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House Subcommittee Hearing on Overdraft Loans and Credit Cards

March 19, 2009

Today at 2:30, the House subcommittee on Financial Institutions and Consumer Credit will hold a hearing on two bills AFFIL supports:  H.R. 1456, the Consumer Overdraft Fair Practices Act, and H.R. 627, the Credit Cardholders Bill of Rights.

Our Partners Travis Plunkett of the Consumer Federation of America and Ed Mierzwinski of US PIRG will be testifying on behalf of twelve nonprofits, including AFFIL.  This is the first time AFFIL has signed on to a Congressional testimony, and we’re proud to become part of the record against usurious practices.  See the testimony here (PDF).Both H.R. 1456 and H.R. 627 were introduced by Rep. Carolyn Maloney of New York.  As I’ve blogged about before, H.R. 627 was actually passed by the House in 2008 (as H.R. 5244), but will have to be re-passed in this Congress before it can become law.  A few updates have been added to the bill, including a provision which says that the industry must conform to the bill’s changes within 90 days.  This neatly fixes the problem with the Federal Reserve Board’s credit card regulations which were approved in December of ’08 – but which won’t go into effect until July of 2010.  The Credit Cardholders Bill of Rights speeds up this ridiculous timeframe.

A companion Credit Cardholders Bill of Rights has been introduced in the Senate as S. 235, and Senator Dodd has also introduced his own credit card bill, the Credit CARD Act (S. 414).  Senator Dodd is the chair of the Senate Banking Committee, and his bill is actually stronger than the Credit Cardholders Bill of Rights.  However, because it’s stronger it will have a harder time garnering enough support for passage.

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