Financial Services Committee Approves Maloney-Frank bill to Speed Up Credit Card Reforms
The Financial Services Committee today unanimously passed H.R. 3639, the Expedited CARD Reform for Consumers Act of 2009, which would move up the effective date for credit card reforms from February 22 to December 1. The bill, sponsored by Rep. Carolyn Maloney (D-NY) and Financial Services Committee Chairman Barney Frank (D-MA), changes the date by which banks and credit card issuers would have to comply with the remaining provisions of the Credit CARD Act, new consumer-friendly legislation signed by President Obama earlier this year. The bill now moves to the House floor for consideration.
Rep. Carolyn Maloney (D-NY) said: “This marks a step forward in bringing consumers badly-needed relief,” Maloney said. “Just in time for the holidays, Congress can lock in a ban on interest rate hikes on existing balances and the tricks that have kept far too many consumers trapped in a never-ending cycle of debt: tricks like double-cycle billing, due-date gamesmanship, and applying payments to lowest rates first.”
“The card companies brought this on themselves, by using the time between when the bill was signed by President Obama and when it goes into effect to ‘get in under the wire’ with a last gasp of unfair practices,” Maloney said. “Today’s action shows Congress can act with speed when necessary to provide consumers the protection they need.”
In reporting the bill out, the committee voted to keep the original effective date of February 22, 2010 for prepaid gift cards (which are now all printed and on the way to retailers for the holiday season), and for small credit card issuers with under 2 million cardholder accounts. The six largest card issuers control over 80% of the credit card market.