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Letter to Bank CEOs asking to improve the Check 21 law

September 20, 2004
Chief Executive Officer
Dear Bank CEO:
In August 2004, Consumers Union and the Consumer Federation of America wrote to you asking your financial institution to adopt certain policy changes to improve the impact of Check 21 on consumers. We have received no reply from you. On August 24, we invited consumers to join an online petition asking banks and other financial institutions to adopt pro-consumer Check 21 policies. Over 6,700 U.S. consumers have joined that petition so far. These consumers have joined with Consumers Union and the Consumer Federation of America to ask that your financial institution to adopt the following policies to improve Check 21:
• Don’t use Check 21 to bounce more checks. Give consumers the benefit of faster check clearing by crediting our accounts when the check clears, even if the law allows you to wait longer for deposited checks.
• Help consumers get used to this new law by suspending bounced check fees during the first two months of implementation.
• Promise to return funds to my checking account within ten business days when something goes wrong with a check no matter how the check was processed and no matter what kind of copy of the check I receive.
• Don’t charge a fee for substitute checks, the special kind of copy that replaces an original cancelled check.
• Offer an account that returns substitute checks every month for no more than the price you have been charging for an account that returns original checks.
A copy of this petition is enclosed. Consumers nationwide want these changes. We ask you to adopt them now, for the benefit of your customers.
Very truly yours,
Gail Hillebrand