CFPB Will Consider Reversing CARD Act’s 'Ability to Pay' Provision
Gail Hillebrand, CFPB’s associate director of consumer education and engagement, testified before the House Financial Services Subcommittee on Financial Institutions and Consumer Credit that, presuming it is consistent with the CARD Act, the bureau could reverse the so-called “ability to pay” provision that prevents non-working spouses from obtaining credit on their own.
Chairman Shelley Moore Capito (R-W.Va.) and Ranking Member Carolyn Maloney (D-N.Y.) said during the Wednesday hearing the current rule, included in Regulation Z, has an adverse impact on stay-at-home parents.
Capito said the rule is particularly troublesome for military spouses, because deployed service members can’t sign credit applications. Maloney said the rule also makes it difficult for spouses in divorce or abuse situations to build credit histories or qualify for jobs.
NAFCU President/CEO Fred Becker, in advance of the hearing, noted concerns in a letter to the subcommittee about the rule’s negative impact on one-income households. He said it will “undoubtedly” have an impact on credit unions and their members.
The CFPB reopened the rule for comment in December, two months after it took effect. Hillebrand told lawmakers the bureau is going through some 500 comment letters received in response to that notice and will make a decision this summer.