31 posts categorized "Legislation"

February 15, 2011

How we got car insurance pricing based on credit scores

How did we get to the point where car insurance pricing is related to your credit score?  The answer: Now that’s Progressive!

While reading “Marketing Mavens”, a book that analyzes innovative companies, I came across the Progressive case. Since it began selling auto insurance in 1937, Progressive has served the riskiest group of drivers and has enjoyed a respectable market share in its industry.  However, 22 years ago a major regulatory challenge forced it to reinvent itself. 

In 1989, Progressive’s core business was threatened by government regulation in California, a huge market for the company.  The regulation called for a 20 percent reduction in insurance rates, making it virtually impossible for Progressive to survive with drastically smaller profit margins.  As a result, Dave Pratt, the company’s general manager for direct marketing, devised a strategy that would forever change the insurance industry. 

In short, Pratt discovered a strong correlation between credit scores and driving records.  Author of “Marketing Mavens”, Noel Capon, describes the evolution of Progressive’s strategic epiphany: “When Progressive analyzed its customers closely, it found that although they were all relatively high risk, they were by no means all the same size, shape, and cost to serve.  In particular, Progressive discovered that although all high-risk drivers tended to get into accidents, high-risk customers with good credit ratings had fewer accidents than high-risk customers with poor credit ratings.” 

Consequently, Progressive implemented a new business model, charging lower premiums for drivers with high credit ratings and higher premiums for drivers with low credit ratings. By doing this, they were able to attract customers that filed less claims and therefore were cheaper to serve.  Such a pricing hierarchy allowed Progressive to experience tremendous growth rapidly without reducing profit margins.

So, in brief, that’s the story of how we ended up with credit scores determining car insurance premiums, not to mention the recent, pricey ad campaign featuring the ever ebullient Flo.

January 26, 2011

Why it’s hard to sue credit card companies


If you ask credit card holders what a mandatory arbitration clause is, chances are they have no clue. Yet, almost all of us have signed an agreement with such a self-defeating clause in it. 

A mandatory arbitration clause requires that any dispute raised by a customer go through arbitration before a civil lawsuit is filed.  In almost all cases, the arbitrators chosen to hear cases are not neutral; they are partial to the interests of the credit card companies.  Thus, many consumers unknowingly sign agreements that limit their constitutional right to the courts and forfeit any likelihood of a fair resolution. 

However, there are efforts to change the widespread use of such clauses in credit card agreements, employment agreements, franchise agreements, etc. For example, in 2007, the Arbitration Fairness Act (S. 1782, H.R. 3010) was introduced in Congress and called for several new measures, including a consumer’s ability to choose arbitration or the courts. Furthermore, a new movie entitled “Hot Coffee” is increasing the focus on America’s civil justice system. The documentary, which received rave reviews at this year’s Sundance Film Festival, explores the tragic stories of people negatively affected by a civil justice system “under heavy attack”. 

In short, when it comes to signing any agreement, especially a credit card agreement, make sure you read the fine print, because that’s probably where you’ll find a mandatory arbitration clause.   As I like to say, the big print giveth and the fine print taketh away.   

Additional Resources:

January 06, 2011

Frank statement on Congresswoman Bachmann’s effort to repeal the Dodd-Frank Act

Washington, D.C. – Congressman Barney Frank, Ranking Member of the House Financial Services Committee, released the following statement in response to Congresswoman Michele Bachmann’s effort to repeal the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act:

“Michele Bachmann, the Club for Growth, and others in the right-wing coalition have now made their agenda for the financial sector very clear:  they yearn to return to the thrilling days of yesteryear, so the loan arrangers can ride again – untrammeled by any rules restraining irresponsibility, excess, deception, and most of all, infinite leverage. 

“Their effort to repeal the new financial reform law reveals the hypocrisy of right-wing claims that they are concerned with ending uncertainty in the economy. Now that we have put in place a set of rules that allow financial markets to function but which also curb their excesses, Representative Bachmann and her allies want to reintroduce uncertainty by going back to exactly the situation that led to the financial crisis in the first place.

Continue reading "Frank statement on Congresswoman Bachmann’s effort to repeal the Dodd-Frank Act" »

December 16, 2010

Visa, MasterCard stocks plunge as Fed releases new rules to cut debit fees

Visa and MasterCard stocks plunged today as the Federal Reserve Bank released proposed rules to reduce debit-card interchange fees by 90 percent. The Fed has until Jul. 21 to implement new rules as outlined in the Dodd-Frank financial overhaul. 

