Brown Pushes for Credit Card Reforms

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Brown Pushes for Credit Card Reforms

Youngstown Business Journal – As many Mahoning Valley residents struggle to keep up with credit card debt, U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown is proposing new guidelines for credit card agreements that would be easier for borrowers to understand.

“With more than 500 million credit cards in circulation, with rising credit card debt, it’s time to level the playing field,” Brown, D-Ohio, said. According to data released by his office, the average credit card delinquency rate is 1.4% in Columbiana County, 1.1% in Mahoning County and 1.4% in Trumbull County. The Ohio county with the highest delinquency rate is Meigs County, at 2.3%.

Brown was joined on a conference call Wednesday with reporters by Raj Date, associate director of the U.S. Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, and used the occasion to press for confirmation of Richard Cordray, former Ohio attorney general and treasurer, as director of the agency.

Credit cards represent nearly $700 billion in outstanding household debt nationwide, Date reported, and right now there is “confusion” in the credit card market. According to a J.D. Power survey he cited, two-thirds of cardholders feel they don’t understand the terms of their card agreements.

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau was created to ensure the financial crisis of three years ago doesn’t happen again, and one of its causes was that consumers took on loans tthey “fundamentally did not understand.” Date said.

“Our approach to redesigning the contract is simple: We’ve used plain language, we’ve taken away the fine print and legalese, and we’ve reordered the most important information so it’s easy for consumers to see,” he explained. Some of the terminology and definitions taken out of the agreements themselves would be on a separate paper or made available online.

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