Consumer Action testifies to House on credit card law abuses

Ruth Susswein calls for earlier effective date on credit card rules

Consumer Action will testify today before the U.S. House Financial Services Committee on the need for an earlier implementation date for the CARD Act. At this time, most provisions will be effective on Feb. 22, 2010, with some designated to take effect in August 2010. Consumer Action's Ruth Susswein has submitted written testimony to the committee in support of H.R. 3639, the Expedited CARD Reform for Consumers Act of 2009, which would make the rules effective on Dec. 1, 2009. Susswein, deputy director of national priorities at Consumer Action, is the coordinator of the organization's 2009 Credit Card Survey, which found widespread interest rate hikes in advance of the credit card law. Her testimony will center on the findings from the survey as well as numerous complaints submitted to Consumer Action by change-of-terms victims. "In Consumer Action’s 2009 survey we discovered that between March 2009 when we stopped surveying and June when we confirmed the data we had collected, that major credit card issuers had arbitrarily increased rates, spiked fees and hiked minimum payments," writes Susswein in her testimony. "There appeared to be no rational reason for the rate increases. There was no jump in the prime rate, nor other reason to explain rates rising by as much as three percentage points between March and June of this year…other than issuers making good on threats that credit would dry up and cardholders would see costs rise with the passage of the Credit CARD Act." Susswein will testify on a panel along with Nick Bourke, Safe Credit Cards Project, The Pew Charitable Trusts; Todd McCracken, National Small Business Association; Anthony Demangone, National Association of Federal Credit Unions, and Kenneth J. Clayton, American Bankers Association Click here for a copy of the testimony. The hearing will be available via streaming video. See the House Financial Services website for details.



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