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Clinton, Dodd aim double-Dem barrel at credit industry

Daniel Ray

Two Democratic U.S. senators have signaled in recent days that they have a very activist agenda in store for the credit card industry.

Sen. Chris Dodd of Connecticut, head of the Senate Banking Committee, had gone on legislative hiatus during his presidential bid, which ended last month. In a news conference Jan. 23, he said he’s back in the legislative saddle and that the card industry is among his key areas of focus.

His concern about credit card marketing practices, he said, “has only grown as Americans are finding it harder to rely solely on their salaries and wages to pay the bills for gas, for housing, for health care and for education. Accordingly, examining this market will continue to be a high priority.

“… Action — what Franklin Roosevelt called ‘bold, persistent action’ — is required.”

Sen. Hillary Clinton, meanwhile, announced her “Fair Credit for Families Agenda,” which would:

  • “Immediately impose a 30 percent cap on annual interest rates for credit cards and work toward a lower cap.”
  • Prevent credit card companies from “unfairly increasing interest rates, or charging interest in unfair or unreasonable ways.”
  • Require credit card companies provide “clear, easy-to-understand information about credit card terms and fees.”
  • Create a new Financial Product Safety Commission to police credit products.
  • Clinton’s continuing presidential bid makes it possible her agenda will be taken up if she achieves the presidency. Ironically, Dodd’s dropping out of the presidential race means his agenda will be addressed first, since his position in the Senate gives him the clout to act on it immediately.

    For more on the tide of increasing regulation facing the card industry, see “Credit card industry takes fire from Senate” and “Regulation Z: Feds move to change credit card rules.”

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