September 16, 2020

NAFCU's Thaler urges Senate advancement of bill to modernize E-SIGN

capitolAhead of today's Senate Commerce, Science, and Transportation Committee markup of a number of bills, including the E-SIGN Modernization Act of 2020 (S. 4159), NAFCU's Brad Thaler shared the association's support for the legislation. As proposed, the NAFCU-sought legislation would amend the Electronic Signatures in Global and National Commerce (E-SIGN) Act so that it reflects technological advancements and consumer preferences, as well as reduces burdens on financial institutions.

"The E-SIGN Modernization Act of 2020 addresses a simple but important problem with the E-SIGN Act—it leads to federal law preferencing paperbased processes over equivalent digital options that are beneficial at times of disruption," wrote Thaler, NAFCU's vice president of legislative affairs. "Members who request to engage digitally with credit unions through services, such as online banking, must jump through additional hoops that are not required when they choose paper-based processes delivered through arguably less-efficient methods, such as the mail."

In the letter, Thaler highlighted recent challenges exacerbated by the coronavirus pandemic, sharing that more than 90 percent of NAFCU member credit unions have noted challenges in getting documents signed while adhering to social distancing protocols.

In light of the pandemic, NAFCU previously urged the CFPB to modernize electronic disclosure and signature-related provisions of all its regulations, and also recommended legislative amendments to update the E-SIGN Act. 

The association has also provided recommendations for the bureau's Taskforce on Consumer Financial Law "to alleviate regulatory burdens, improve access for consumers, and mitigate ambiguities," including by addressing credit unions' e-sign concerns.

NAFCU will monitor the bill as it moves through the Senate and continue to work with Congress and the CFPB to modernize outdated provisions of the E-SIGN Act.