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SENATE PASSES CREDIT CARD BILL

The Senate yesterday approved the credit card legislation it has been debating since May 11, 2009 by a final vote of 90 to 5. The Credit Card Accountability Responsibility and Disclosure Act of 2009 (S.A. 1058) was introduced by Senators Dodd and Shelby as a substitute for the Credit Cardholders’ Bill of Rights Act of 2009 (H.R. 627), which passed the House on April 30. See Alerts dated May 4 and 15, 2009.

Although the three pending amendments (SA 1079, which would have made the Truth in Lending Act applicable to small businesses; SA 1107 regarding criminal and fraudulent monetary transfers using stored value cards; and SA 1126, which would have amended the Federal Deposit Insurance Act to extend certain limitations) failed, the final bill still differs from S.A. 1058 as introduced on May 11, 2009. Most notably, the final bill contains 15 additional sections. Three of the new sections relate to the amendments passed by the Senate (i) regulating guns in national parks, (i) requiring reporting agencies to provide free credit reports in certain non-English languages and (iii) requiring a study on ties between fluency in English and financial literacy. The other additions to the bill include, inter alia:

  • Restrictions on the imposition of overlimit fees;
  • Requirements to consider consumers’ ability to repay;
  • Restrictions on marketing of free credit reports;
  • Restrictions on college credit card marketing;
  • Rules regarding international transport of stored value;
  • Procedures for timely settlement of decedent obligors’ estates;
  • Reports to Congress on (i) reductions of credit limits, (ii) small business credit plans and (iii) marketing of debt cancellation and suspension and credit insurance with credit offers; and
  • Clarification of Section 626 of the Omnibus Appropriations Act regarding Federal Trade Commission rulemaking on mortgage lending (see Alert dated April 9, 2009).

Today, the House passed H.R. 456, a resolution providing for immediate consideration of the bill passed by the Senate, with Section 512 (the guns in national parks amendment, which many predicted would be a sticking point in the House) subject to a separate vote.

  • Judy Scheiderer