Voices: What they're saying about Regulation Z
Consumers, industry figures, advocates have their say
By Connie Prater | Published: December 26, 2007
Update: See Regulators issue sweeping new credit card rules
CreditCards.com reviewed a sample of the more than 2,400 public comments filed with the Federal Reserve Board regarding proposed changes to Regulation Z.
Here's what credit card users, consumer advocates, banks, credit unions and credit card networks had to say about proposed Regulation Z changes intended to make credit card terms clearer and more readable.
Credit card users
By far, the greatest number of comments filed with the Federal Reserve Board is from credit card users. Many of them recount negative experiences with credit card issuers and plead with the Fed to make the process more open and fair.
"I am working to get rid of all of my credit cards. I hate the games the credit card companies play ..." Read more
-- Pamela W. Edwards, Lexington, Kentucky
"Only Tony Soprano could be proud of what these people are doing ... " Read more
-- Don Reed
"Do something!! Control these criminals in business suits ... " Read more
-- Harris Factor, Columbia, Md.
"To me a credit card is a convenience and saves me from carrying around a lot of cash ... " Read more
-- June Peterson, Boynton Beach, Fla.
"I beg of you, please start thinking about those of us who do not have access to huge, powerful lobbies. We are sick and tired of being abused by companies we do business with ... " Read more
-- Kevin L. Hamilton, Richmond, Va.
"Please do something about this "legal loan-sharking" that is going on. I ended up having to file bankruptcy ... Read more
-- Ron Sugg
"It's a little late. This credit card shenanigans have already cost me my future ... Read more
-- Lee Davis
"I'm sure my story is similar to that of many Americans ... " Read more
-- Jennifer S. Deibel
"I received a $39 late fee for a $31.50 total bill ... My credit rating is high ... I was not in the group that they want to take advantage of ... " Read more
-- John Hudgens, Pasadena, Md.
Nonprofit organizations or government consumer protection agencies are often the last resort for credit card users who feel they've been unfairly treated by banks and credit card issuers. These organizations have extensive case loads of consumers who seek help getting out of mounting credit card debt or fighting rule changes in their credit card contracts.
"While better credit disclosure may permit better-informed credit decisions, all the disclosure in the world cannot protect consumers from unfair and deceptive practices in the marketplace ... " Read more -- Linda Sherry, Consumer Action
"Credit card issuers have shifted away from interest rates -- which can easily be disclosed, understood and compared -- to myriad flat fees ... "
-- National Consumer Law Center
"Credit card companies have demonstrated an inability to self-regulate, and heightened regulation will be necessary to curb the most egregious practices ... ." Read more (Page 1)
-- Corky Neale, Memphis Debt Collaborative/RISE Foundation
" ... (A) single misstep can snowball into increased interest rates and numerous penalty fees ... " Read more (Page 2)
-- Mindy A. Bockstein, chairwoman, New York State Consumer Protection Board
Consumers seek open-ended (revolving) credit from a variety of sources. These credit grantors may include banks, credit unions, retail stores and outlets as well as catalogs and Internet sites.
"We firmly believe in the importance of strong disclosures. Proper disclosures lead to informed consumers -- which is good for us as a lender, and for the banking industry as a whole ... " Read more
-- Gregory A. Baer, deputy general counsel, Bank of America
"Default rates provide additional discipline to the credit process, rewarding responsible behavior and penalizing failure to honor the credit terms. It should be no surprise to the cardholder that failure to make a payment on an account, for example, has consequences." Read more
-- Hollis G. Swift, general counsel, Compass Bank
"The board's proposal is an ambitious and comprehensive revision of the Regulation Z provisions on open-end lending, which Capital One endorses as a major positive advance in open-end credit disclosure ... " Read more
-- John Finneran Jr., general counsel, Capital One
"[The] ... enhancements and new account-opening disclosure table, among other innovations, move credit card disclosures toward the model of food labeling, where consumers can get all the information they need in simple, easy-to-use, uniform terms ... ." Read more
-- Carl Howard, general counsel, Citigroup
"There is no doubt that the proposed changes, particularly with regard to periodic statements and the advance notices of change in terms and increased rates, will impose substantial costs on lenders, which in significant part are absorbed by consumers ... " Read more (Page 2)
--American Bankers Association and America's Community Bankers
"Retailers have long championed consumer credit. Used wisely it can be a valuable tool that allows consumers to meet their needs ... " Read more (Page 2)
-- National Retail Federation
"The amendments are disruptive as well as unwarranted ... " Read more
-- Pamela Stephens, CEO, Security One Federal Credit Union
Credit card networks
Credit card networks operate the payment systems that allow secure transfer of credit and debit transactions between banks and credit unions and merchants.
"We do not believe that consumers find the effective APR useful or even understandable. Therefore, we believe that it should be abolished ... " Read more (Page 2)
-- Thomas J. Ryan, senior counsel, American Express
"The new requirements pertaining to changes in terms and penalty pricing will impose significant restrictions on card issuers to protect against credit or other risk. These restrictions could result in increased credit costs, or less available credit, for all consumers ... " Read more (Page 2)
-- Jodi Golinsky, vice president and regulatory and public policy counsel, MasterCard
"These changes are likely to be both costly and disruptive and are ultimately likely to result in increased costs to many consumers, as well as have the effect of wealth transfers from consumers with lower risk profiles and who regularly meet their account obligations, to consumers with higher risk profiles or who do not always pay on time or otherwise meet their account obligations ... " Read more
-- Russell W. Schrader, senior vice president, Visa
Have something to say about credit card disclosures and proposed changes to Regulation Z? To comment on this story, write to firstname.lastname@example.org.
See related: Regulators issue sweeping new credit card rules, What the new credit card rules mean for you, What the new credit card rules don't cover, How to cope with credit cards until the new rules take effect, House passes Credit Cardholders' Bill of Rights, Fed backs rules to curb deceptive credit card practices, Fed moves to close timing loophole in credit card payments, Senate banking chairman: Credit card reform on tap, Proposed credit card rule changes draw massive response, Poll: Nearly 3 in 4 feel need for more credit card regulation, Obama will usher in credit card reform, observers say
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