Credit Card Practices: Levin Floor Speech introducing the Stop Unfair Practices in Credit Cards Act: 05/16/07
Mr. President, I am introducing today, along with Senator McCaskill, the Stop Unfair Practices in Credit Cards Act.
Credit cards are a fixture of American family life today. People use them to buy groceries, rent a car, shop on the Internet, pay college tuition, even pay their taxes. In 2005, the average family had 5 credit cards, and American households used nearly 700 million credit cards to buy goods and services worth $1.8 trillion.
Credit cards fuel commerce, facilitate financial planning, and help families deal with emergencies. But credit cards have also contributed to record amounts of household debt. Some credit card issuers have socked families with sky-high interest rates of 25%, 30%, and higher, and have hit consumers with hefty fees for late payments, for exceeding a credit limit, and other transactions. In too many cases, credit card issuers have made it all but impossible for working families to climb out of debt.
That’s why in 2005, the Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations, which I chair and on which Senator McCaskill now serves, initiated an in-depth investigation into unfair and abusive credit card industry practices. In the fall of 2006, the Government Accountability Office released a report I had requested which, for the first time in years, provided a comprehensive examination of the interest rates and fees being charged by credit card companies. Following the release of that report and continuing through today, the Subcommittee has been deluged with calls and letters from Americans expressing anger and frustration at the way they have been treated by their credit card companies and sharing stories of unfair and often abusive practices.
The Subcommittee has been examining these allegations of unfair treatment, and has identified many troubling credit card industry practices that should be restricted or banned. Our first hearing in March focused on industry practices involving grace periods, interest rates, and fees. It revealed a number of unfair, little known, and sometimes abusive credit card practices which prey upon families experiencing financial hardships and squeeze even consumers who pay their credit card bills on time.
The legislation we are introducing today is aimed at stopping abusive credit card practices that trap too many hard-working families in a downward spiral of debt. American families deserve to be treated honestly and fairly by their credit card companies. Our bill would help ensure that fair treatment. Here are just a few things our bill would do. It would stop credit card companies from charging interest on debt that is paid on time. It would crack down on abusive fees, including repeated late fees and over-the-limit fees, as well as fees to pay your bill. It would also prohibit the charging of interest on those fees. It would establish guidelines on interest rate increases, including a cap on penalty interest rate hikes at no more than seven percent. And it would require that increased interest rates apply only to future credit card debt, and not to debt already incurred.
Our bill will be referred to the Senate Banking Committee which has primary jurisdiction over credit card legislation and which has been holding its own hearings on unfair credit card practices. My friend, Senator Dodd, the Committee Chairman, has a long history of fighting credit card abuses; Senator Shelby, the Ranking Republican, as well as many other members of the Committee have also expressed concern about a number of credit card problems. It is my hope that our bill and the legislative record being compiled by our Subcommittee will help the Banking Committee in its deliberations and help build momentum to enact legislation halting the unfair credit card practices that outrage American consumers. Credit card abuses are too harmful to American families, our economy, and our economic future to let these unfair practices continue.
Let me describe the key provisions of our bill in more detail.
No Interest Charges for Debt Paid on Time
The first section of the bill would put an end to an indefensible practice that imposes little known and unfair interest charges on many unsuspecting, responsible consumers. Most credit cards today offer what is called a grace period. Card holders are told that, if they pay their monthly credit card bill during this grace period, they will not be charged interest on the debt for which they are being billed. What many card holders do not realize, however, is that this grace period typically provides protection against interest charges only if their monthly credit card bill is paid in full. If the card holder pays less than one hundred percent of the monthly bill – even if the card holder pays on time – he or she will be charged interest on the entire billed amount, including the portion that was paid by the specified due date.
An example shows why this billing practice is unfair and should be stopped. Suppose a consumer who usually pays his or her credit card account in full and owes no money as of December 1 makes a lot of purchases in December. The consumer gets a credit card bill on January 1 for $5,020, due January 15. Suppose the consumer pays that bill on time, but pays $5,000 instead of the full amount owed.
Most people assume that the next bill would be for the $20 in unpaid debt, plus interest on that $20. But that common sense assumption is wrong. That’s because current industry practice is to charge the consumer interest not only on the $20 that wasn’t paid on time, but also on the $5,000 that was paid on time. Let me say that again. Industry practice is to force the consumer to pay interest on the portion of the debt that was paid on time. In other words, the consumer would pay interest on the entire $5,020 from the first day of the billing month, January 1, until the day the $5,000 payment was made on January 15, compounded daily. So much for a grace period. After that, the consumer would be charged interest on the $20 past due, compounded daily, from January 15 to the end of the month.
