CONGRESSWOMAN ELISE STEFANIK
Amendments to H.R. 627 are expected to be considered on the floor of the House on Thursday, April 30, 2009, under a structured rule (H.Res. 379), which allows consideration of seventeen amendments. Each amendment will be debatable for ten minutes, except for an amendment offered by Rep. Gutierrez, which will be considered first and debate for 20 minutes.
H.R. 627 was introduced on January 22, 2009, by Rep. Carolyn Maloney (D-NY) and referred to the Committee of Financial Services. On April 22, 2009, the bill was marked-up and reported, as amended, by a vote of 48-19.
1. Amendment #30, Gutierrez (D-IL)-Requires the Federal Reserve Board (Fed) to suggest guidelines for credit card companies to give card holders information about credit counseling. Allows credit card companies to charge a customer for making an expedited payment over the phone (which the underlying legislation prohibits), if the customer requests such payment. Requires credit card companies to notify card holders that excessive credit card applications may adversely effect their credit score. Requires credit card companies to print all written information in 12 point type and in a font approved by the Fed. And finally, the bill requires stores that accept credit cards to clearly display that information on the business premises.
2. Amendment #25, Frank (D-MA)-Requires that a number of reports be submitted to Congress, including a review by the Fed of the consumer credit market (including public comment) every two years, and an annual report from the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) regarding the agencies supervising and enforcing federal credit card protections.
3. Amendment #36, Slaughter (D-NY)/Duncan (R-TN)/Hastings(D-FL)/Johnson (D-GA)/Christensen (D-VI)-Imposes new underwriting standards for credit card companies providing cards to college students between the age of 18 and 21. The amendment sets a maximum balance that a college student can have on a credit card without a co-signer. The amendment limits the maximum credit to greater of $500 or 20 percent of the student's yearly income. In addition, it would prohibit a card company from giving a college student a credit card if the credit limit combined with any other cards would exceed 30 percent of the student's income. The amendment would require credit card companies to verify a college student's proof of income, income history, and credit history before making a credit card available to a college student. Finally, the bill would prohibit a credit card company to give a card to a college student that has no income and already has one credit card.
4. Amendment #29, Gutierrez (D-IL)/Peters (D-MI)/Edwards (D-MD)-Requires credit card companies to apply any payment over the minimum level to be allocated to the balance with the highest annual percentage rate (APR) and allocate any remaining portion to any other balances based on APR.
5. Amendment #14, Pingree (D-ME)-Requires the Fed to submit a report to Congress every 90 days on the implementation of the bill until the Chairman of the Fed reports full implementation of the bill.
6. Amendment #42, Polis (D-CO)-Clarifies that individuals under the age of 18 may have credit cards if their parents or guardians are the primary account holders.
7. Amendment #7, Jones (R-NC)-Requires the Fed and the FTC to create regulations that ensure that the administrator of an estate of a deceased individual may resolve outstanding credit card balances.
8. Amendment #24, Maloney (D-NY)/Watson (D-CA)-Prohibits a credit card company from charging a card holder with an over-the-limit fee unless the card holder has opted-in to an over-the-limit protection plan. The amendment would also allow card holders to go over their limit by a de minimis amount without being charged an over-the-limit fee.
9. Amendment #11, Hensarling (R-TX)-Authorizes credit card companies to raise interest rates on existing balances if the company provides the customer 90 days notice before the rate change occurs and if the consume agreed to potential rate changes in their contract and once annually thereafter.
10. Amendment #10, Hensarling (R-TX)-Allows credit card companies to use double cycle-billing, retroactive rate increases, and universal default if the company offers at least one card to every customer that does not feature any of those characteristics.
11. Amendment #23, Minnick (D-ID)-Changes the definition of an "existing balance" to the amount owed on a consumer credit card account as of the end of the seventh day after the creditor provides notice of an APR increase, rather than the 14th day after.
12. Amendment #49, Price (D-NC)/Miller (D-NC)/Moran (D-VA)/Quigley (D-IL)/Lowey (D-NY)/Stupak (D-MI)/Sutton(D-OH)-Adds a number of new obligations on credit card companies, requiring them to provide customers with information regarding outstanding balances, payment schedules, and rates. The Amendment would require credit card companies to provide customers with an annual "Minimum Payment Warning," which states that making only the minimum payment will increase interest costs. The amendment would also require companies to send annual outstanding balance information outlining how many months it would take to pay the total outstanding balance making the minimum payment, and how much a monthly payment would be needed to pay off the outstanding bonus in 12, 24, or 36 months.
13. Amendment #39, Davis (D-CA)/Carney (D-PA)-Requires a credit card company to notify a card holder before ending that card holder's account. The company would be required to notify the card holder as to why the account is being closed, anything the card holder can do to prevent closure, payment options and possible credit score ramifications. A credit card company may not close an account until 30 days after such notification is made.
14. Amendment #12, Perriello (D-VA)-Requires that a promotional APR offered by a credit card company last at least six months before the rate may be raised.
15. Amendment #8, Schauer (D-MI)-Requires credit card companies to post all of their written contracts and agreements online and requires the Fed to specify a format for posting the agreements.
16. Amendment #6, Teague (D-NM)/Nye (D-VA)/Boccieri (D-OH)/Kissell (D-NC)-Prohibits credit card companies from making negative reports to credit rating agencies regarding active duty members of the military and recently disabled veterans for at least two years after entering active duty or being disabled.
17. Amendment #48, Schock (R-IL)-Allows card holders who have applied for and received a credit card to return the card if it has not been activated within 45 days and have the card application taken off any credit rating agency reports. Under current law, after 45 days such credit cards are automatically removed from credit reports.