June 18, 2005: Headlines: Figures: COS - Dominican Republic: Politics: Congress: Credit: Credit Cards: Houston Chronicle: Sen. Chris Dodd, D-Conn., has been pushing for years to pass legislation that would mandate that credit card companies include information in customer statements about how long it would take to discharge a debt by making only minimum payments and how much it would cost in interest

Peace Corps Online: Directory: Dominican Republic: RPCV Chris Dodd (Dominican Republic) : RPCV Chris Dodd: Archived Stories: June 18, 2005: Headlines: Figures: COS - Dominican Republic: Politics: Congress: Credit: Credit Cards: Houston Chronicle: Sen. Chris Dodd, D-Conn., has been pushing for years to pass legislation that would mandate that credit card companies include information in customer statements about how long it would take to discharge a debt by making only minimum payments and how much it would cost in interest

By Admin1 (admin) (pool-151-196-245-37.balt.east.verizon.net - 151.196.245.37) on Saturday, June 25, 2005 - 6:35 am: Edit Post

Sen. Chris Dodd, D-Conn., has been pushing for years to pass legislation that would mandate that credit card companies include information in customer statements about how long it would take to discharge a debt by making only minimum payments and how much it would cost in interest

Sen. Chris Dodd, D-Conn., has been pushing for years to pass legislation that would mandate that credit card companies include information in customer statements about how long it would take to discharge a debt by making only minimum payments and how much it would cost in interest

Senator Chris Dodd of Connecticut served as a Peace Corps Volunteer in the Dominican Republic in the 1960's.

Sen. Chris Dodd, D-Conn., has been pushing for years to pass legislation that would mandate that credit card companies include information in customer statements about how long it would take to discharge a debt by making only minimum payments and how much it would cost in interest

Credit card companies want it both ways: strict bankruptcy laws but no mandate to disclose how much all that credit is costing consumers
Copyright 2005 Houston Chronicle

If the newly wed Smiths charge $1,000 to a 13 percent credit card to finance a week-long honeymoon, then pay only the 2 percent minimum monthly payment, it will cost the couple $632 in interest and require 8.7 years to pay off, perhaps longer than their marriage.

The nation's financial institutions don't want consumers to focus on this, the real cost of amassing credit card debt while making only minimum monthly payments. As in the past, the industry is lobbying against proposals that would require they spell out those costs in customer statements.

Sen. Chris Dodd, D-Conn., has been pushing for years to pass legislation that would mandate that credit card companies include information in customer statements about how long it would take to discharge a debt by making only minimum payments and how much it would cost in interest.

Dodd's pending Credit Card Act would also force bank card issuers to give consumers clear notice before they jack up interest rates on a customer's credit card. But issuers are holding fast to so-called universal default clauses that allow them to boost a cardholder's interest rate there's no federal cap on how high if the consumer is late on any financial obligation, from the mortgage payment to the light bill.

The card issuers say they need this provision to ensure that they get a premium on the money owed them before a consumer who appears to be headed for financial trouble defaults. The measure certainly helps ensure that financially sound customers are forced to pay a higher rate and that customers headed for trouble get there faster.

The credit card industry has gotten its way on other issues, too. They've thwarted legislative attempts to set interest rate caps and to ban credit card solicitations to minors. They've opposed attempts to require cardholders to make minimum payments that are substantial enough to eat into the principal of a credit card balance instead of so low that they just nibble away at the interest and fees. Some major card issuers have decided to raise payment minimums voluntarily after a push by the U.S. Office of the Comptroller of the Currency.

This past April, the credit card industry hit the jackpot when Congress passed and President Bush signed a major bankruptcy law overhaul. It now will be much more difficult for people in over their head to get a fresh financial start. Lawmakers made no exceptions for consumers whose debt crisis stemmed from job loss, medical bills, identity theft, abandonment by a spouse or military deployment.

Almost every national survey of debt and savings rates shows that Americans are conducting a torrid love affair with their credit cards but saving little. The average person would not be subject to exploitation by credit card companies if he exercised some some self-restraint. Still, it's deeply unsettling that card companies complain of defaulting customers even as their profit-maximizing practices grease the skids toward their insolvency.





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Story Source: Houston Chronicle

This story has been posted in the following forums: : Headlines; Figures; COS - Dominican Republic; Politics; Congress; Credit; Credit Cards

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