and some about the birth of credit cards etc. Check it out-its by Jame D. Scurlock and it’s called Maxed Out: Hard Times, Easy Credit, and the Era of Predatory Lenders. Apparently there is a movie about it and I’d like to see that too.
This is taken from the very end of the book and might interest others about this topic. “To learn more about the history of lending, or about the organizations involved in AFFIL, to share your story or learn how to protect yourself against predatory lending, I’d encourage a visit to www.americansforfairnessinlending.org You can also contact them at 77 Summer Street, 10th Floor, Boston, MA 02110”
Interesting factoids & bits from the book:
a) Sarah, Duchess of York by the end of her marriage was $7 million in debt!
b) “We see names like ‘Bank of America’ and we think, ‘Those guys aren’t going to take advantage of me.’ But the truth is, those are exactly the companies that will take advantage of you.” -Bud Hibbs
c) Scary summary of events with credit card stuff(imho) by Walter Wriston who was apparently a brainchild with Citigroup Center.
1972-In Worthen Bank & Trust v. National BankAmericard, Inc., the United States Supreme Court gives banks the right to use both the MasterCharge and Visa Systems to issue credit cards, cementing the natural monopoly.
1978-In Marquette v. First National Bank of Omaha, the United States Supreme Court gives banks the right to “export” interest rates across state lines, i.e., to charge whatever interest rates they so desired anywhere.
1981-The Federal Reserve and the comptroller of the currency approve Citibank’s credit card office in South Dakota, effective killing the McFadden Act, which prohibited banks from making loans across state lines.
1996-In Smiley & Citibank, the United States Supreme Court allows banks to charge whatever fees they see fit. 1997-Congress approves the merger of Citibank and Travelers Group, effectively killing the Glass-Steagall Act, which prohibited banks from cross-selling insurance and other investment products.
d) President George W. Bust awarded Wriston(who set in motion all that stuff in c) the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2004, despite all the foreclosures, bankruptcies, and defaults all at higher levels than during the Great Depression. Anyone out there getting that? This guy helped bring the credit card companies to all our doors easily and despite all the people declaring bankruptcy, and huge piles of debt-our freaking President awards him a medal WTF?
e) The credit card companies are allowed to charge us all the fees that 20 years ago, over half of them didn’t exist!
f) Credit card companies “share” information. That means they can buy and sell your information, including your name, social security number, address, phone number etc., no questions asked. In fact many of the banks you see sell and buy this information for millions of dollars. You can of course object, and say please don’t do that, but the companies can still do it anyway. Ex-ten years ago, First USA paid the University of Tennessee $19 million for access to its students and alumni-all their info like I was talking about, which set off a bidding war for access to college students.
g) The big bankruptcy ordeal back in 2005, which by the way, was supposedly their biggest thing to do in the Senate-affects only 5 to 10 percent of the total number of Americans who go bankrupt.
h) Very sad stories about people getting into huge debt-but this one really got to me… I’ll summarize it.
It’s about Janne who took her son Sean to college, he was a National Merit Scholar from a small town in Oklahoma, going to college at the University of Texas in Dallas. While there, he gets tons of credit card offers, and lands in $12,000 in debt with 10 credit cards. He drops out, moves home and finds himself working two minimum-wage jobs, paying down the cards and saving money to declare bankruptcy. Anyhow, Janne & her husband had to discuss whether to bail Sean out of his debt or give their younger son the chance to go to college. In the end, they couldn’t see denying the younger son, so Sean accepted the decision, told his mother he felt like a failure, and two days later hung himself. Thereafter Sean’s memory was commemorated by a constant stream of phone calls from bill collectors, threatening letters, and more offers for credit, one of which read, “We want you back!” One day a collector called up and suggested that Janne should pay up to honor Sean’s memory.
“I gave you my son,” she replied, “What more do you want?”
I think that is simply horribly sad and a sign of how far ethics and people have just stepped over the line so much. An aside, my grandpa died back in Jan. 2004-and we’re still getting offers for him, and he died with alot of debt-something like $20,000+! It feels like these people behind the credit card companies have lost their humanity, and just don’t care about anyone, it’s all about them getting that bonus, etc..5 years ago