Analysts say that these new rules, if implemented, will pose a serious threat to the profit margins of Visa and MasterCard.  Currently, U.S. debit accounts for about 20 percent of Visa’s revenues. 

Retailers, however, welcome the new rules, which would allow them to maximize their profits and to reduce prices for customers.  Many hope that the reduced fees will be closer to those in Europe.  As reported by Bloomberg, “A 75 percent cut in the interchange rate would put the U.S. on par with the 27 nations of the European Union.”  

The rules are in a comment period after which the Fed will vote on them. 

Read more about this major story at Bloomberg

November 30, 2010

Just when you thought you knew something about mortgage securitizations


If you ever needed more proof of just how complicated the mortgage crisis is because of securitization, you’ve got it. Try to follow all of these transactions for one mortgage without getting a headache. It took one year to put together this flow chart.

View a higher resolution chart with an introduction at ZeroHedge.com.

November 16, 2010

David Silberman to run credit card unit of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau

Elizabeth Warren, the special White House adviser assigned to set up the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, has selected David Silberman of the Kessler Group to run the unit that will research and write rules for credit cards, according to…

Read more about this major appointment as reported by Bloomberg.

October 26, 2010

Colleges should do more to protect students from credit card disaster


It’s like a trusted guardian selling off his teenager into slavery—financial slavery.  Universities and colleges have become salivating sellouts, taking millions of dollars from banks that wish to push credit cards on young and impressionable students.

Perhaps that was too harsh—I take it back—but there are similarities, if at best remote.  These lucrative deals are great for the colleges and banks, but put the financial future of students in peril, especially those who have no idea of how to manage their finances. 

Continue reading "Colleges should do more to protect students from credit card disaster" »

October 21, 2010

Obama says Republican Congress may repeal credit card protections

For the past few weeks, President Barack Obama has been stumping for Democratic congressional candidates all across the country. He has warned consumers the many reforms his party has passed in the last two years could be repealed if Republicans recapture Capitol Hill. President Barack Obama has focused his ...

Read more about this as reported by Creditnet.

August 23, 2010

Loopholes of the Credit CARD Act

ABC News takes a look at some of the loopholes of the Credit CARD Act. Read more details in the written article.

July 31, 2010

New tricks, same credit card companies

New tricks, same deck of cards

The Wall Street Journal, in an article published today entitled ”The New Credit-Card Tricks”,  confirms my 2009 premonition: If the Credit CARD Act is passed, credit card companies immediately will find ways to recoup their loses with new fees and tricks.

Read about some of these new fees and tricks that have consumers and advocates ruffled. 

July 25, 2010

Elizabeth Warren replies to my e-mail

Elizabeth Warren, consumer champion

I often hear people complain about the arrogance, self-importance, and off-putting nature of Harvard students, alumni, and professors.  This couldn’t be farther from the truth—well, at least my truth.  My experience has been the complete opposite of the nose-tilting stereotype. In fact, I have found these same people, especially professors, to be some of the most down-to-earth, engaging, and accessible people.

Continue reading "Elizabeth Warren replies to my e-mail" »

May 06, 2010

Visa misleads customers. Compliance is not “courtesy”.

  What did you say Mr. customer service representative?

About a month ago I received a letter from Visa, informing me that it will be canceling my credit card account. As I normally do when I get such bad news from a creditor, I put down the letter and let my nerves cool for a few hours.  This was especially bad news because of two problems: 1) This account, opened in college, was the oldest account on my record. Thus, closing it will have a major effect on my credit score.  2) I will no longer have access to personal credit.  (I still have my American Express card open, but I have avoided using it altogether because of the company’s insidious policies.)

After cooling down, I realized that this can turn out to be a good thing.  More than ever, I will be forced to maintain positive cash flow, which I have.  So, I decided to pay the outstanding balance of $2,569.85 in full and to close the account on my own terms.  (I wanted to make sure that my credit report shows that I closed the account, not the creditor. Also, I looked forward to the added satisfaction of sticking it to Visa first.) 

