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Cardholder rights bill sends signal
WASHINGTON (8/4/08)--The Credit Cardholders’ Bill of Rights Act of 2008 (H.R. 5244) passed the House Financial Services Committee 39-27 last week, just before both Houses of Congress adjourned for a month-long August recess. Although there is similar legislation pending in the Senate, S. 3252 introduced by Senate Banking Committee Chairman Christopher Dodd (D-Conn.), it appears unlikely that a final bill will pass Congress this year. The House committee vote in favor of the bill to ban unfair and deceptive credit card practices may serve to send a message to federal regulators to adopt strong measures to protect consumers. In fact, the Aug. 1 issue of American Banker said the lawmakers intended just that with their vote. The Federal Reserve Board, the Office of Thrift Supervision and the National Credit Union Administration have issued a joint proposal that addresses several of the concerns raised in the legislation. The joint proposed rule is open for public comment until Aug. 4 and CUNA will submit its comments in the near future. It is expected that the agencies will finalize their plan by the end of the year. CUNA has recommended in a letter to Rep. Carolyn Maloney (D-N.Y.), the chief sponsor of the House bill, that it may be “more prudent to let the regulatory process run its course prior to legislating a remedy." CUNA backs much of Maloney’s bill, but has urged balance in rules to end discriminatory, predatory, deceptive and abusive lending practices to avoid unintended consequences.
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