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May 19, 2009 06:57 PM UTC

Card Reform Bill Nears Senate Passage

  • by: Colorado Pols

Finally some decent print coverage, as the Denver Business Journal reports:

The U.S. Senate was expected to vote Tuesday to pass a measure tightening rules on credit card rate hikes and practices — legislation that U.S. Sen. Mark Udall of Colorado has pushed since his days in the House.

Udall, D-Colo., drafted a credit card reform bill in 2005 as a House member. A version of that bill passed the House by a 357-70 vote April 30.

“I have heard story after story of Coloradans who kept low balances and paid their bills on time, yet still had their rates dramatically increased with no warning,” Udall said last month as the House bill was approaching a vote. “People are being treated unfairly by big banks — some of which are even getting taxpayers’ money as part of the bailout. It’s wrong that they’re taking advantage of hard-working customers. And it’s got to stop.”

Colorado’s other U.S. senator, Michael Bennet, also supports the measure.

“As I travelled across the state [recently], I heard from people who are being forced to absorb double-digit rate increases despite having paid all their bills on time,” Bennet, D-Colo., said in April. “It’s time we rein in these abusive practices and create a new set of rules that protect American consumers without impeding the flow of credit to families and small businesses.”

…If a bill close to the current version becomes law, credit card companies would have to take several steps, including posting their credit rules on the Internet and giving cardholders a written statement explaining pending interest-rate hikes 45 days in advance.

…U.S. Rep. Jeb Hensarling, R-Texas, said the legislation would lead to higher interest rates and fees for credit card users who pay their bills on time because it limits the ability of credit card companies to use risk-based pricing.

“This bill will take us back to a previous era, a bygone era where everybody paid higher interest rates, where a third fewer people had access to credit, and we had all of these dreaded annual card fees,” Hensarling said.


14 thoughts on “Card Reform Bill Nears Senate Passage

  1. …that “reigning in the abuses” won’t include setting a cap on interest rates.

    “Bennet supports the bill” indeed! I can see the campaign ad now: “And I supported credit card reform! To protect the Common Man!” [Organ music swells…]

    By the same token, can you imagine the interest rates Citi, BofA, et al. would be paying if the shoe(s) were on the other foot/feet?

    Proposal 1: Interest rates on TARP funds should be set at the highest rates charged to credit card customers.

    Proposal 2: Michael Bennet offers a list of all donors to his campaign, amount, and business affiliation (including spouse’s business affiliation by marriage).

    Proposal 3: Michael Bennet reveal the balances on all his credit cards and the interest rate he is paying on those balances.

    Proposal 4: Colorado Democrats look around for a Democrat to nominate for the U.S. Senate in 2010.

    I grow tiresome, I know. Some tunes one just can’t get out of one’s head.

      1. …says he supports the Common Man–Absolutely, Always, and With Great Passion, just ask him!–just so long as it doesn’t include limits on credit card interest rates (which would raise interest rates, you see; he said it, I didn’t). As for supporting rate caps, I must be imagining those 12 “Democrats” who voted down the Durbin amendment on this very topic a week or so ago.

        What’s a Democrat? Why, anyone who puts a (D) after his name. It’s a free country, you know. Arlen, Joe, Ben–Democrats every one. Imagination runs wild. Plays such tricks! Conjures up things that never happened, erases those that actually took place. Visions of silver spoons, a succession of appointments, a list of achievements you can write on the back of a business card dance in the head!

          1. The Durbin amendment was intended to let bankruptcy judges adjust mortgage balances as part of bankruptcy proceedings. That was what Bennet voted against…in a vote that mattered.

            He did vote for the Sanders amendment.

            Much appreciate your Wiki-psychology, btw. Very insightful, telling, valuable.

      1. Too late, do nothing.

        Too late, do nothing.

        Too late, do nothing.

        Hillary’s got it sewn up. Give up.

        No he can’t.

        No he can’t.

        All but passed.

        All but passed.

        Inevitable, inevitable, inevitable.

        Too late, do nothing.

        Too late, do nothing.

        By Jove, I think I’ve got it!

        1. I’m just saying that you can beg and plead and be snarky as much as you want, but unless a real candidate decides to run (Romanoff, Hickenlooper, etc) then Bennet is going to be the nominee.

          There can be a movement for someone to run, but unless there’s a real, solid candidate, then there’s not really much anyone CAN do.

  2. The audacity of the banks to ask for untold billions to make sure they didn’t collapse last year, is trumped only by their willingness to stick it to the consumers and taxpayers who provided their bailout.

    The fact that they are getting away with this is sickening. This bill is good, but the power that the banking industry wields is vast enough that this likely won’t matter.

    1. What’s telling is cram-down and an interest rate cap were both defeated. The banks are screaming bloody murder over some minor changes while seeing no significant changes.

      They’re like a spoiled child.

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