Debt Consolidation

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UWSA Consumer Credit and Wall Street Reform News: August

Filed under: Banks
Written by: Simos
August 27, 2010
This picture says a thousand words ...

This picture says a thousand words ...
Photo by: Copta (Stock Exchange)

Since the explosion of action on Capital Hill related to credit and Wall Street reform, new regulations continue to go into effect, impacting bottom-line bills for credit card consumers.

As the debate heats up and “Main Street” feels change in the air (and hopefully, in our pockets!) the UWSA financial blog is stepping in to help you stay abreast of current news and make sense of the trends.

Not surprisingly, The Wall Street Journal sides with banks in its latest analysis of the impact of financial regulations on interest rates and credit card options of ordinary consumers. WSJ argues that new rules are harming average credit customers, but consumers may have a contrary opinion: credit card losses are falling more than expected as ordinary people continue to improve their debt management strategies. As of July, delinquencies have reached their lowest level this year and bad loans are also on the decline. This news comes hot on the heels of even more credit card rules which prohibit the raising of interest rates until 12 months after a credit account becomes active, and requires creditors to warn their customers 45 days in advance of rate increases.

Inactivity fees are also on the chopping block this week, as credit card issuers will no longer be able to impose fines based on a lack of credit use. That said, card companies may eliminate accounts that haven’t been used recently at their discretion, so now may be a good time to break out that “emergency” credit card and buy a pack of gum! As regulations click into place, there are concerns from some quarters that a further credit crunch could negatively impact America’s ~9% unemployed; but savvy cardholders should remember that income is not part of your credit score.

Want to know more about the new law behind it all? Check out this overview, but don’t settle for secondhand information: also view the full bill text for yourself. Also of interest, the “granddaddy” of credit consumer protection laws in the United States, the Fair Credit Reporting Act and the lesser-known, but no less important, Fair Credit Billing Act. Our own UWSA blogs also has a variety of previous reform updates and analyses of relevant laws. Browse our archives and you’ll know a lot more about where, when, and how you’re protected from predatory credit and lending practices.

Meanwhile, what’s going on over on Wall Street? The Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform Bill has already prompted some calls for repeal, while others claim it doesn’t go far enough, or, in fact, addresses the wrong problems. At least one Washington Post writer sounds a confident note about smart reform for bankers, and proponents are pinning their hopes for a more robust reform agenda on “The Woman Wall Street Hates.” And regardless of how you feel about Wall Street reform, everyone is concerned about a double dip recession! The final impact of the White House’s wrangling with big banks is unknown, but you can do your part by staying informed! Hope we’ve helped you do it!

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