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ABA: The American Bankers Association

Comparative State Law Charts

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ABA is your one-stop resource for banking legislation information from each of the 50 states and the District of Columbia. Stay up to date with customized issue reports, annual wrap-ups of major state banking legislation, and regularly scheduled legislative telephone briefings.

ATMs

Automated Teller Machines (ATMs) provide consumers with easy access to their accounts and remain one of the top methods for customers to interface with their bank. As customer trends shift away from bank branches, ATMs will offer customers additional opportunities to access banking services. However, ATMs also remain a prime target for criminals. Whether the criminals attempt to breach the machine through physical means or through malware infections, banks must remain knowledgeable about the evolving threats to ATM security in their region. ABA tracks state laws related to ATMs including the placement of ATMs, security requirements, accessibility and fees.

Learn more about ATM Security

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Cannabis

Thirty-three states and the District of Columbia have authorized usage of marijuana for medical or adult-use purposes. However, federal law still makes possession and use of marijuana illegal.  All banks are subject to federal law, whether the bank is a national bank or state-chartered bank.  At a minimum, all banks maintain federal deposit insurance which requires adherence to federal law. And, all banks must have access to the payment system which also is subject to federal jurisdiction. Violation of federal law could subject a bank to loss of its charter.

Nevertheless, banks must determine how to navigate the divide between state and federal cannabis laws.  Many state legislatures have legalized cannabis in some form, and some have attempted to solve the cannabis banking problem through proposals that attempt to insulate the state’s involvement from the reach of federal law.  

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Credit Unions

Like banks, credit unions can be state or federally chartered and state law can control important aspects of credit union operations. Once, members of a credit union knew each other and pooled their resources to provide credit for their co-workers and/or neighbors. Today, many credit unions have grown into highly profitable, billion-dollar institutions offering a full range of financial services–including insurance and securities brokerage–to just about anyone. These institutions look and act like banks, yet they do not pay taxes or abide by the same rules as banks. The NCUA has steadily adopted policies that have expanded credit union membership beyond the limits prescribed by Congress. As credit union membership expands, so does the cost to American taxpayers, who underwrite the credit union industry’s tax subsidy to the tune of more than 3.5 billion a year. ABA has challenged NCUA’s policies through comment letters and in court and will continue to make the case that similar institutions ought to be treated similarly. ABA tracks state-level legislation impacting credit unions, keeping tabs on topics addressing capital requirements, taxation, changes to field of membership, and any related resolutions to Congress.

Learn more about Credit Union Competition

Explore Credit Unions

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Elder Financial Abuse

Banks take an active role in the fight against elder financial abuse and have several practices in place to help them detect, deter and prevent this type of fraud.  Fraudsters target older Americans because they may be experiencing cognitive decline, limited mobility or other disabilities that require them to rely on others for help.  

In 2018, the Trump administration signed the Senior Safe Act into law, which provides immunities to financial institutions from bank privacy laws when disclosing information regarding elder financial exploitation to regulators and law enforcement. The immunity is contingent on training and bank role. 

State legislatures have taken differing approaches to help banks combat elder financial abuse through employee training, reporting requirements, authority to implement account freezes or transaction holds, and processes for identifying and contacting a trusted third-party.  States considering legislative action should provide banks with a shield from liability for taking actions to protect customers.  

ABA Foundation Resources

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Financial Literacy

Banks provide financial education programs and resources that make their communities better.  Bankers understand that an educated consumer is the best customer.  Education and hands-on money experience are critical in building a generation of smart money managers.

Explore the ABA Foundation Financial Education Programs

Glass-Steagall

The Banking Act of 1933, commonly referred to as “Glass-Steagall” was enacted in response to the great depression and among other things, it separated commercial and investment banking.  The act created the FDIC, established our deposit insurance system, prohibited banks from paying interest on demand deposits, and regulated bank affiliate transactions.  Contrary to popular belief, the 1999 enactment of the “Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act” (GLBA) did not repeal Glass-Steagall although it did remove the prohibition on commercial and investment banking in response to global competitive pressures.    Glass-Steagall still imposes restrictions on investment banking and commercial banking, including limits on bank interactions with their affiliates.

The supposed repeal of Glass-Steagall did not cause the financial crisis.  Leading up to the financial crisis, banks and securities firms were still subject to the prohibitions of Glass-Steagall including a general prohibition against banks underwriting or dealing in any securities that were not “bank eligible”.  Allowing banks to offer a diverse set of financial products makes them stronger and the financial system safer.

Some state legislatures have introduced resolutions calling on Congress and the President to restore Glass-Steagall.  Restoring Glass-Steagall is not a sensible policy.  The financial system has evolved and looks much different now than it did when Glass-Steagall became law in 1933.  The financial system is safer when banks can diversify their investments and product offerings.

Learn more about Glass-Steagall

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Notarization

In many cases, how documents are required to be notarized is governed by state law.  Given the importance of following state law, ABA tracks state legislation governing the procedures for notarization, including the ability of a notary to authenticate electronic documents and notarize documents remotely through online notarization. 

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PACE

Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) loans are a financing structure where homeowners finance the purchase energy retrofit products.  The purchase is repaid through local tax assessments.  Since the loan is linked to the municipality’s tax authority, delinquent assessments hold a “super-priority lien” over existing and subsequent first mortgages.  State legislation is necessary to authorize counties, municipalities and other government entities to partner with private entities to administer the retrofit programs.  PACE loans can be used for retrofit products for both residential and commercial properties.  While most commercial programs require prior lienholder consent, residential programs have no notification requirements, leaving banks holding inadequately secured first mortgages.

In addition to concerns about the super-priority lien, residential PACE loans do not require consumer disclosures.  This lack of transparency has led to numerous complaints by consumers about undue pressure from sellers and deceptive information about the cost of the retrofit programs.

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Privacy

Banks believe very strongly in protecting consumers’ sensitive personal and financial information and their privacy.  For hundreds of years, customers have relied on banks to protect the privacy of their financial information.  Because banks are at the center of people’s financial lives, our industry has long been subject to federal and state data protection and privacy laws.  Federal law – along with many states’ laws – govern the way that financial institutions collect and share information about their customers.  The Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act (GLBA) requires banks to protect the security and confidentiality of customer records and information, provide consumers with notice of their privacy practices and limit the disclosure of financial information with nonaffiliated third parties.  Banks are also subject to other federal privacy and data protection laws, including the Right to Financial Privacy Act, the Fair Credit Reporting Act, the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act and the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act.

Learn more about Privacy

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