Right before I paid off and closed the account, the customer service representative says, “As a courtesy, I will waive the $14.95 fee for expedited payment via the phone.” I almost had a fit. According to the new Credit CARD Act, companies can no longer charge such a convenience fee.  I stayed quiet, fuming smoke through my ears and nose.  I was not in the mood to inform the representative of the law. I was most eager to pay the account off, close it, hang up, and blog about the experience. 

In short, I share this because it shows the continued skulduggery of some credit card companies which have not learned their lesson.  The more things change, the more they stay same the same.

March 02, 2010

Banning credit checks on job applicants the right thing to do

You're great, but we have to check your credit first.

As more Americans suffer job losses and the inability to meet financial obligations, states are considering legislation that will prohibit employers from using credit checks to deny employment.  According to a recent report by the Associated Press, proponents of the idea argue that current restrictions make it increasingly difficult for qualified people to secure work. This year, 16 states from South Carolina to Oregon, have drafted legislation.

I support the move by many states to prohibit credit checks, especially during these difficult economic times.  With unemployment rates at record highs, the job market should be fair for everyone who is qualified to perform a job. And, it is no secret: Honest Americans find themselves in financial hardship not because of their own doing in many cases, but in part because of the credit card industry, which by lowering credit limits, has damaged millions of credit reports.  Denying people jobs because of poor credit is tantamount to kicking them while they are down.

Finally, the epidemic of bad credit is growing everyday as people make hard choices: Do I pay my credit card bills or feed my family? Do I restructure my mortgage and risk being denied the very job I need?  While the idea of what responsible means today has been redefined, the FICO score and credit rating standards have not.  (Read Fair Isaac Corporation (FICO) increasingly irrelevant.) Legislation to prohibit credit checks for employment is not only the right thing to do, but also a necessary action to curb soaring unemployment.

What related stories do you have? Have you been denied a job after a credit check?

Continue reading "Banning credit checks on job applicants the right thing to do" »

February 24, 2010

Jon Stewart lampoons the Credit CARD Act


Jon Stewart needs no introduction. Watch his hilarious parody of the new Credit CARD Act and Bank of America.

February 22, 2010

Bitter sweet victory for consumers: The Credit CARD Act becomes law today

Consumers win the silver with the Credit CARD Act

Today, consumers can celebrate a major victory: The Credit CARD Act becomes law, meaning increased consumer protection for credit cardholders. After a year of heightened consumer outrage against banks and legislative wrangling to craft a consumer-friendly bill, cardholders finally receive much needed relief and protection—the most sweeping in history.  However, the victory is more bitter than sweet. It is like winning the silver medal in an Olympic competition that you think you have won.

As evinced by credit card companies raising interest rates and changing terms to preempt the enactment of today’s new law, the victory will be short-lived.  In other words, consumers will end up paying more money through new fees and “legal” changes. If anything, this victory is one of principal more than one of net savings.     

Continue reading "Bitter sweet victory for consumers: The Credit CARD Act becomes law today" »

February 15, 2010

Credit card statements now required to show new payment data

Will this new data change habits?

When I read my Visa credit card statement this month, I noticed two major differences: 1) There was much more text and information on the main page. In fact, the convoluted format was threatening upon a cursory inspection. 2) More importantly, there was a table of new data, informing me of what I will end up paying if I make only the minimum payment. 

In the coming days, you will see changes to your credit card statements as well.  Several companies have already begun to comply with the Credit CARD Act, which becomes law on Feb. 22.  One of the mandates of the bill, for example, requires that credit card companies tell you what you will end up paying in total if you make only the minimum payment.  It is helpful information for all customers. (You can calculate your payments at our Interest & Payoff Calculator.)

I wonder, however, if this new information will change the payment behavior of cardholders.  Legislators and consumer activists tend to think so.  They fought hard to require that credit card companies provide this information, arguing that it will empower consumers and will help them avoid more debt. 

What impact, if any, do you think it will have on customers?  Will they be encouraged to pay more than their minimum payment? Or will they do continue as normal?

Continue reading "Credit card statements now required to show new payment data" »

February 08, 2010

Will Obama’s plan to increase lending for small businesses help? You decide.

 How do we help small businesses?

The focus of the federal government finally and rightly has changed to helping small businesses, which generate the great majority of new jobs in the United States.  President Obama, aiming to imbue millions of unemployed Americans with hope, has proposed several ideas that he believes will spur job growth.  As a result, the debate on Capitol Hill regarding the soundness of his plans is heating up.

