Obama, credit card execs didn’t agree on anything, er everything

May 14, 2009

You could tell Thursday was going to be a rough day for credit card companies as soon Christine Lardner got up to introduce President Barack Obama at a town hall meeting in Rio Rancho, New Mexico.
 
Lardner and her husband, Scott, own a small business and are putting two daughters through college. She described how the college erroneously billed her credit card for a sum that put her nearly $3,000 over her credit limit.
 
The credit card company authorized the charge and then over the next few months tripled her rate from under 10 percent to nearly 30 percent, Lardner said. Her efforts to negotiate the rate back to its original level were fruitless.
 
“I realize that credit card companies are for-OBAMA/profit businesses, but I also expect to be treated fairly; and raising my rate to 30 percent is ludicrous and corrupt,” Lardner told a cheering crowd.
 
Obama took up the theme himself, part of his push to get Congress to pass a credit card reform law that he can sign by the Memorial Day holiday at the end of the month.
 
“This is America,” he said, “and we don’t begrudge a company’s success when that success is based on honest dealings with consumers. But some of these dealings are not honest. That’s why we need reform.”
 
He said credit card companies currently charge more than $15 billion a year in penalty fees. Nearly half of all American families carry a month-to-month balance on their credit cards, and those who do have an average balance of more than $7,000.
 
Obama said consumers were responsible for some of the problem — living beyond their means and charging more than they could afford. But he said credit card companies also needed to mend their ways.
 
“Last month, I met with the leaders of the major credit card companies to discuss these and other reforms,” he said.
 
“And we didn’t agree on anything,” Obama said before catching himself as the crowd laughed. “Everything as you might expect. That was a slip of the tongue there. We didn’t agree on everything but we did agree that any reforms we can shouldn’t diminish consumers’ access to credit.”
 
For more Reuters political news, click here.

Photo credit: Reuters/Kevin Lamarque (Obama speaks at Rio Rancho town hall meeting)

3 comments

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whilst i am no fan of credit card companies, there is neither moral nor legal obligation to use the plastic that arrives in the mail – destruction is an option to be considered, as is self-restraint. however, when one abjures fiscal probity and indulges in greed by using the masterchump to pay off the american excess, one does not get to whine about “those greedy companies are penalising me!”

Posted by jd | Report as abusive

There are many people who were raised on using credit, and many of them lived beyond their means.

There are also a lot of people who used credit cards to pay for medical bills or rent, and then found they couldn’t make the payments when the job disappeared.

In some cases, the unemployed cannot qualify for “Unemployment Insurance”, even if they had it taken from their paychecks for years.

Living at all is living beyond their means.
What does this bill do for those who already are victims of usurious credit card rates?
Nothing.

Unlike President Obama, who was raised by a Bank President (his grandmother), I do begrudge the credit card industry.

Posted by GaryS | Report as abusive

ALL Congressmen should inform their constituency just how they would vote on Credit Card reform so that they would know how to vote in the next election…

Posted by knutsonbythesea | Report as abusive