Dear Chairman Crapo and Ranking Member Brown:
The U.S. Chamber of Commerce supports S. 3441, the “Fair Hiring in Banking Act.” This bipartisan legislation, sponsored by Senators Doug Jones (D-AL) and Thom Tillis (R-NC), would simplify the process for banks to hire individuals with minor criminal records by amending Section 19 of the Federal Deposit Insurance Act (Sec. 19). This bill would strengthen the banking workforce by permitting qualified individuals to access employment and would promote equality in the banking system, given a disproportionate number of these individuals are people of color.
The Chamber and its members have prioritized reintegrating past offenders into the workforce, and we believe commonsense reforms to Sec. 19 of the Federal Deposit Insurance Act could reduce unnecessary barriers to employment in America’s banks. The U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation released a special report in 2019, “America Working Forward,” which found, among many things, that ex-offenders that are willing to put in the time required by demanding skills-training programs tend to be highly motivated to change their lives. The Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) recently finalized a rule making some changes to its interpretation of Sec. 19, but Congress must act given constraints from the statute.
The Fair Hiring in Banking Act would empower the FDIC to make further reforms. Importantly, the legislation would replace the lifetime ban for certain offenses with an approach that recognizes our criminal justice system is intended to rehabilitate individuals and reintegrate them into all parts of our society. Specifically, it would allow individuals to be eligible for employment, subject to an FDIC application process, if they have met all sentencing requirements for at least seven years. Thank you for your attention to this issue. We encourage your committee to advance the Fair Hiring in Banking Act.
cc: Members of the Senate Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs