Statement by Mike Calhoun, president of CRL, on credit card legislation proposed today by Joint Economic Committee Chairwoman Carolyn Maloney and House Financial Services Committee Chairman Barney Frank
"Hard-working Americans who use credit cards to help pay bills, buy groceries, and make ends meet need relief sooner rather than later from the industry's destructive tricks and traps, especially during hard times like these. We commend Chairwoman Maloney and Chairman Frank for proposing that the consumer protections in the recently passed Credit CARD Act be fully implemented December 1, 2009, almost three months earlier than called for by the law.
CRL research confirms that even in the face of legislative and regulatory change, top credit card issuers have chosen to increase fees and raise rates for more customers, including those in good-standing. These arbitrary, one-sided changes extract funds from borrowers unfairly. Consumers could better use the money for savings or to purchase goods and services that would stimulate the economy.
The enactment of the credit card law in May was a landmark step to stopping abusive practices that federal regulators at the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency and the Federal Reserve Board allowed to persist for years. Speeding implementation of that law would be further progress. However, to really protect consumers from abusive lending and taxpayers from future bank bailouts, Congress also needs to establish the proposed Consumer Financial Protection Agency, which would be an independent watchdog on the public's behalf."
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