The end result would be a February 1 bill that more than doubles the $20 debt. Using an interest rate of 17.99%, for example, in just one month, the $20 debt would rack up interest charges of more than $35.
Charging $35 of interest over one month on a $20 credit card debt is indefensible, especially when applied to a consumer who paid over 90% of their credit card debt on time during the grace period. Our legislation would end this unfair billing practice by amending the Truth in Lending Act to prohibit the charging of interest on any portion of a credit card debt that is paid on time during a grace period. Using our example, this prohibition would bar the charging of interest on the $5,000 that was paid on time, and result in a February balance that reflects what a rational consumer would have expected: the $20 past due, plus interest on the $20 from January 1 to January 31.
No Trailing Interest on Debt Paid on Time and In Full
The second section of our bill would address a related unfair billing practice, which I call “trailing interest.” Charging trailing interest on credit card debt is another widespread, but little known industry practice that squeezes responsible and largely unsuspecting consumers for still more interest charges.
Going back to our example, you might think that once the consumer gets gouged in February by receiving a bill for $55 on a $20 debt, and pays that bill on time and in full, without making any new purchase, that would be the end of that credit card debt for the consumer. But you would be wrong. It would not be the end.
Even if, on February 15, the consumer paid the February 1 bill in full and on time – all $55 – the next bill would likely have an additional interest charge related to the $20 debt. In this case, the charge would reflect interest that would have accumulated on the $55 from February 1 to 15, which is the time from when the bill was sent to the day it was paid. The total interest charge in our example would be about 38 cents. While some credit card issuers will waive trailing interest if the next month’s bill is less than $1, a common industry practice is to fold the 38 cents into the next bill if a consumer makes a new purchase.
Now 38 cents isn’t much in the grand scheme of things. That may be why many consumers don’t notice this extra interest charge or bother to fight it. Even if someone had questions about the amount of interest on a bill, most consumers would be hard pressed to understand how the amount was calculated, much less whether it was correct. But by nickel and diming tens of millions of consumer accounts with trailing interest charges, credit card issuers reap large profits.
This little known billing practice, which squeezes consumers for a few more cents on the dollar, and targets responsible card holders who pay their bills on time and in full, goes too far. If a consumer pays a credit card bill on time and in full – paying one hundred percent of the amount specified by the date specified in the billing statement — it is unfair to charge that consumer still more interest on the debt that was just paid. Our legislation would put an end to trailing interest by prohibiting credit card issuers from adding interest charges to a credit card debt which the consumer paid on time and in full in response to a billing statement.
Unfair Unilateral Interest Rate Hikes
A third problem examined by the Subcommittee involves a widespread industry practice in which credit card issuers claim the right to unilaterally change the terms of a credit card agreement at any time for any reason with only a 15-day notice to the consumer under the Truth in Lending Act.
As the National Consumer Law Center testified at our hearing, this practice means that smart shoppers who choose a credit card after comparing a variety of card options are continually vulnerable to a change-in-terms notice that alters the favorable terms they selected, and provides them with only 15 days to accept the changes or find an alternative. By asserting the right to make unilateral changes to credit card terms on short notice, credit card issuers undermine not only the bargaining power of individual consumers, but also principles of fair market competition. Such unilateral changes are particularly unfair when they alter material terms in a credit card agreement such as the interest rate applicable to extensions of credit.
That’s why our bill would impose two types of limits on credit card interest rate hikes. First, for consumers who comply with the terms of their credit card agreements, the bill would prohibit a credit card issuer from unilaterally hiking an interest rate that was represented to, and included in the disclosures provided, to a consumer under the Truth in Lending Act, unless the consumer affirmatively agreed in writing to the increase at the time it is proposed. This prohibition is intended to protect responsible consumers who play by the rules from a sudden hike in their interest rate for no apparent reason – a complaint that the Subcommittee has heard all too often. Under our bill, issuers would no longer be able to unilaterally hike the interest rates of card holders who play by the rules.
