Obama to hold town hall meeting on credit cards

By Jeff Mason

July 15, 2010 Updated May 8, 2009 at 5:01 PM CDT

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. President Barack Obama
will hold a town hall meeting next week in New Mexico to
promote congressional efforts to reform credit card practices,
the White House said Friday.

Banks such as Bank of America Corp, JPMorgan Chase
& Co, Citigroup Inc and Capital One Financial
Corp face a new set of rules issued by the Federal
Reserve last year aimed at reining in abusive credit card
practices.

The rules are to be implemented by July 2010, a date some
lawmakers and consumer groups complain is too far away to help
struggling consumers.

U.S. lawmakers are trying to codify those rules in
legislation and send it to Obama this month to sign into law.
Legislative efforts are aimed at stopping credit card companies
from imposing certain late fees, restricting retroactive rate
increases, as well as other questionable billing practices and
marketing to minors.

The Senate is expected to begin debating Monday on
legislation. The House of Representatives overwhelmingly
approved its own legislation last month.

White House spokesman Robert Gibbs told reporters Friday
that Obama will focus on legislation and urge lawmakers to "get
something done on an issue of tremendous importance to middle
class families.

"For many people credit cards provide an opportunity to
finance purchases," Gibbs said. "But we think there's a more
equitable way to do that and I think that those reforms are on
their way through Congress."

In 2007, Americans used an estimated 694.4 million credit
cards with Visa Inc, MasterCard Inc, American
Express Co and Discover Financial Services
logos, according to industry data.

The American Bankers Association trade group, which
represents many of the biggest credit card issuers, have warned
that legislation could reduce the amount of credit available
and make it more expensive for card users going forward.

"We're in a difficult lending environment," Ken Clayton,
the ABA's senior vice president for card policy, said during a
conference call with reporters.
(Editing by Andre Grenon)

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