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This afternoon President Obama will tell top executives from 14 credit card companies — including American Express, Bank of America, Discover, MasterCard and Visa — that greater consumer protections are coming for their customers, with or without their cooperation.

Chase, and the other credit card companies may have finally met the day of reckoning. There are a plethora of news stories on the meetings between President Obama and executives of the credit card companies.  Here are a couple of interesting snippets:

NY Times:

President Obama threw his support on Thursday behind legislation that would keep banks from imposing higher fees and interest rates on credit card users, and said terms must be “written in plain language and be in plain sight.”

The days of any-time, any-reason rate hikes and late-fee traps have to end,” the president said at the White House after meeting with top executives from the nation’s largest credit card companies, a session Mr. Obama called “constructive.”

“No more fine print, no more confusing terms and conditions,” the president said, following up on campaign pledges to try to curtail high fees and rates and chop away at the thickets of fine print in credit card statements.

Washington Post:

The message that bank executives are braced to receive from the president is that he believes the marketplace is unfairly stacked against the consumer, with credit card companies holding all the cards and able to change the terms of their customers’ agreements at any time without any penalty.

In the same article, our dear friend from Chase (who has been defaming those of us who were “aimed at” relative to Chase’s now infamous 5% minimum payment, new service fee “that is a finance charge” notice), Ms. Stephanie Jacobson, seems to have changed her tune:

As they prepared for today’s meeting, credit card executives and their representatives sounded conciliatory.

“We look forward to meeting with administration officials on Thursday and hope to have a constructive dialog on several key issues including consumer spending and credit demand as well as best practices in the credit card industry and progress on regulatory reform,” said Chase spokeswoman Stephanie Jacobson.

Reuters:

Senior White House aide Valerie Jarrett said Obama, who is trying to rescue the U.S. economy from recession and fight the financial crisis on a variety of fronts, hopes to see “new rules of the road” for the credit card industry.

Bloomberg:

Industry leaders sought the White House meeting as they confront an outpouring of anger from cardholders and Congress. The executives are likely to hear from Obama about “some of the deceptive practices that we’ve seen,” White House spokesman Robert Gibbs said.

The administration would require card companies to apply excess payments to balances with the highest interest rates, and to periodically tell customers how long it would take them to pay off their balances if they make minimum payments.

CBS News:

While President Obama met today with executives from the leading credit card companies, two senators called on the Federal Reserve to immediately implement an emergency freeze on interest rates tied to existing balances on credit cards.

Another CBS story:

“I trust that those in the industry who want to act responsibly will engage with us in a constructive fashion, and that we’re going to get this done in short order,” Mr. Obama said, delivering a pointed message to leading executives of credit-card issuing companies seated at his side.

A couple of months ago we were lucky if abusive and deceptive credit practices made the 13th page of a small local paper.  The times have changed.  A “change in terms” notice is now coming “right back at ya!” bankers (especially you, Chase).

On another note, e-mail the journalists in the above stories.  Let them know that this issue is important to you.  We must capitalize on the momentum of this issue.

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