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Thune, Young, Blackburn, Moran Introduce Legislation to Modernize Consumers’ Ability to Receive and Access Personal Electronic Documents

Senators’ legislation would streamline how consumers consent to receiving electronic documents such as bank statements, account information, and contracts

March 1, 2022

U.S. Sens. John Thune (R-S.D.), Todd Young (R-Ind.), Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.), and Jerry Moran (R-Kan.), members of the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation, which has jurisdiction over technology and consumer protection, today introduced the Electronic Signatures in Global and National Commerce (E-SIGN) Modernization Act. This legislation would streamline how consumers consent to receiving electronic documents such as bank statements, account information, and contracts. 

“Computers, smartphones, and other devices are more reliable and accessible than ever before,” said Thune. “As technology continues to advance and transform, so too should the laws that govern it. This legislation makes necessary updates to E-SIGN that reflect those advancements in technology, while, at the same time, retaining important protections for consumers that are currently in place.”

“It’s time we bring our banking systems to the 21st century by allowing more people to access their bank information from a computer or other electronic device,” said Young. “Our E-SIGN Modernization Act will help Hoosiers easily access their finances electronically as they look for critical documents and bank statements.”

“In the 21st century, electronic records, signatures, and contracts make business possible,” said Blackburn. “The work to update digital commerce guidelines is nearly two decades overdue, but this overhaul will provide Tennessee businesses even more opportunities to thrive.” 

“Given the major advancements in technology and consumer accessibility that have occurred in the past two decades since the E-SIGN Act was first enacted, it’s time to modernize this law,” said Moran. “This legislation is a timely update to expand consumer access to online and mobile financial services in line with modern practices.”

“Now more than ever, consumers want choices that allow them to manage their financial lives using digital banking channels," said Rob Nichols, CEO and president of the American Bankers Association. "Senators Thune, Young, Blackburn, and Moran’s introduction of the E-SIGN Modernization Act is an important step toward ensuring Americans have access to more financial options.”

“ICBA and the nation’s community banks strongly support the E-SIGN Modernization Act and thank Sens. Thune, Young, Blackburn, and Moran for introducing this common-sense legislation,” said Rebeca Romero Rainey, CEO and president of the Independent Community Bankers of America. “The current policy requiring consumers to ‘reasonably demonstrate’ that they can access information electronically before receiving digital documents is outdated and needlessly impedes important transactions, including home purchases. Under the bill, no further steps are necessary after consumers consent to receiving records and disclosures electronically, which will facilitate transactions to benefit consumers and the economy.”

“Thank you to Senators Thune, Young, Blackburn, and Moran for introducing the E-Sign Modernization Act,” said Jim Nussle, CEO and president of the Credit Union National Association. “This commonsense measure will enhance consumer access to online services and allow credit unions and other financial service providers to expand the means through which they can support consumers’ financial well-being.”

E-SIGN became law in 2000, and it validates the use of electronic signatures and electronic documents in transactions involved in interstate or foreign commerce. E-SIGN currently requires consumers to reasonably demonstrate that they can access documents electronically before they can receive them electronically, which is an outdated requirement that is no longer necessary given advancements in technology since E-SIGN became law. The E-SIGN Modernization Act would remove this requirement, so once a consumer is provided with disclosure information and consents to receiving documents electronically, he or she can obtain them through those means.