Top executives of credit card companies will meet Obama administration officials next Thursday at the White House, as the industry faces the possibility of legislation aimed at curbing deceptive practices, sources familiar with the plans said.
The meeting will discuss transparency in the credit card companies' lending practices and interest rates, one of the sources said on Thursday.
U.S. lawmakers have expressed anger that the same banks with big credit card operations charge high interest rates and fees while getting a U.S. government bailout from the taxpayers who use these credit cards.
Credit card legislation moving through Congress seeks to curb hidden fees, deceptive billing practices and excessive interest rates.
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On the eve of the White House meeting, the House Financial Services Committee is planning to consider credit card legislation aimed at reforming the industry, which is facing massive pressure to lessen debt burdens on cardholders, one source said.
Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner, National Economic Council Director Lawrence Summers and other officials are planning to attend the meeting, but U.S. President Barack Obama is not, the sources said.
The sources asked not to be identified because the White House has not announced the meeting.
An administration official, speaking on condition of anonymity, confirmed that the meeting will take place but said Geithner's attendance is not confirmed.
It's basically just a part of our normal outreach to different groups to hear some of their concerns, the official said.
Executives from Bank of America Corp
Spokesmen at Discover Financial
Credit card practices have been the target of widespread criticism from federal regulators and lawmakers from both political parties.
Facing a tough reelection battle in Connecticut, Senate Banking Committee Chairman Christopher Dodd has been touting his credit card legislation, which was narrowly supported by the panel last month.
Congressional aides have said that credit card reform, which Obama sought during his presidential campaign, could be wrapped into an overall regulatory reform package in the Congress.
Aides have said the full House of Representatives could vote on legislation within weeks after it is approved by the committee.
In December the Federal Reserve adopted a set of rules aimed at curbing unfair and deceptive practices by credit card companies.
The Fed gave companies until July 2010 to implement the changes but lawmakers want to codify restrictions on credit card practices into law.
(Additional reporting by John Poirier and Ross Colvin)
(Reporting by Karey Wutkowski and Patrick Rucker; Editing by Tim Dobbyn, Steve Orlofsky, Richard Chang)