From what I have been able to determine thus far, there are two feuding factions: On one hand, there are those who believe that the key to stimulating job growth is increasing lending to small businesses.  On the other hand, there are those who believe that the solution lies in tax and regulatory relief. 

While there are certainly benefits to both approaches, tax and regulatory relief are the best option for small businesses, in general.  Here is the main reason: Tax and regulatory relief can be applied quickest and to more businesses, regardless of credit status. The other option, increasing lending, requires a much longer process to implement and has a high probability of gridlock. In a nutshell, there is a high risk of it not working at all. (After I peruse the president’s plans in detail later this week, I will share more reasons and details in a future post.) 

For now, I am most interested in your thoughts.  If given the choice of access to more capital or tax and regulatory relief, which would you choose?

January 25, 2010

“Frontline” documentary examines the present and future credit card industry

"Frontline" documentary review

The New York Times and the PBS program “Frontline” have joined forces once again to produce an expository documentary about the credit card industry and its latest developments.  The joint reporting project, which debuted on Nov. 24, 2009, also includes a series of articles available on the New York Times’ website.

Whereas the previous collaboration entitled “The Secret History of the Credit Card” focused on the history of the industry, this new collaboration entitled “The Card Game” focuses on the present and future.  In the beginning, the documentary follows the same formula as the previous feature released in 2004, highlighting specific cases in which customers were abused and confronting industry experts for an explanation. Later, it explores how the economic collapse triggered credit card reform, which Harvard Law professor Elizabeth Warren explains “won’t change the game”.  It ends by revealing what to expect in the near future.  

Continue reading "“Frontline” documentary examines the present and future credit card industry" »

January 22, 2010

Great Scott! Massachusetts Senate upset could kill financial reform

Scott Brown loves the free market

Scott Brown’s astonishing upset in the Massachusetts Senate race has Democrats aghast, wondering how in the world did a Democratic bastion fall into the hands of the Republican Party. Now that the Democrats have lost their super majority in the Senate, several crucial bills are at stake.

As a result of the Democratic debacle, political pundits have focused on the likely and immediate demise of health care legislation, the controversial bill that pushed Brown to victory.  However, few pundits are discussing the possibility that financial reform could face a similar fate.  

Continue reading "Great Scott! Massachusetts Senate upset could kill financial reform" »

January 21, 2010

Barney Frank releases memo to dispel inaccuracies about CFPA exemptions

Barney Frank Washington, DC – Today, House Financial Services Committee Chairman Barney Frank (D-MA) released the following memo to members of the House Financial Services Committee: 

January 21, 2010


TO: Members, Committee on Financial Services

FROM: Chairman Barney Frank

RE: Inaccuracies about CFPA Exemptions

Some inaccuracies have appeared in the press about institutions exempted from the reach of the Consumer Financial Protection Agency in the House-passed financial reform bill.  For instance, yesterday’s New York Times reported that it “exempted smaller community banks, credit unions, retail merchants …”.  Not true.  All of those institutions will be subject to all rules issued by the agency with respect to the extension of credit.  They also will be subject to agency enforcement.  The exemption for smaller financial institutions is only with respect to examination which will continue to be the responsibility of the institutions’ prudential regulators.  However, the CFPA will have back-up inspection authority and may independently take enforcement action.  And even this exemption is limited to institutions with less than 2% of bank assets.

Importantly, the new agency will also have authority with respect to the now lightly or unregulated institutions such as pay day lenders and check cashers firms which are especially important to lower income families.  It also will have authority over independent mortgage brokers and lenders that led the industry in issuing subprime and abusive option ARM mortgages.

Continue reading "Barney Frank releases memo to dispel inaccuracies about CFPA exemptions" »

May 22, 2009

Political commentator says credit card bill is a fraud

Read Dick Morris' article Not everyone is rejoicing over President Obama signing the Credit CARD Act today.  Controversial author and political commentator, Jim Morris, is circulating his skeptical views in an article entitled “Obama’s Credit Card Reform is a Fraud”.

As suggested by its title, the article focuses on the president’s failure to “reform the most basic offense” of credit card companies: their usuary.  Morris calls for concrete restrictions in the form of interest rate caps that would prohibit extremely high interest rates and ridiculous, punitive rate hikes.  

Do you agree with Morris that President Obama and the Congress sold out to the powerful influence of credit card companies?  Does the legislation do enough?  

