Removing Barriers Blog

Letter sent prior to Committee markup of ESIGN Modernization legislation
Posted September 15, 2020 by CUNA Advocacy

CUNA wrote to Chairman Roger Wicker and Ranking Member Maria Cantwell prior to the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation's markup scheduled on a number of bills.  Our letter was written in support of S. 4159, the E-SIGN Modernization Act.

The Electronic Signatures in Global and National Commerce Act (“E-SIGN Act”), was enacted in 2000, when the Internet was a simpler place in terms of capability, yet the Internet was much more complex to use as many standards were still being developed. Thus, because the E-SIGN Act was designed in the commercial Internet’s infancy, updates are needed to ensure efficient commerce over today’s much more mature and capable Internet.

The E-Sign Modernization Act of 2020 is a strong step toward balancing community health with financial well-being. Enhancing consumer access to online services will ensure that consumers and the financial first responders meeting their pecuniary needs remain safe in our current operating environment.  Specifically, it would remove the requirement in the Electronic Signatures in Global and National Commerce Act requiring consumers to reasonably demonstrate their ability to access information electronically prior to consenting to electronic records. 

The letter also notes that while we realize that some consumer groups will argue the E-SIGN Modernization Act will harm consumers, this is not true. Disclosures required by law will still be provided to consumers with the substantive change being that outdated delivery requirements will be modernized. In the time of COVID, possible mail disruptions and the ubiquitous smartphone, mandating a particular delivery method is not necessary and possibly harmful to consumers. The true consumer harm is from the current laws barriers to consumer choosing electronic delivery, which is the safest and most efficient way to receive documents.