The bill’s second limit would apply to consumers who, for whatever reason, failed to comply with the terms of their credit card agreement, perhaps by paying late or exceeding the credit limit. In that circumstance, credit card issuers would be permitted to impose a penalty interest rate on the account, but the bill would place a cap on how high that penalty interest rate could go.
Specifically, the bill would limit any such penalty rate hike to no more than a 7% increase above the interest rate in effect before the penalty rate was imposed. That means a 10% rate could rise no higher than 17%, and a 15% rate could not exceed 22%. This type of interest rate limit is comparable to the caps that today operate in many adjustable mortgages. The effect of the credit card cap would be to prohibit penalty interest rates from dramatically increasing the interest rate imposed on the card holder, as happened in cases examined by the Subcommittee where credit card interest rates jumped from 10% or 15% to as much as 32%. Penalty interest rate hikes that double or triple existing interest rates are simply unreasonable and unfair.
If a credit card account were opened with a low introductory interest rate followed by a higher interest rate after a specified period of time, it is intended that the penalty rate cap proposed in the bill would apply to each of those disclosed rates individually. For example, suppose the credit card account had a 0% introductory rate for six months and a 12% rate after that. Suppose further that, during the six-month introductory period, the card holder exceeded the credit limit. The bill would allow the card issuer to impose a penalty interest rate of up to 7% for the rest of the six month period. Once the six month period ended, it is intended that the 12% rate would take effect. If the consumer were to again exceed the limit, it is intended that any penalty rate imposed upon the account be no greater than 19%.
If a card issuer were to analyze an account and conclude that a penalty rate increase of up to 7% would be insufficient to protect against the risk of default on the account, the issuer could choose to reduce the credit limit on the account or cancel the account altogether. If the card issuer chose to cancel the account, it is intended that the consumer would retain the right to pay off any debt on the account using the interest rate that was in effect when the debt was incurred.
The point of the bill’s penalty interest rate cap is to stop penalty interest rate hikes which are disproportional; which too often stick families with sky-high interest rates of 25%, 30%, and even 32%; and which too often make it virtually impossible for working American families to climb out of debt.
Apply Interest Rate Increases Only to Future Debt
Still another troubling practice involving credit card interest rate hikes is the problem of retroactive application. Industry practice today is to apply an increased interest rate not only to new debt incurred by the card holder, but also to previously incurred debt.
Retroactive application of a higher interest rate means that pre-existing credit card debt suddenly costs a consumer much more to repay. Take, for example, a $3,000 credit card debt that a consumer was paying down each month with timely payments.
Suddenly, the card holder falls ill, misses a payment or pays it late, and the card issuer increases the interest rate from 15% to 22%. If applied to the existing $3,000 debt, that higher rate would require the card holder to make a much steeper minimum monthly payment and pay much more interest than originally planned. That is often enough to sink a working family into a deepening spiral of debt from which they cannot recover.
By making it a common practice to institute after-the-fact interest rate hikes for existing credit card debt — in effect unilaterally changing the terms of an existing loan — the credit card industry has unfairly positioned itself to reap greater profits at consumers’ expense. Our bill would fight back by limiting the retroactive application of interest rate hikes to lessen the financial impact on American households. Specifically, our bill would provide that interest rate hikes could be applied only to future credit card debt and not to any credit card debt incurred prior to the rate increase. Instead, any earlier debt would continue to accrue interest at the rate previously in effect.
Unfair Practices Related to Fees
The first set of provisions in our bill addresses unfair practices related to interest rates. The next set of provisions targets unfair practices related to fees imposed on card holders by credit card companies.
The need for pro-consumer fee protections is illustrated by the story of Wes Wannemacher of Ohio, a witness featured at the Subcommittee’s March hearing. In 2001 and 2002, Mr. Wannemacher charged about $3,200 on a new Chase credit card to pay for expenses mostly related to his wedding. Over the next six years, he paid about $6,300 toward that debt, yet in February 2007, Chase said that he still owed them about $4,400.
How could Mr. Wannemacher pay nearly double his original credit card debt and still owe $4,400? As he explained in his testimony, in addition to repaying the original debt of $3,200, Mr. Wannemacher was socked with $4,900 in interest charges, $1,100 in late fees, and 47 over-limit fees totaling $1,500, despite going over his $3,000 credit limit by a total of $200. These facts show that Mr. Wannemacher paid $2,600 in fees on a $3,200 debt. In addition, those fees were added to his outstanding credit card balance, and he was charged interest on the fee amounts, increasing his debt by hundreds if not thousands of additional dollars. There’s something so wrong with this picture, that Chase didn’t even defend its treatment of the account at the Subcommittee hearing; instead, Chase forgave the $4,400 debt that it said was still owing on the Wannemacher credit card.
