HR 3639 will move up the implementation date of the Credit CARD Reform Act to Dec. 1, rather than Feb. 22, 2010. Since Congress passed this bill in May, credit card companies have been hiking interest rates on customers’ balances, increasing penalty fees and doubling minimum payments. Meanwhile, countless good customers who pay on time each month are suffering.
Implementing the law now will prevent further abuses at the hands of the banks, and make sure that they comply with the intent of this law. The reality is consumers can’t afford another four months of these abusive tactics while the banks find new ways to increase their profits at our expense. I urge you to put these already-approved reforms in place now.
The banks’ recent behavior when it comes to our credit cards underscores the need for fast-acting, effective oversight at the federal level, rather than a new piece of legislation each time a problem like this arises. To achieve that, I also urge you to support a new Consumer Financial Protection Agency (CFPA) whose only job will be to look out for consumers when it comes to abusive financial practices, including credit cards, loans and mortgages.
HR 3126 will put in place an effective CFPA watchdog who looks out for us, not just the banks. Right now, there is no federal banking agency whose primary job is to predict and prevent harm to consumers from new banking and credit practices.
We need a strong federal watchdog to write new consumer protection rules against unfair practices, and keep those rules up to date. Those rules should apply to every type of credit product, bank account and payment method. And the states should be allowed to set even stronger rules to protect against new threats facing their residents. I urge you to pass a strong bill and oppose any weakening amendments.
American consumers are the backbone of our economy, and we’re tired of getting the short end of the stick when it comes to financial products like credit cards. I urge you to put in place reforms approved in the Credit CARD Act immediately, and support the CFPA as well. It’s time Congress gives real help and sensible protections to consumers from financial abuses — rather than taxpayer bailouts to the big banks that got us in this mess.