CUNA Leads Joint Opposition in Government-Mandated Credit Card Interest Cap Bill
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
September 20, 2023
Credit Union National Association (CUNA), with the National Association of Federally-Insured Credit Unions (NAFCU) and six other financial trade organizations, issued a letter opposing the Capping Credit Card Interest Rates Act. The legislation, introduced by Senator Josh Hawley, R-Mo., would have a significant impact on millions of consumers nationwide – making credit more expensive and less accessible.
“This bill would significantly limit consumers’ access to credit cards. It would not only cap credit card interest rates, but would also include all associated fees, penalties, and add-on products, such as warranties, in its arbitrary “all-in” APR calculation,” the joint letter reads. “Including annual fees and other fees in the calculation will cause credit cards to exceed the cap, resulting in the elimination or reduction of valuable credit card features like cash back and other rewards. This cap will also impede innovative credit cards with non-credit features designed to attract underserved groups because even a nominal annual fee could result in an all-in rate that exceeds the cap.”
The multi-trade association letter highlights how the bill’s terms would force consumers to access other sources for short-term financing, including payday lending operations, pawn shops, online entities and other less regulated options.
“Credit cards are the primary vehicles for expanding financial inclusion and are one of the most highly regulated financial products available. Research shows that credit cards are the number one way that people who are ‘credit invisible’ can become credit visible and grow their credit history, helping them gain access to other products like mortgages and auto loans,” the letter reads.
CUNA has consistently expressed concerns with government mandates affecting flexibility and opportunity for people to obtain credit. Federal credit unions are required by law to have credit card rates under 18%. In an earlier letter, CUNA, NAFCU, and the Defense Credit Union Council (DCUC) jointly urged Senate leaders to oppose an amendment based off this legislation to the “minibus” appropriations bill earlier this week.
The other organizations signing the letter with CUNA represent virtually credit unions and banks. These include: National Association of Federally-Insured Credit Unions, Consumer Bankers Association, Bank Policy Insitute, American Financial Services Association, American Bankers Association, Independent Community Bankers of America, and Association of Military Banks of America.
Credit Union National Association (CUNA) advocates on behalf of America’s credit unions, which are owned by more than 135 million consumer members. CUNA, along with its network of affiliated state credit union leagues, delivers unwavering advocacy, continuous professional growth and operational confidence to protect the best interests of all credit unions. For more information about CUNA, visit cuna.org. To find your nearest credit union, visit YourMoneyFurther.com.