[ Read Dick Morris’ article. ]

May 19, 2009

Senate vote means credit card regulation a reality

Read more about this historic vote In an act of surprising solidarity, the Senate passed the Credit CARD Act, a sweeping bill that drastically will change the credit card industry and guarantee that consumers are treated more fairly. With such widespread support in the House and the Senate, regulatory legislation could be on the president’s desk in a few days.

I received the news this morning from the news. More specifically, a Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist called me to get my thoughts on the legislation and its significance.  It was a pleasant surprise. 

Continue reading "Senate vote means credit card regulation a reality" »

May 09, 2009

Congress passes anti-predatory mortgage lending bill—six years too late

Read more about the bill Undoubtedly, one of the underlying causes of the economic meltdown is mortgage fraud.   In order to curb fraudulent practices by rapacious lenders, the House overwhelmingly approved the Mortgage Reform and Anti-Predatory Lending Act on May 7 by a vote of 300 to 114.

The historic legislation will prevent some of the worst practices in the industry.  For example, lenders will be prohibited from issuing loans that borrowers cannot pay by establishing a simple standard of qualification.  Furthermore, it will outlaw products like no-documentation loans, which allow borrowers to inflate their incomes to qualify for larger loans. 

Rep. Mel Watt (D-NC), one of three congressmen to introduce the bill, stated, “My joy at House passage of this important bill is tempered by my belief that we could have avoided the major credit and economic meltdown we are now experiencing had we passed this legislation when Rep. Miller (D-NC) and I originally proposed it 6 years ago.” 

As we are learning the hard way, the classic American dream got out of hand and grew into a dream on steroids, a dream fueled by internecine greed.  Perhaps over the last few years, the dream became a reality for far too many, and thus became an expectation for all.  A gargantuan home with more square footage than needed quickly became "Joe the Plumber’s" expectation despite his inability to afford such a purchase. 

Now, with the help of Congress, things will soon get back to normal: everyday people wishing to not only own a home, but also to stay in it.   

[ Read more about the passage of the Mortgage Reform and Anti-Predatory Lending Act. ]

April 22, 2009

Credit Cardholders' Bill of Rights clears Financial Services Committee—and with our help

Read the press release I am pleased to announce two pieces of good news concerning legislation that, if passed, will increase credit card regulation. 

First, the Credit Cardholders' Bill of Rights (H.R. 627) cleared the House Financial Services Committee today, making much needed credit card regulation a closer reality.   

Second, an amendment was added to the Bill that will require within 6 months of enactment that the Federal Reserve, Federal Trade Commission, and other federal banking agencies to report to the committee to what extent banks assess a customer’s credit worthiness based on where he or she shops.  The amendment was added by Rep. Maxine Waters (D-CA), whose congressional office consulted me on Mar. 31 about the issue.  Even though the amendment doesn’t prohibit the insidious practice, it is a step in the right direction. 

[ Read the entire press release. ]

April 20, 2009

Obama vows support of credit card reform

President Obama The White House has its focus on increased regulation for abusive credit card companies.  

Larry Summers, director of the National Economic Council and a top presidential aid, said on NBC’s “Meet the Press” that President Obama will support the House and Senate’s efforts for credit card reform.   Currently, the House and Senate are considering the Credit Cardholder’s Bill of Rights Act, a bill that passed the House in September but has yet to pass the Senate. 

Continue reading "Obama vows support of credit card reform" »

April 14, 2009

Senate kills bill to prevent credit card redlining in Maryland

I have bad news: despite its overwhelming support and passage in the House, House Bill 1292, which prevents banks and credit card companies from assessing a customer’s creditworthiness based on where he or she shops, was killed by the Senate Finance Committee.  The committee, which during its hearing on Apr. 2 was critical of the bill’s practicality, refused to vote on the bill, and therefore killed it by inaction.  Now, the only option is to introduce the legislation during next year’s session.   

Continue reading "Senate kills bill to prevent credit card redlining in Maryland" »

March 29, 2009

Bill to prohibit blacklisting passes in the Maryland House

On Friday, Mar. 27, the Maryland House of Representatives passed “House Bill 1292 Consumer Protection – Blacklist Prevention”, which prohibits the use of merchant “blacklists” by banks to reduce a customer’s access to credit.  The bill received overwhelming support with 132 yeas, 6 nays, and 3 absent.  Next, a hearing will be scheduled in mid-April for the Senate Finance Committee.  The bill was inspired, in large part, by my efforts to expose American Express’ use of such blacklists.