No Interest Charges on Fees
It is no secret that credit card companies are making a great deal of money off the fees they are imposing on consumers. According to GAO, fee income now produces about 10 percent of all income obtained by credit card issuers. The GAO report which I commissioned on this subject identified a host of different fees that have become common practice, including fees for transferring balances, making a late payment, exceeding a credit limit, paying a bill by telephone, and exchanging foreign currency. According to GAO, late fees now average $34 per month and over-limit fees average $31 per month, with some of these fees climbing as high as $39 per month. As Mr. Wannemacher discovered, these hefty fees are not only added to the credit card’s outstanding balance, they also incur interest. The higher the fees climb, the higher the balances owed, and the higher the interest charges on top of that.
Charging interest on money borrowed is certainly justified, but squeezing additional dollars from consumers by charging interest on transaction fees goes too far. Steep fees already deepen household debt from credit cards; those fees should not also generate interest income for the credit card issuer. Our bill would ban this industry-wide practice by prohibiting credit card issuers from charging or collecting interest on the fees imposed on consumers.
Over-the-Limit Fee Restrictions
Mr. Wannemacher exceeded the $3,000 limit on his credit card on three occasions in 2001 and 2002 for a total of $200. Over the following six years, however, he was charged over-the-limit fees on 47 occasions totaling about $1,500. In other words, Chase tried to collect over-the-limit fees from Mr. Wannemacher that were seven times larger than the amount he went over the limit.
At our March hearing, Chase did not attempt to defend the 47 over-the-limit fees it imposed; instead, it announced that it was changing its policy and would join with others in the industry in imposing no more than three over-the-limit fees in a row on a credit card account with an outstanding balance that exceeded the credit limit. While Chase’s voluntary change in policy is welcome, it doesn’t go far enough in curbing abusive practices related to over-the-limit fees.
First, if a credit card issuer approves the extension of credit that allows the card holder to exceed the account’s established credit limit, the issuer should be allowed to impose only one over-the-limit fee for that credit extension. One fee for one violation – especially when the card issuer facilitated the violation by approving the excess credit charge.
Second, the fee should be imposed only if the account balance is over the credit limit at the end of the billing cycle. If a card holder exceeds the limit in the middle of the billing cycle and then takes prompt action to reduce the balance below the limit, perhaps by making a payment or obtaining a credit for returning a purchase, there is no injury to the creditor and no justification for an over-the-limit fee.
Third, a credit card issuer should impose an over-the-limit fee only when an action taken by the card holder causes the credit limit to be exceeded, and not when a penalty imposed by the card issuer causes the excess charge. The card issuer should not be able to pile penalty upon penalty, such as by assessing a late fee on an account and then, if the late fee pushes the credit card balance over the credit limit, also imposing an over-the-limit fee.
In addition, the bill would require credit card issuers to offer consumers the option of establishing a true credit limit on their account – a credit limit that could not be exceeded, because the account would be programmed to refuse approval of any extension of credit over the established limit. In too many cases, credit card issuers no longer provide consumers with the option of having a fixed credit limit, preferring instead to enable all of their card holders to exceed their credit limits only to be penalized by a hefty fee, added interest, and, possibly, a penalty interest rate.
Pay-to-Pay and Currency Exchange Fees
There’s more. Another unfair but common fee is what I call the “pay-to-pay fee.” It is the $5 to $15 fee that many issuers charge consumers to pay their credit card bill on time by using the telephone. To me, charging folks a fee to pay their bills is a travesty. My bill would prohibit a credit card issuer from charging a separate fee to allow a credit card holder to pay all or part of a credit card balance.
Another fee that has raised eyebrows is the one charged by credit card issuers to exchange dollars into or from a foreign currency. A number of issuers today charge an amount equal to two percent of the amount of currency being exchanged in addition to a one-percent “conversion fee” charged by Visa or Master Card, for a total of three percent. Our bill responds by requiring foreign currency exchange fees to reasonably reflect the actual costs incurred by the creditor to perform the currency exchange, and requiring regulators to ensure compliance with that standard.
