WASHINGTON — A bipartisan group of House lawmakers on the financial services panel introduced legislation Wednesday that would help banks remotely open accounts.

The legislation would clarify existing laws and supersede state law governing remote account openings that are done by "swiping" driver's licenses electronically and using the digital copy to open up a bank account.

The Making Online Banking Initiation Legal and Easy Act is designed to help consumers who do not readily have access to bank or credit union branches.

"There are many families in rural communities across the country who are struggling to achieve financial security because they can't easily get to a bank to open checking or savings accounts," said Rep. Scott Tipon, R-Colo., who introduced the bill along with Reps. Randy Hultgren, R-Ill., and Terri Sewell, D-Ala.

"Smartphones can change this, but we need our laws to catch up to the technology," Tipton added.

Sewell said that the bill could also potentially "ensure that our underserved and underbanked communities will be able to access and better manage their personal finances through the convenience of online banking using their mobile devices."

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