In my opinion, this is a major step of many in the right direction to prohibit perhaps the most outrageous practice by credit card companies and banks.  I commend the Maryland House for making a bold statement of solidarity on this issue and hope that the Senate will do the same in the coming weeks. 

Having testified in the first hearing for the bill, I am especially excited to see that at least one state is being proactive to protect its residents from grossly unfair policies.  Also, I hope that the legislation and tremendous support of it will encourage you, the consumer, to urge your representatives to draft similar protective legislation. 

March 26, 2009

Why the Fed's rules don't apply until July 2010: A recap of last week's bill hearing

View bill hearing [ View the bill hearing. ]

The latest in a spate of bill hearings regarding unfair credit card practices took place last week on Mar. 19.  The Subcommittee on Financial Institutions and Consumer Credit held an almost three-hour hearing for two bills: H.R. 627, the Credit Cardholders’ Bill of Rights Act and H.R. 1456, the Consumer Overdraft Protection Fair Practices Act. The hearing was informative and arguably one of the best. 

Continue reading "Why the Fed's rules don't apply until July 2010: A recap of last week's bill hearing" »

March 02, 2009

Promising legislation introduced in Maryland to stop consumer profiling

I am excited and pleased to announce that Maryland State Representative Saqib Ali introduced promising and unprecedented legislation on Feb. 13 in the Maryland General Assembly to prevent the type of consumer profiling to which American Express reluctantly admitted only after tremendous public pressure. 

Ali’s bill is the first legislative attempt on either a state or federal level to curb the discriminatory practices brought to light in large part by this campaign.  If passed, the bill will be a major step toward holding companies that engage in this behavior accountable.   

The bill, “House Bill 1292 Consumer Protection – Blacklist Prevention”, prohibits blacklisting by adding to Maryland’s commercial law. In short, the bill prevents companies from using where a customer shops or the company with which he or she has a mortgage to adjust contract terms, and it requires consumer contracts to disclose any prohibited provisions that will cause an adjustment in terms adverse to the consumer. Furthermore, any changes to the contract adverse to the consumer will require the consumer’s prior written consent. 

A hearing will take place on Mar. 11 in Annapolis, Maryland.  I will be there to support the bill and testify.  Proponents of the bill expected to testify include representatives from the Maryland Retailers Association, the Maryland Attorney General’s Office, and others.  Opponents likely to testify include representatives from the Maryland Bankers Association, American Express, and Bank of America. 

[ Read the bill. ]

Note:  If you are a Maryland cardholder affected by consumer profiling, please contact me. Click on the E-mail Me link above in the navigation bar.

February 16, 2009

The Credit CARD Act is great, but not strong enough

Given the current credit crunch, Congress is moving quickly to reform the credit card industry.  Hopefully, these unprecedented, economic circumstances will give reformers the extra support needed to finally be successful. 

During the last two decades, a handful of courageous legislators in both the House of Representatives and the Senate have crafted and introduced legislation to protect consumers from the harmful practices of credit card companies.  However, few proposals have received the widespread support needed to become laws.  Detractors of credit card reform often cite that such restrictive legislation will stifle competition; will prompt credit card companies to raise interest rates; and will make it more difficult for low-income consumers to obtain credit. 

Continue reading "The Credit CARD Act is great, but not strong enough" »

January 07, 2009

Credit Card Bill of Rights: Will it pass in the Senate?

While reading Change We Can Believe In: Barack Obama’s Plan to Renew America’s Promise, I came across Obamabook a concept that was totally new to me: the Credit Card Bill of Rights.  After reading about it, I thought it was a good idea and much needed change to empower consumers.  

In his book, Barack Obama pledges his full support behind legislation that will “ban unilateral changes, apply interest rate increases only to future debt, prohibit interest of fees, prohibit universal defaults, and require prompt and fair crediting of cardholder payments.”  He also proposes a five-star rating system, enforced by the FTC, that would let consumers better assess credit card risk.

Continue reading "Credit Card Bill of Rights: Will it pass in the Senate?" »

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About Me

Greetings! I’m Kevin D. Johnson, a business owner who has recently assumed the role of consumer advocate and internet activist. Atlanta, Georgia is my home.