Fair Treatment of Card Holder Payments
In addition to unfair practices involving interest rates and fees, the Subcommittee investigation uncovered several unfair industry practices involving how credit card holder payments are applied to satisfy finance charges and other credit card debt. One such practice that has caught the Subcommittee’s attention is the industry-wide practice of applying consumer payments first to the balances with the lowest interest rates.
Right now, a single credit card account often carries balances subject to multiple interest rates. Credit cards typically use one interest rate for purchases, another for cash advances, and a third for balance transfers. Many card issuers also offer new customers low introductory interest rates, such as 0 or 1%, but limit these “come on” rates to a short time period or to a balance transferred from another card. Moreover, many of these interest rates may vary over time, since it is a common practice to offer variable interest rates that rise and fall according to a specified rate or index.
When a consumer payment is made, credit card issuers currently have complete discretion on how to apply that payment to the various balances bearing different interest rates. Consumers are typically given no option to direct where their payments are applied. Today, virtually all credit card issuers apply a consumer payment first to the balance with the lowest interest rate. After that balance is paid off, card issuers apply the payment to the balance with the next lowest interest rate, and so on.
This payment practice clearly favors creditors over consumers. It allows the card issuers to direct payments first to the balances that provide them with the lowest returns, and minimize payments to the balances bearing the highest interest rates so those balances can accumulate more interest for a longer period. Consumers who want to pay off a cash advance bearing a 20% interest rate, for example, are told that they cannot make that payment until they first pay off all other balances with a lower interest rate.
Our bill would replace this unfair industry-wide practice with a pro-consumer approach. Reversing current industry practice, the bill would require card holder payments to be applied first to the balance bearing the highest interest rate, and then to each successive balance bearing the next highest rate, until the payment is used up. The bill would also require credit card issuers to apply card holder payments in the most effective way to minimize the imposition of any fees or interest charges to the account.
In addition, the bill would prohibit credit card issuers from imposing late fees on consumers if the issuer was itself responsible for the delay in crediting the payment. For example, if a card issuer changed the mailing address for payments, had to shut down its mail sorting equipment for repairs, or mistakenly routed a consumer payment to the wrong department, the issuer would not be allowed to assess a late fee on the card holder for the resulting late payment. Instead, if the card issuer caused the late payment, it would be barred from assessing a late fee on the consumer.
In addition to provisions to improve practices related to interest rates, fees, and consumer payments, the bill would add two new definitions to the Truth in Lending Act, intended to further address concerns related to unfair credit card practices.
The first definition involves use of the term, “prime rate.” Many credit card issuers today use variable interest rates that are linked to the “prime rate” or “prime interest rate” and vary over time. For example, a disclosure may indicate that a credit card will bear an interest rate equal to the prime rate plus a specified number of percentage points. Since the 1950s, the term “prime rate” has been commonly understood to mean the lowest interest rate offered by U.S. banks to their most creditworthy borrowers. That is how the term is defined, for example, in Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary.
The problem, however, is that no current statute or regulation defines the prime rate referenced in credit card disclosures under the Truth in Lending Act, and some card issuers have stated expressly that the prime rate used in credit card agreements does not necessarily match the lowest interest rates they provide to their most creditworthy borrowers. Litigation has also arisen between card holders and card issuers as to what is meant by the term and whether card holders are being misled. See, e.g., Lum v. Bank of America, 361 F.3d 217 (3d Cir. 2004).
To remedy this gap in the law, the bill would require credit card disclosures under the Truth in Lending Act that reference the prime rate to use the bank prime loan rate published by the Federal Reserve Board. This published rate is widely accepted in the financial community as an accurate depiction of the lowest interest rate offered by U.S. banks to their most creditworthy borrowers, and the rate is readily available to the public on the Federal Reserve website. By mandating use of this published rate, the bill will ensure that consumers are not deceived by a credit card issuer using a misleading definition of the commonly used term “prime rate.”
The second definition added by the bill to the Truth in Lending Act involves specifying the “primary federal regulator” of a credit card issuer. Today, many credit card issuers are federally chartered or regulated banks subject to one or more federal bank regulators. The bill would make it clear that when a card issuer is a federal bank, its primary federal regulator is the same primary regulator assigned to the bank under federal banking law. The provision would also make it clear that the primary federal regulator is responsible for overseeing the bank’s credit card operations, ensuring compliance with credit card statutes and regulations, and enforcing the prohibition against unfair or deceptive acts or practices in the Federal Trade Commission Act. Another provision in the bill would make it clear that federal regulators are expected to conduct at least annual audits to ensure card issuer compliance with the statutes and regulations seeking to ensure fair and effective credit card operations.
