Statement from Center for Responsible Lending President Michael Calhoun on President Obama’s Signing the Credit Cardholders’ Bill of Rights


Center for Responsible Lending
May 22, 2009

We applaud President Obama and congressional lawmakers on both sides of the aisle for their leadership in swiftly enacting new law to clean up abusive credit card industry practices. The overwhelmingly bipartisan vote in Congress to pass the Credit Cardholders' Bill of Rights was a vote on the side of hardworking American families.  Today, with the President's signing the bill into law, the White House and Congress have blown the whistle on practices that for too long have tricked and trapped people into debt.

The Credit Cardholders' Bill of Rights arrives just in time.  If deceptive credit card activities continued unchecked – as happened with subprime mortgages – the results would be even more devastating for borrowers and an economy already struggling to avoid financial ruin. This landmark legislation strengthens Federal Reserve rules set out last year and, equally important, ushers them in months sooner. 

The credit card industry tried to stymie the bill's passage with scare tactics, arguing it would make credit scarcer and more expensive. That's the same argument the industry used for years to block attempts to bring common-sense rules to the mortgage lending arena. We all know how disastrous listening to those arguments proved to be for everyone, especially homeowners and taxpayers. Sound lending practices, as Federal Reserve Board Chairman Bernanke often points out, are essential to a sound economy. This legislation will usher in rules to help ensure borrowers are treated fairly. That will make it more likely families and small businesses can repay their debt. And that will improve the marketplace and everyone's financial future.

The Credit Cardholders' Bill of Rights is a victory for fair play and a step towards financial recovery.

For more information: Kathleen Day at (202) 349-1871 or kathleen.day@responsiblelending.org; Ginna Green at (510) 379-5513 or ginna.green@responsiblelending.org.or Charlene Crowell at (919) 313-8523 or charlene.crowell@responsiblelending.org.

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About the Center for Responsible Lending

The Center for Responsible Lending is a nonprofit, nonpartisan research and policy organization dedicated to protecting homeownership and family wealth by working to eliminate abusive financial practices. CRL is affiliated with Self-Help, one of the nation's largest community development financial institutions.