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Obama to hold town hall meeting on credit cards

WASHINGTON, May 8 (Reuters) - U.S. President Barack Obama will hold a town hall meeting next week in New Mexico to promote congressional efforts to reform credit card practices, the White House said on Friday.

Banks such as Bank of America Corp BAC.N>, JPMorgan Chase & Co JPM.N, Citigroup Inc C.N and Capital One Financial Corp COF.N face a new set of rules issued by the Federal Reserve last year aimed at reining in abusive credit card practices.

The rules are to be implemented by July 2010, a date some lawmakers and consumer groups complain is too far away to help struggling consumers.

U.S. lawmakers are trying to codify those rules in legislation and send it to Obama this month to sign into law. Legislative efforts are aimed at stopping credit card companies from imposing certain late fees, restricting retroactive rate increases, as well as other questionable billing practices and marketing to minors.

The Senate is expected to begin debating on Monday on legislation. The House of Representatives overwhelmingly approved its own legislation last month.

White House spokesman Robert Gibbs told reporters on Friday that Obama will focus on legislation and urge lawmakers to “get something done on an issue of tremendous importance to middle class families.

“For many people credit cards provide an opportunity to finance purchases,” Gibbs said. “But we think there’s a more equitable way to do that and I think that those reforms are on their way through Congress.”

In 2007, Americans used an estimated 694.4 million credit cards with Visa Inc V.N, MasterCard Inc MA.N, American Express Co AXP.N and Discover Financial Services DFS.N logos, according to industry data.

The American Bankers Association trade group, which represents many of the biggest credit card issuers, have warned that legislation could reduce the amount of credit available and make it more expensive for card users going forward.

“We’re in a difficult lending environment,” Ken Clayton, the ABA’s senior vice president for card policy, said during a conference call with reporters. (Editing by Andre Grenon)