|FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:||CONTACT: CHRISTI HARLAN|
|Thursday, May 25, 2000||202-224-0894|
Sen. Phil Gramm, chairman of the Senate Committee on Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs, made the following comments today at a hearing of the Subcommittee on Financial Institutions on the issue of competition in the credit card industry:
"This issue came up last year while we were working on financial services modernization. There was some thought at that time of considering the potential of legislating in this area as part of financial services modernization.
"I felt at that point, with that important bill, that we were not sufficiently informed to make a decision. And as a result, I made a commitment, based on the concern being raised at that time, that we would hold hearings.
"This issue will go to trial later this summer. I think it was very important that we fulfill the commitment for a hearing and do it before the trial started and not during the trial.
"The courts basically are going to make a decision about whether there has been a violation of antitrust laws. The decision the committee has to make is what is in the public interest: what promotes the well-being of people who use credit cards, as we all do – wise people paying their bills at the end of the month, and people who are not so wise paying very high interest rates.
"We all in one way or another use these credit cards. Competition, availability, lower costs, better service, higher quality service are things we all care about and should care about because the plain truth is that credit cards have become money."