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House panel to consider credit card bill this week
WASHINGTON (7/28/08)--The House Financial Service Committee Tuesday is scheduled to markup a package of credit card reforms which is being billed as the Credit Cardholder's Bill of Rights (H.R. 5244). The bill, introduced by House Financial Services subcommittee on financial institutions and consumer credit chair Carolyn Maloney (D-N.Y.), is intended to curb abusive practices, such as some interest-rate increases and late fees. The subcommittee held its first hearing on it on March 13. In part, the bill would require card issuers to provide a 45-day notice period for consumers before an interest rate could be increased. Cardholders would then have the right to cancel their card and pay off their existing balance at the existing rate and repayment schedule. H.R. 5244 would also prohibit a practice known as "double-cycle billing," in which card companies charge interest on payments made on time during a grace period. It would also ban arbitrary changes in the credit card contract. The Credit Union National Association (CUNA) generally supports legislative action that protects consumers from predatory lending practices, but also monitors this type of legislation to ensure that it does not have an unintended consequence which would hamper credit union service to their members. CUNA Vice President of Legislative Affairs Ryan Donovan has noted that, while credit unions are not the target of these bills, the legislation may affect credit card programs that credit unions offer their members.


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