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House wants CFPB to study ability-to-pay rule

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau is being pressured by members of Congress to study the impact of the ability-to-pay rules of the Credit CARD Act.

A bipartisan group of 25 House members, including leaders on the Financial Services Committee, sent a letter to CFPB Acting Director Raj Date last week asking the bureau to determine whether or not the Federal Reserve’s language on ability-to-pay that created a uniform standards for all consumers contradicts the Congressional intent of the CARD Act, according to ABA.com.

In the letter, the House members wrote that issuers have informed them of a negative impact on the ability of stay-at-home spouses to obtain credit. If the bureau confirms this during the study, the letter then instructs them to amend the rule to correct any problems it has found.

“This is a quality of life issue,” Congressman Steve Stivers (R-Ohio) said.”Stay-at-home parents deserve equal access to credit and should not be penalized for their family’s decision to have one parent stay at home.”

“We believe that especially in light of the approaching holidays and the increasing credit card usage, this study should begin as soon as possible,” the letter said, according to ABA.com.

In June, the Fed agreed that a study on ability-to-pay would be helpful to determine unintended consequences of the rule. It also said it would be willing to work with the CFPB and share its experience and knowledge in the area.

“The CFPB has a unique perspective and can look across the credit card issuing industry to determine any potential negative impact,” the letter said, according to ABA.com. “Through your consumer complaint line you can also learn first-hand from those directly affected. We believe that a study is both timely and necessary and we would urge the Bureau to begin this process before the end of the year.”

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