Obama Urges Credit Card Reform
By Michael D. Shear
President Obama used his weekly radio and Internet address to reiterate his call for credit card reform, saying the nation can no longer tolerate an "anything goes" mentality by the credit card companies.
Obama has urged Congress to pass legislation that would do away with some of the most aggressive fees, penalties and interest rates levied by the credit card companies on their cardholders.
Last month, he met with the heads of the largest credit card companies to urge them to get on board with the reforms.
"Americans know that they have a responsibility to live within their means and pay what they owe. But they also have a right to not get ripped off by the sudden rate hikes, unfair penalties, and hidden fees that have become all-too common in our credit card industry," he says in the address. "You shouldn't have to fear that any new credit card is going to come with strings attached, nor should you need a magnifying glass and a reference book to read a credit card application."
Obama cast the reforms as part of his broader efforts to restart and revamp lending in the struggling economy. The president said Congress should finish action on a bill soon so that he can sign it into law by Memorial Day.
"There is no time for delay. We need a durable and successful flow of credit in our economy, but we can't tolerate profits that depend upon misleading working families. Those days are over," he said.
But credit card executives have said the proposed legislation would make it more difficult for them to lend, not less. And they have warned that enacting the new rules now could have a negative effect on the economic recovery.
Posted at 9:00 AM ET on May 9, 2009
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