Improved Data Collection
The next section of the bill would improve current credit card data collection efforts. Right now, credit card issuers file periodic reports with the Federal Reserve providing information about credit card interest rates and profits. This data plays a critical role in credit card oversight efforts, as well as financial and economic analyses related to consumer spending and household debt. The bill would strengthen current data collection efforts by requiring more specific information on interest rates and fees. For example, current data reports cannot be used to determine how many credit card accounts have interest rates of 25% or greater, what types of fees are imposed on consumers, or how many card holders are affected by such interest rates and fees. The new bill would ensure that regulators, credit card users, and the public have the information needed to answer those basic questions.
The bill would also require the development of credit card industry-wide estimates of the approximate relative income derived from interest rates, fees imposed on card holders, fees imposed on merchants, and any other material source of income. GAO provided this information for the first time in its 2006 report, estimating that the credit card industry now derives about 70% of its income from interest charges, 20% from interchange fees imposed on merchants, and 10% from fees imposed on consumers. This valuable information should continue to be collected so that regulators, credit card users, and the public gain a more informed understanding of the credit card industry.
The bill’s data collection requirements are largely modeled upon and intended to replicate key interest rate, fee, and revenue data presented by GAO in its 2006 report, “Credit Cards: Increased Complexity in Rates and Fees Heightens Need for More Effective Disclosures to Consumers.” Credit card experts were also consulted to determine what information would be most helpful to strengthen credit card oversight.
The final provision in the bill would provide a six-month transition period for credit card issuers to implement the bill’s provisions.
Credit card issuers like to say that they are engaged in a risky business, lending unsecured debt to millions of consumers, and that’s why they have to set interest rates so high and impose so many fees. But the data shows that, typically, 95 to 97% of U.S. card holders pay their bills. And it is clear that credit card operations are enormously profitable. For the last decade, credit card issuers have reported year after year of solid profits, maintained their position as the most profitable sector in the consumer lending field, and reported consistently higher rates of return than commercial banks. Credit card issuers make such a hefty profit that they sent out 8 billion pieces of mail last year soliciting people to sign up.
With profits like those, credit card issuers can afford to stop treating American families unfairly. They can give up charging interest on debt that was paid on time, give up charging consumers a fee to pay their bills, give up hiking interest rates from 15% to 32%, and give up imposing repeated over-the-limit fees for a single over-the-limit purchase. As one Michigan businessman expressed it to the Subcommittee, “I don’t blame the credit card issuers for putting me into debt, but I do blame them for keeping me there.”
Some argue that Congress doesn’t need to ban unfair credit card practices; they contend that improved disclosure alone will empower consumers to seek out better deals. Sunlight can be a powerful disinfectant, which is why I have strongly urged the Federal Reserve Board to expedite its regulatory effort to strengthen credit card disclosure and help consumers understand and compare how various credit cards work. But credit cards have become such complex financial products that even improved disclosure will frequently not be enough to curb the abuses — first because some practices are so complex that consumers can’t easily understand them, and second because better disclosure does not always lead to greater market competition, especially when virtually an entire industry is using and benefiting from practices that disadvantage consumers.
So when we find credit card practices that are inherently unfair, consumers are often best served, not by greater disclosure, but by stopping the unfair practices that take advantage of them. Among those practices identified in this bill are unfair interest charges that squeeze consumers who pay their credit card debt on time; unilateral and retroactive interest rate hikes that deepen and prolong credit card debt; unreasonable fees; and payment allocation practices that prevent consumers from paying off the credit card debts bearing the highest interest rates first.
Congress needs to enact pro-consumer legislation that puts an end to unfair credit card practices. I am afraid that these practices are too entrenched, too profitable to the credit card companies, and too immune to consumer pressure for the companies to change them on their own. Our bill offers measures that would combat a host of unfair practices that plague consumers and unfairly deepen and prolong their debt. I look forward to working with my colleagues to address these problems.
I ask unanimous consent to have a summary of the bill printed in the Congressional Record following my remarks.