Now is the time to level the playing field between credit
issuers and credit card borrowers and curtail the industry’s worst abuses.  In Congress, members from both sides of the
aisle have co-sponsored a bill to do just this––including Illinois
Representative Luis Gutierrez of the House Financial Services Committee.

Bait and switch clauses, double-cycle billing, and
cut-off times designed to rack up late fees––these are the practices that a
recent survey showed as many as 90 percent of consumers found unfair.

In fact, when the Federal Reserve Board considered
adopting rules to prohibit many of these practices, over 12,000 consumers took
the time to sound off in favor of strong consumer protections.

Credit card delinquencies have reached their highest
level since 1993.  One in five households
is expected to use their credit card to pay at least a portion of their heating
bill.  While these figures suggest a
sense of urgency, many in Congress prefer a different route.  Rather than pass protections that have seen
over two years of public comment and deliberations, they have voiced support
for drawing out the process even longer.

This legislation would not cap interest rates, cut off
credit options, or ban products.  Rather,
it sets out basic ground rules for a fair transaction, and ensures an equal
exchange of information between the borrower and lender.   

Credit card borrowers in the Chicago region are subject to the same abuses
as borrowers all over the country and deserve protection from unfair and deceptive
practices that can trip up borrowers even after the most thorough reading of
the fine print.  We respectfully request
that the remaining House Financial Services Committee members from the Chicago
region––Representatives Melissa Bean, Judy Biggert, and Peter Roskam––lend
their support to this national effort and support HR 5244 as written.