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Coalition support letter for the Credit Cardholder Bill of Rights (HR 627) to House Financial Services Committee

H.R. 627 rests on the basic rules of fair dealing that Americans expect everyone to play by.

21 April 2009

Support Maloney Amendment For Compliance Within 90 Days With
Requirement That All Rate Increases Meet 45-Day Disclosure Requirement

Dear Representative and member of the Financial Services Committee:

The undersigned consumer, small business, labor and community organizations representing tens of millions of Americans strongly urge you to vote for H.R. 627, the Credit Cardholders’ Bill of Rights Act (Rep. Maloney), when it is brought to a full committee vote as early as this Wednesday, 22 April 2009. The bill passed the House on an overwhelming 312-112 vote, as HR 5244, in September 2008. It enjoys broad public support.

We also urge you to vote against any amendments to weaken the bill’s provisions. The subcommittee amendment delaying implementation was disappointing; the bill should not be further weakened.

To partially ameliorate the effects of that delay, we urge you to support Rep. Maloney’s amendment to require compliance within 90 days of passage with the bill’s provision requiring that all interest rate increases be disclosed 45 days in advance (including increases for any reason that would subsequently become illegal when the bill takes full effect). Our organizations are hearing an increasing number of complaints of unfair “any time, any reason, no reason” rate increases and issuers should be required to inform consumers in advance of these practices.

H.R. 627 rests on the basic rules of fair dealing that Americans expect everyone to play by. It curbs some of the most arbitrary, abusive, and unfair credit card lending practices that trap consumers in an un-ending cycle of costly debt. These tricks and traps have always been unfair, but they produce devastating financial repercussions in times of economic difficulty. Working families are particularly hard hit as they are paying more each year in unreasonable fees and credit card interest. Signs that credit card delinquencies and defaults are rising to historically high levels strongly suggests that many families cannot sustain the cumulative burdens of these abuses. The sub-prime meltdown demonstrates the importance of ending abusive lending practices when warning signs arise. Congress should take steps now to rein in these practices to forestall an even greater economic crisis.

For the complete letter, click on the link below: