Thursday, April 7, 2011

Improved Debt Settlement Bill Passes Out of Senate Finance-Call Senators TODAY

The Senate Finance Committee, responding to consumer advocates concerns, has passed an amended debt settlement bill out of Senate Finance. House bill 1022 retains important consumer protection provisions-it expands the scope of the federal rule prohibiting debt settlement firms from collecting upfront fees to include interstate, intrastate, internet, and face-to-face meetings. The bill also clarifies when the lawyers who settle debts will be regulated. Finally, the bill requires debt settlement firms to register with the Commissioner of Financial Regulation and to report annually on their performance.

In 2013, the Commissioner on Financial Regulation and the Consumer Protection Division of the Attorney General's office will offer recommendations on licensing and fee caps.

Although MCRC would clearly prefer a bill that sets reasonable fee caps on debt settlement firms, we did not want to codify the debt enrolled fee structure in earlier versions of the bill which contained such high fee caps that the fees could wipe out any consumer savings.  This bill expands consumer protection and will allow regulators to work with consumer advocates and the industry to set appropriate caps based on data. We support this bill.

The bill will be voted on by the full Senate tomorrow (Friday)! 

PLEASE CALL YOUR SENATORS AND URGE THEM TO PASS HB 1022. Find your senator's contact information here: 

Call or email Members of the Economic Matters Committee and urge them to support HB 1022

Dereck Davis 410-841-3519
David Rudolph 410-841-3444
Charles Barkley 410-841-3001
Ben Barnes 410-841-3046
Aisha Braveboy 410-841-3707
Emmett Burns 410-841-3352
Brian Feldman 410-841-3186
Jeanne Haddaway-Ricio 410-841-3429
Hattie Harrison 410-841-3486
Stephen Hershey 410-841-3543
Tom Hucker 410-841-3474
Richard Impallaria 410-841-3334
Sally Jameson 410-841-3337
Benjamin Kramer 410-841-3485
Mary Ann Love 410-841-3511
Brian McHale 410-841-3319
Warren E. Miller 410-841-3582
Joseph Minnick 410-841-3332
John Olszewski 410-841-3458
Steven Shuh 410-841-3206
Kelly Schulz 410-841-3080
Donna Stifler 410-841-3278
Michael Vaughn 410-841-3691


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