Credit Card Industry Hearings In The House Of Representatives Yesterday

The hearings on “Improving Credit Card Consumer Protection: Recent Industry and Regulatory Initiatives” (watch and read transcripts here) in the House of Reps continues the recent trend of Congressional credit-industry criticism. You will notice only two witnesses representing consumer interests were invited: Kathleen Keest of the Center for Responsible Lending and Ed Mierzwinski of U.S. PIRG. The rest were industry insiders or friends of the industry.

James Huizinga, attorney and advisor on credit card programs, for example, stated, regarding current regulations, “I do not believe it is appropriate to change course.”

However, on the table are changes to “Regulation Z,” which governs many credit card transactions, proposed by Democrats. The proposed changes include a requirement that credit cards notify consumers 45 days before changing terms (rather than the current, near-instantaneous practice).

The credit card representatives apparently did face some tough questioning on credit card companies’ abusive, deceptive, and predatory practices. Will things change? Let’s hope so. It seems clear that the credit card industry cannot be trusted to police itself. A bit more regulation to ensure fairness might not be a bad thing. SAM GLOVER

Update: US PIRG calls the hearings a success.

[via CL&P Blog]

Comments

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  1. mikyrok says:

    Thats not a photo of a credit card! It’s a Commerce bank debit card! Caught you.

    It seems clear that the credit card industry cannot be trusted to police itself.

    Why should they want to police themselves? Isn’t making money a top priority for businesses?

  2. Trackback says:

    [Consumerist crosspost] The hearings on “Improving Credit Card Consumer Protection: Recent Industry and Regulatory Initiatives” (watch and read transcripts here) in the House of Reps continues the recent trend of Congressional credit-industry criticism.

  3. polarogak says:

    So they allow people to spend thousands of dollars they don’t have, and then slowly pay it back with interest @ $25 a month? I don’t see how anyone could get into financial trouble under this system of revolving credit.

  4. dbeahn says:

    You forget that politicians are NOT there to protect consumers or serve their constituents. They are there to make sure they have enough “donations” for their next campaign.

  5. Lula Mae Broadway says:

    My new fav. thing to do with credit card offers is to circle all the outrageous fees with a red sharpie, write obscene or obnoxious things on the page such as “I’d rather borrow money from the mafia – and thanks for the prepaid envelopes!” And then send it back in the pre-paid envelope. Doing my part to bleed them 41 cents at a time.

    Oh, and if you want to get really outraged (and informed), listen to this episode of Fresh Air:
    http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=91569

  6. jeffj-nj says:

    Wooo!! That’s a Commerce Bank card. Commerce freakin’ rocks.

    That is all.

  7. popeye_doyle says:

    Does anyone remember, back in the golden days of the Bush I administration, when credit card reform hearings were held? On the first day of the hearings the stock market tanked (for completely unrelated reasons) and Bush I got on TV and said that our economy would collapse if these credit card reforms were enacted, as demonstrated by the stock market plummet. (the stock market always plummets, flames always engulf, etc.) That is why we now have 33% interest rates and $50.00 penalties for using the wrong stamp.

  8. MatthewVA says:

    It shouldn’t be too much to ask for increased transparency. After all, visa and mastercard are making record profits

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