October 7th, 2009
04:38 PM ET
9 years ago

Betsy Markey urges credit card companies to halt rate hikes

WASHINGTON (CNN) – A Democratic congresswoman is calling on credit card companies to stop hiking interest rates before President Obama's credit card bill goes into effect next year.

Rep. Betsy Markey, D-Colorado, led a group of 18 House members in sending a letter to the country's major credit card companies on Wednesday urging them to avoid "unreasonably raising rates" before Obama's Credit CARD Act goes into effect in February 2010.

"The implementation of these necessary reforms should not be taken as an indication that the industry should take advantage of consumers now before the prohibitions come into effect," Markey said in the letter.

The new bill adds more restrictions on when credit card companies can raise fees and interest rates, and specifically bans them from increasing rates unless a customer is more than 60 days late in paying a bill. But until then, consumers can still face rate hikes - and Markey said constituents told her the practice had picked up speed as the deadline approached.

Democratic Reps. Carolyn Maloney and Barney Frank have pushed for the bill to go into effect earlier to prevent credit card companies from increasing their rates. Markey called the companies' actions "troubling."

"What makes this situation particularly troubling is the fact that the effective date for the majority of the provisions in this legislation was set for February of 2010 to give credit card companies time to implement the new federal regulations – not additional time to violate the spirit of the law by changing the terms of agreements, including raising interest rates on consumers," Markey said in the letter.

Filed under: Congress
soundoff (33 Responses)
  1. victim of republican greed

    Time for the wingnuts to take offense at someone's efforts to curb malpractices by the banking community.

    October 7, 2009 04:41 pm at 4:41 pm |
  2. Susan

    You know, this would not be a problem if people would just pay their bills every month! I don't even know the rate on my credit cards because we pay them in full every month! The economy collapsed partially because people do not live within their means, then they think that bankruptcy will save them. Don't buy what you cannot pay for! Pretty simple!

    October 7, 2009 04:42 pm at 4:42 pm |
  3. gt

    these credit card companies deserve what they get,,, they are worse than acorn,,,,, daivd letterman... and rush limbaugh rolled into one...

    October 7, 2009 04:44 pm at 4:44 pm |
  4. Amazed

    Too late, they have already done it! I have a credit score of over 700 and have never been late on a payment or even close to my limit and Capital One and American Express found it necessary to increase my rate. Needless to say, I have moved those balances to another credit card company with a lower rate than my original card and will pay that balance off never to use them again!

    October 7, 2009 04:44 pm at 4:44 pm |
  5. David in West Virginia

    It's time for Congress to stop the financial institutions' predatory practices on the American public. They want 24 percent interest, yet our money in their accounts yields nothing. I feel sometimes that Congress is in co-hoots with the financial lobby and Americans are getting burnt!!!!

    October 7, 2009 04:48 pm at 4:48 pm |
  6. duffey

    All I can say is DUH!!!!! Why do you think the Republican party is now considered the party of "NO"?

    October 7, 2009 04:52 pm at 4:52 pm |
  7. Peter

    Its called greediness wrapped with ethos of capitalism, screw thy neigbor from left and right and if possible sleep with his wife so that you can get a job! and if the neigbors complain, form a tea party and start shouting socialism!!!!!. Wake up America the politicians are in the pockets of corporations lets start sending them home one by one.

    October 7, 2009 04:57 pm at 4:57 pm |
  8. Brina

    I just got a letter announcing that my rate would be raised for no apparent reason.

    October 7, 2009 04:58 pm at 4:58 pm |
  9. Thomas

    Thank you for trying Betsy ,
    good luck , your on Mission Impossible !

    Your dealing with Legal Loan Sharks .

    October 7, 2009 05:01 pm at 5:01 pm |
  10. Peg, Carrollton, TX

    Why anyone still trusts corporate america is beyond me. IThey have proven over and over and without fear of being stopped that they will gouge us. If we don't regulate industries we are at their mercy. We used to have regs and corporations still made money.

    Now, you have financial bosses (the ones who's greed got us into this position) still getting grossly inflated bonuses. You have health care cost skyrocketing beyond comprehension and you have creepy credit card companies working overtime to gouge people.


    October 7, 2009 05:01 pm at 5:01 pm |
  11. Felonious Monk

    why should they "play" by the rules now?

    October 7, 2009 05:02 pm at 5:02 pm |
  12. Felonious Monk

    What did they expect? Slave owners did not want to give up their slaves. It is silly to think the credit card companies would gain a heart because of this legislation.

