Senators Seek Tougher Credit Card Penalty Cap
Even as another wave of financial reform legislation reaches the President's desk, two Senators have warned Washington leaders that new credit card rules don't go far enough to protect Americans. Democrats Charles Schumer and Tom Harkin published an open letter to Federal Reserve Board Chairman Ben Bernanke, citing disappointment that the Credit CARD Act of 2009 still allows banks to double or triple interest rates when a cardholders falls sixty or more days behind on minimum payments.

Harkin and Schumer suggested that they may draft more specific legislation to scale back penalty interest rates if the Fed does not use its own power to do so. Some credit card industry observers suggest that recent rules give Bernanke the ability to set more stringent caps on penalties. However, the Fed chief has publicly stated that he interprets delinquency finance charges as being outside his body's authority.

Schumer's previous advocacy for borrowers' rights have won him unusual recognition in the banking industry. Credit card issuers often refer to the government-mandated information block on new credit card applications as the "Schumer Box."

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Joe Taylor Jr. is an internal business consultant for a Fortune 500 company, who writes about finance, culture, and design. He holds a Bachelor of Science in Communications from Ithaca College.