Statement of Senator Carl Levin on Credit Card Reform Bill

Monday, May 11, 2009

WASHINGTON --- Following is a statement by Sen. Carl Levin, D-Mich., regarding the credit card reform bill pending before the Senate. Sen. Levin chairs the U.S. Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations, which held hearings on credit card abuses in 2007. Those hearings helped to build the legislative record on the need for credit card reform.

“Today, millions of Americans are facing the worst economic crisis of their lifetimes, and their hardship is being compounded by unfair credit card fees and interest charges. It is long past time to stop the abuses. The Senate bill builds on the groundwork laid in hearings the last few years before my Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations that exposed abusive credit card practices. Our bill offers a host of consumer protections against sky-high interest charges and excessive fees.

“The Dodd-Shelby substitute before the Senate, though not as strong as the original Dodd-Levin bill, is stronger than both the House bill and Federal Reserve credit card regulations. For example, it would prohibit retroactive interest hikes except for someone who pays more than 60 days late; require banks to restore a lower interest rate for persons who paid late but then made 6 months of on-time payments; and prohibit interest charges for debt that is paid on time. The Senate bill would also put its consumer protections in place nine months from now instead of waiting for the longer Federal Reserve deadline of July 2010 and the one year delay in the House bill.

“The credit card reforms in the bill ought to attract wide support in the Senate and help produce a bill that can win the President’s signature by the end of the month.”