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Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Keating: Flawed Rule Threatens Stay-at-Home Spouses

The CFPB should revise a flawed Federal Reserve-issued rule that threatens to send stay-at-home moms back to the 1960s, ABA President and CEO Frank Keating said yesterday in a Huffington Post op-ed piece.

The Fed rule -- intended to clarify parts of the agency’s final regulations implementing the Credit Card Act -- requires that applicants have “independent” income to get a credit card, prohibiting consideration of household income. “This interpretation is at odds not only with the plain meaning of the Credit Card Act, but also the Equal Credit Opportunity Act passed nearly 40 years ago,” Keating wrote.

He explained that not permitting household income to be considered means stay-at-home spouses have great difficulty obtaining credit in their own name and building a credit history without spousal consent. This impairs not only those who haven't been in the work force since marriage, but also careerists who take a hiatus to raise a family.

Keating noted that the CFPB, which now enforces the rule, has asked for public comments on whether it should be revised to allow stay-at-home spouses to have household income considered for credit card applications. “Clearly, it should. … The regulation should be consistent with congressional intent and fair to our nation’s stay-at-home spouses. It is the only right thing to do,” Keating said.

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