In furtherance of the Biden Administration’s “junk fee” agenda, on Thursday, May 9, 2024, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau and the U.S. Department of Transportation will host a hearing on airline and credit card rewards programs. CFPB Director Rohit Chopra and Secretary of Transportation Pete Buttigieg will moderate a discussion with the following industry representatives, labor leaders, and consumer advocates:

  1. Scott DeAngelo, Executive Vice President and Chief Marketing Officer, Allegiant Air
  2. Morgan Harper, Director of Policy and Advocacy, American Economic Liberties Project
  3. Andrew Grimm, President and CEO, Apple Federal Credit Union
  4. Sara Nelson, International President, Association of Flight Attendants
  5. Lukas Johnson, Chief Commercial Officer, Breeze Airways
  6. Erin Witte, Director of Consumer Protection, Consumer Federation of America
  7. Robert Patrick Cooper, Senior Vice President and General Counsel, OneUnited Bank

We will attend the joint hearing and blog about it thereafter. 

Director Chopra’s statements at an industry conference in March indicated that the CFPB was planning to scrutinize credit card reward programs. He told reporters, “We are going to be looking into the credit card rewards market due to an increase in consumer complaints. What the marketing gurus and consultants are telling credit card issuers is that they should focus consumers’ attention on splashy rewards, but then withhold information from them when they’re paying lots of interest and could switch to a lower-rate card, even within the same bank.” We previously blogged in February that the Senate Judiciary Committee sought testimony from the CEOs of Visa, Mastercard, United Airlines, and American Airlines who publicly opposed Senator Dick Durbin’s (D-IL) Credit Card Competition Act, which hearing was not held. In March 2023, the White House convened a bipartisan panel of leading scholars and business leaders to discuss the economic case in support of the Biden Administration’s efforts to crack down on “junk fees” inviting scholars, practitioners and representation from sixteen agencies, including DOT, CFPB, FTC, FCC, and HUD, to discuss “How Junk Fees Distort Competition.”