The House Financial Services Committee approved a bill by voice vote Thursday from Chairman Barney Frank and Rep. Carolyn Maloney, D-N.Y. that would speed up enactment of recent credit card reform that bans double-cycle billing and universal default and limits fees.
During debate, the committee approved two amendments by voice vote from Rep. Brad Sherman, D-Calif., that would exempt small issuers with two million accounts or less and prepaid card issuers from the reform's expedited implementation.
The legislation would move up the card standards to Dec. 1 from Feb. 22, but it is not expected to become law because the Senate is unlikely to follow suit. The bill's passage in committee increases pressure on the Federal Reserve Board, which is in charge of carrying out the regulations, and the card companies themselves to speed up implementation.
Bank of America Corp. announced earlier this month it would stop raising rates before the new law goes into effect.
Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke's objections to speeding up the reform's implementation are weak, Frank said referring to a letter sent by the central bank to the Hill opposing the bill Wednesday.
"I think they are just going to have to work a little harder," he told reporters about the Fed. "His main objection is they asked people for comments and the comments aren't due until Nov. 20 but I would just call them up and say can you get those comments in a couple weeks earlier. My guess is they will."