WASHINGTON, July 24 -- The Independent Community Bankers of America issued the following news release:
     The Independent Community Bankers of America (ICBA) generally supports the Federal Reserve's proposed changes to credit card disclosure rules under the Truth-in-Lending Act (Regulation Z) as a step that would give consumers easily understood information that can help them properly manage their credit card accounts. However, ICBA said the regulations must balance the benefit for consumers and the cost to issuers, so that smaller community bank issuers and their customers are not unfairly disadvantaged.
     "The growth of the credit card industry over the last 50 years is testament to the vitality of this payment channel," said Robert Rowe, ICBA senior regulatory counsel. "However, new restrictions or regulatory requirements could drive smaller providers away from credit card offerings and cause further concentration in the market. As a result, consumers could have greatly reduced options in the future."
     ICBA supports letting creditors respond electronically to electronic inquiries and using the words "how to avoid paying interest" instead of "grace period." ICBA also supports letting creditors deem an account rejected by the customer when there is no activity in the first 60 days as a useful tool to detect fraud and identity theft. ICBA supports other changes proposed by the Federal Reserve that would better inform consumers about how their credit card accounts operate.
     Because these changes will be coordinated with previously proposed changes, as well as with the pending interagency unfair or deceptive acts or practices (UDAP) proposal, ICBA strongly recommended the Federal Reserve establish a single effective date to alleviate confusion and reduce undue burden.
     "Fundamentally, clear and simple disclosures can only demonstrate that community banks are straightforward and trustworthy lenders," said Rowe.
     Read the ICBA comment letter at www.icba.org.
     TNS MD66-MD66-080725-1704913 18MASHMaria

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