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Washington
Credit card reforms pass House
WASHINGTON (5/1/09)—The Credit Cardholders' Bill of Rights Act (H.R. 627) was approved by a 357-70 in the House Thursday, and a Senate vote on a similar bill (S. 414) is expected as early as next week. The House and Senate bills, for the most part, track credit card best practices that were adopted by federal regulators and go into effect next July. Both the regulators' rules and the legislation would ban double-cycle billing, universal default and prolonged payment periods, among other consumer-averse practices. However, the bills go a bit further in what they address. For instance, the lawmakers' plans would provide greater protections for underage consumers and would limit some fees. The Credit Union National Association (CUNA) generally supported the version of the bill that was approved by the House Financial Services Committee earlier in April because credit unions largely do not engage in the types of practices outlined in the legislative prohibitions, and the bill mirrored regulations credit unions will have follow beginning in July 2010. CUNA did express concerns about the legislation’s original effective date, and supported a successful amendment to the bill that extended the legislation's effective date from three months to one year after enactment or June 1, 2010--whichever comes first. "The House did approve several amendments," said Ryan Donovan, CUNA vice president of legislative affairs. "We've been reviewing the amendments and preparing for Senate consideration of the (Sen. Christopher) Dodd credit card bill next week." Donovan noted that ultimately a House-Senate conference committee may have to resolve differences between the two bills.


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