After last Thursday’s historic face-offat the White House between President Obama and the credit card industry, many of you called into OTM to make your voices heard. It seems that most people, while heartened that the President is focusing on cracking down on abusive credit card practices, are skeptical about what kind of change is on the way and whether it will be enough.
Carmen shares much of the frustration. As she headlined an earlier blog post last week, we need to come to grips with the fact that our credit card companies do not care about us. It’s up to consumers to be savvy about their relationships and do what’s best for them even as these companies continue to hack at credit limits and jack up rates with reckless abandon.
Luckily, the momentum is building and it appears that the President and a good portion of Congressional leadership is behind us. One of those leaders in Congress, Rep. Caroline Maloney (D-NY), joined Carmen on Friday’s show to discuss the actions she is taking to put the ball back in the consumers’ court as it relates to their protection against credit card companies changing their terms unfairly. The piece of legislation she authored, known as the Credit Cardholder’s Bill of Rights, would end the worst deceptive practices, including any-time, any-reason rate hikes, double-cycle billing, retroactive rate hikes and institute a 45-day notice on any rate hikes going forward. The bill passed the the Financial Services Committee last week and is headed to the floor this week for a vote. The same bill passed the House last year with a strong bipartisan vote but failed in the Senate. Maloney says she believes it will pass this year.
If the bill passes, the effects still would not take effect until July 2010. Maloney says she and the president both want to enforce an earlier date to protect consumers now, when they need it most.