small businesses.  The bill passed the House by voice vote.

H.R. 5471 sponsored by Rep. Gwen Moore (D-WI) clarifies the Dodd-Frank Act’s treatment of affiliates of non-financial firms that use a central treasury unit (CTU) as a risk-reducing, best practice to centralize and net the hedging needs of affiliates.   Without a clear legislative exemption, non-financial companies may either have to eliminate the CTU function, be subjected to increased regulatory costs, or retain more risk on their balance sheets and pass along that risk to customers in the form of higher prices.  H.R. 5471 would enable non-financial companies with affiliates to continue employing best practices to manage internal and external trading in order to mitigate risk within a commercial entity.  The bill was approved by voice vote.

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