    Has anyone outl there seen "Maxed Out, a History of the Credit Card Industry?" This is a fascinating, and depressing documentary.

    If you have seen this documentary then you realize the credit companies want us in debt till the day of our death.

    Dead and debt free. Free at last, thank god all mighty, free at last.

    October 7, 2009 05:06 pm at 5:06 pm |
  13. New Era

    And why did we give these tired old bankers our tax money in the first place. I hope that some gutsy senator or representative would give these big banks a tongue lashing they will never forget. They gave one to the auto execs now lets give one to the bank execs.

    October 7, 2009 05:07 pm at 5:07 pm |
  14. gt

    I am sure vp biden wont let anything happen to his biggest finanical backers..there is a reason they are base in delaware....

    October 7, 2009 05:08 pm at 5:08 pm |
  15. New Era

    Should've let those banks fall to bankruptcy, replaced the old boys and then rewrote the rules.

    October 7, 2009 05:09 pm at 5:09 pm |
  16. Melissa

    Its about time. They should have added this to the credit card bill in the first place, that these companies wouldn't be able to screw people over before the bill takes effect or they'd face heavy governmental fines.

    October 7, 2009 05:21 pm at 5:21 pm |
  17. Alan

    Credit card companies are little different than tobacco companies. No concern at all for the effect of the product on the lives of their customers. I understand businesses exist to make money - but we used to have usury laws in this country and seem of have dropped them all. Cap the limits on credit interest AND fees.

    Capitalism is a good thing. NOT unbridled unregulated capitalism with no oversite.

    October 7, 2009 05:37 pm at 5:37 pm |
  18. Bluebonnet

    Good ol boy obama jumped out with his law on credit card reform BUT, gave them 1 and1/2 years to get their gears ready for it. Meanwhile, they all have hiked our rates, shamelessly!! His new law, if the rate is changed, it only affects new charges after that date but now the companies are hiking rates and it pertains to the old balance too! All of mine have hiked their interest rates, cut the balance maximum, Chase bank by $4,000.00. My payments have NEVER been late and have ALWAYS been more than the minimum payment and my credit score is in the mid-700s. Now, tell me what's fair about that and what our good POTUS can do about it? As usual, we're screwed, again.

    October 7, 2009 05:38 pm at 5:38 pm |
  19. Michael M, Phoenix AZ

    Wells Fargo and Chase continue to raise the rates before the new bill goes into effect.

    October 7, 2009 05:46 pm at 5:46 pm |
  20. Grrr-awful-o

    I'm not a big fan of credit card companies either but this is still a democracy. I don't like the government controlling (or influencing) everything. Especially the free market. It will no longer be a free market if they do. It will be what the old USSR was with 5 year plans and fake wonderful results. And that worked well...

    October 7, 2009 05:59 pm at 5:59 pm |
  21. uncle moneybags

    Financial instutitions have the legal right to charge the interest rate the consumer is willing to pay. Credit cards are suppose to be for short term borrowing,those who run up large unsecured debt on open end credit accounts with no plan on when to payoff that debt have no one to blame but themselves. As far as big business being greedy, it is this so called greed that is making the paychecks of every American, businesses that lose money usually go out of business and the former employees then have no paycheck.

    There are many cases of excess in business (anyone remember a banker who spent millions redoing his office??),but the vast majority of business people/owners want to pay a fair wage for the work received. Lenders want to charge a fair intererst rate for credit extended. But when people try to take advantage of their credit and use it to the maxium there are cost to be incurred for their actions.

    October 7, 2009 06:16 pm at 6:16 pm |
  22. ja

    the credit card companies are merely financial terrorists, no more morality than those who carry out physical violence against people, they use high paid lobbyist to carry out their agenda

    October 7, 2009 06:22 pm at 6:22 pm |
  23. Emma

    There is a lot of hurrying to increase finance charges going on by the credit companies to lead the race for regulation by the Feds. It is shameful that they are so greedy.

    October 7, 2009 06:28 pm at 6:28 pm |
  24. Anonymous

    It's shamefull that when people are hurting most... This happens. The credit card companies should be forced to return to the rates they had when the bill was passed... And right away!!!

    I don't have credit card debt – but some of my credit cards have increased their rates to the mid to high 20% range...

    October 7, 2009 06:30 pm at 6:30 pm |
  25. Objective Thinking

    Yet another example of legislation with good intentions backfiring.

    October 7, 2009 06:30 pm at 6:30 pm |
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