Obama Demands Final Action on Credit Card Reform

Manila Bulletin, May 15, 2009 | Go to article overview

Obama Demands Final Action on Credit Card Reform


RIO RANCHO, New Mexico, May 14, 2009 (AFP) - President Barack Obama Thursday piled pressure on Congress for immediate action on steep rate hikes and predatory fees clamped by credit card firms on recession-hit Americans.''Enough is enough, it's time for strong and reliable protections for our consumers," Obama said at a town-hall meeting in New Mexico."It's time for reform that is built on transparency, accountability, and mutual responsibility -- values fundamental to the new foundation we seek to build for our economy." Obama wants the Senate to pass credit card legislation and reconcile it with an already passed House of Representatives bill."I am calling on Congress to take final action to pass a credit card reform bill that protects American consumers and send it to my desk so I can sign it into law by Memorial Day (May 25)," Obama said."There is not time to delay. Time to get it done."There had been some hopes that the bill would get a vote in the Senate on Thursday, but the chamber's Democratic leaders announced that there would be no final action on the bill until at least next Tuesday.The "Credit Cardholders Bill of Rights" seeks to shield consumers from misleading small print in card contracts, empower cardholders to set their own credit limits, and require companies to fairly allocate payments.The measure also targets practices such as marketing credit cards to minors, targets unfair rate hikes and charges and improves transparency for people shopping around for credit cards."You shouldn't need a magnifying glass or a law degree to read the fine print that sometimes doesn't even appear to be written in English or Spanish," Obama told a crowd of several thousand people at a Rio Rancho high school.But Obama was also careful to couch his rebuke to card firms with warnings that customers must be careful not to spend beyond their means, after an era of easy credit which he blamed for help causing the crisis."It's debt, and you should not take on more than you can handle," he said."We expect consumers to make sound choices and live within their means and   pay what they owe in a timely manner."Obama was introduced by a local woman, Christine Lardner, who saw her interest rates skyrocket to 30 percent after a mistaken payment, approved by her credit card firm, took her over her limit. …

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