Since a ton of people will be out doing their Christmas shopping over the weekend - after years of work and pressure from Carolyn - the Fed just put out some new regulations that will put an end to some of the worst of the unfair and deceptive practices, but their regulationss don't go into effect until 2010. Carolyn will be working to craft legislation in the coming Congress to end the worst of the worst prior to 2010. Here is the official release from her office on the subject:
Author of "Credit Cardholders' Bill of Rights" Hails New Credit Card Rules
Rep. Carolyn Maloney: "This is a good first step, but consumers can't wait."
In response to today's release of a final rule by the Federal Reserve (Fed), Office of Thrift Supervision (OTS) and the National Credit Union Administration (NCUA) to ban certain unfair or deceptive acts and practices related to credit cards, Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney (D-NY), author of the Credit Cardholders' Bill of Rights (H.R. 5244) and Chair of the House Financial Services Subcommittee on Financial Institutions and Consumer Credit released the following statement:"As one who's been working for years to bring consumers the protections they need, I'm delighted to see the regulators take substantive action. Finally, these practices have been declared what they are: 'unfair' and 'deceptive.' But while these new rules are a strong first step, I'll be working with my Subcommittee and Chairman Frank to fill any gaps in protections for cardholders. These new rules aren't scheduled to take effect until 2010; Congress should act sooner to protect American consumers by giving credit card protections the permanence and force of law," Maloney said.
"Credit cards are an important financial tool and are a vital part of our economy, but we must allow consumers to make informed decisions regarding interest rates and fees related to their credit cards, and allow competition to drive the credit card markets," Maloney continued.
"I agree with President-elect Obama, who repeatedly campaigned on this issue by saying '...Americans aren't falling into debt because they made an irresponsible decision; they're falling into debt because credit card companies are pushing them over the edge. For too long, credit card companies have been using unfair and deceptive practices to trick Americans into signing agreements they can't afford,'" Maloney said.
"I'll be introducing a new Credit Cardholders' Bill of Rights in the House in the first days of the 111th Congress, along with Sen. Mark Udall (D-CO) in the Senate, who was a vigorous advocate of my bill in the House this session. With the regulators finally acting, and the new Administration's support, Washington should do more for Main Street," Maloney concluded.
Background: H.R. 5244, written by Rep. Carolyn Maloney after a series of roundtables with industry and consumer stakeholders and six public hearings, had 155 bipartisan cosponsors. It passed the House Financial Services Committee with all Democrats supporting. It passed the House on September 23, 2008 on a vote of 312-112; the majority coalition included the support of 81 Republicans. It was not brought to a vote in the Senate. The Credit Cardholders' Bill of Rights goes further than the new rules promulgated by the Fed, OTS and NCUA by:
- Empowering cardholders to set their own limits on their credit
- Prohibiting the marketing of cards to minors
- Allowing consumers to reject a card before activation without harming their FICO score
- Requiring issuers to provide more data to allow better regulatory oversight of the industry