Rep. Turner introduces bill to block banks for eliminating paper statements

U.S. Rep. Mike Turner (R-OH) introduced a bill in the House last week that would prohibit banks from forcing customers to use electronic bank statements instead of paper statements.

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His bill, the Protecting Against Paperless and Electronic Requirements (PAPER) Act, would do two things. It would require that banks give customers the option to receive paper statements and prohibit banks from withholding paper services unless customers switch to all digital statements.

“Our country’s financial institutions have an obligation to ensure that Americans can reasonably utilize the banking services they need, and this legislation guarantees that individuals are still able to obtain paper bank statements,” Turner said. “For America’s senior citizens or those living in rural or underserved communities across the United States, online banking is not a viable alternative to paper billing, and the ultimatum of losing one’s account runs counter to the principles of economic freedom that we hold dear. The PAPER Act would bar institutions from restricting their services and make certain that all Americans can participate in our banking system, regardless of their ability to connect to the internet.”

The introduction of this legislation follows reports that some banks have forced customers to go fully digital. Turner cited Citibank, which announced a new pilot program where customers were forced to relinquish paper statements in order to maintain access to their online bank accounts. Turner said this policy would disenfranchise many senior citizens and individuals who do not have reliable access to the internet.

The congressman pointed out that only one in five American households are without internet access. The PAPER Act would ensure that Americans are able to access their banking records, regardless of geographic realities or socioeconomic status.