My Story

Upon returning from my wonderful honeymoon in Jamaica in October 2008, I received what I thought was an ordinary American Express bill, but to my surprise it was a disappointing letter informing me that my credit line was reduced by about 65% for a highly suspicious and discriminatory reason. Considering my excellent credit score and pristine payment history, it just didn’t make sense. However, what does make sense are the unfair and insidious policies that I have uncovered when asking why. It is time to change them.

Good Morning America tells my story.

The Goal

I created this web site to document and share my challenging journey to change what is wrong, unfair, and unjust in the credit card industry. The ultimate goal of this web site is to inform consumers of ways to stand up for themselves against treacherous business practices and to educate consumers about how to improve their credit. Finally, I hope to encourage a more open dialogue with credit card companies about their policies–good and bad.


I am proud to say that this blog's unyielding demand for change led to an important amendment in the final Credit CARD Act signed by President Obama on May 22, 2009. Despite this major accomplishment, there is still more work to be done.

View video of bill hearing in Maryland

Testifying at a bill hearing in Annapolis, Maryland

Speaking Engagements

In an effort to educate as many people as possible about financial management, especially about how to manage the current credit crisis, I have begun to speak around the country at colleges, universities, corporations, chamber of commerce meetings, congressional hearings, trade organization meetings, etc. Having acquired a wealth of information that will help to empower people and to improve their financial future, I feel that sharing this information is the least I can do to make a positive impact. For information on my availability for speaking opportunities, please send an e-mail to Jennifer Silverman at jennifer@silvermanworldwide.com.

Speaking at a university


All information provided on NewCreditRules.com is provided for information purposes only and does not constitute or substitute for professional financial advice. Information on NewCreditRules.com is subject to change without prior notice. Although every reasonable effort is made to present current and accurate information, NewCreditRules.com makes no guarantees of any kind. This web site may contain information that is created and maintained by a variety of sources both internal and external. These sites are unmoderated forums containing the personal opinions and other expressions of the persons who post the entries. NewCreditRules.com does not control, monitor or guarantee the information contained in these sites or information contained in links to other external web sites, and does not endorse any views expressed or products or services offered therein. In no event shall NewCreditRules.com be responsible or liable, directly or indirectly, for any damage or loss caused or alleged to be caused by or in connection with the use of or reliance on any such content, goods, or services available on or through any such site or resource.

Popular Posts

  1. Credit CARD Act contains amendment inspired by this campaign

  2. Bankers Vow Revenge

  3. Republicans less likely than Democrats to have too much debt?

  4. Credit card bill won't outlaw redlining

  5. Create your own data mining strategy

  6. Top 25 subprime lenders behind the mortgage meltdown

  7. President Obama’s bad idea

  8. Bank of America gets a new chairman: my good friend

  9. Should the rich pay higher interest rates?

  10. Scam alert: Avoid debt relief and credit repair firms

  11. Do you know your medFICO score?

  12. Kevin, you're "LOOKING for discrimination"

  13. Woman denied credit due to blacklisted mortgage company: Bank of America

  14. Video of Maryland bill hearing against “blacklisting”

  15. A comprehensive list of "toxic" mortgage companies

  16. Speaking engagement brings a pleasant surprise

  17. Credit card securitization encourages fee-based profit model

  18. Everything bad about the credit card industry exposed

  19. The Credit CARD Act is great, but not strong enough

  20. Companies cancel cards of responsible customers

  21. What’s your credit score, President Obama?

  22. Fair Isaac Co. will no longer sell Experian-based credit scores

  23. Why merchants suffer just as much as consumers do (Part I)

  24. Big defeat for consumers, small victory for American Express

  25. American Express says it has changed its discriminatory policy, but don't be fooled

  26. What’s your horror story? Do you have praise for a company?

  27. Beware: These stores could harm your credit! (Part II)

  28. Beware: These stores could harm your credit! (Part I)

  29. Major banks cope with shame of being on welfare

  30. What affects your credit score

Great Resources

  1. ChangeInTerms.com

  2. Complaints.com

  3. ConsumerAffairs.com

  4. Consumerist.com

  5. CreditMattersBlog.com

  6. CreditSlips.org

  7. DefendYourDollars.org

  8. Epinions.com

  9. GotaClassAction.com

  10. My3Cents.com

  11. PlanetFeedback.com

  12. RipoffReport.com
* List provided by ChangeInTerms.com.

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