32 posts categorized "Politics"

January 20, 2011

Prepaid cards are the new axis of credit evil


A few weeks ago, I praised the launch of the Kardashian prepaid card.  Now, much to my chagrin, I am eating my words.  And the Kardashians are being sued for $75 million for withdrawing their endorsement of their “Kard”, which failed miserably and drew a wave of objections for its exorbitant fees. 

Despite the Kardashian debacle, prepaid cards are growing in popularity. According to the USA TODAY, “The total amount of branded prepaid cards is expected to exceed $440 billion by 2017, quadruple the estimated value in 2009, according to independent research commissioned by MasterCard.” Put another way, when the tween stars from the movie “Twilight” are used to sell financial services, something big is brewing.    

As if on cue, consumer activists and politicians have refocused their criticism from traditional credit cards to prepaid cards. Consequently, the relatively good image of prepaid cards is fading fast. No longer are they being touted as a safe or responsible alternative to unsecured credit cards, especially for consumers aiming to build credit. 

Opponents of prepaid cards highlight the excessive fees for features that are normally free with more mainstream products.  For example, there are fees to load the card, withdraw money, maintain an active account, and even cancel the card. Also, prepaid cards are not heavily regulated and do not fall under the Credit CARD Act. One of the most expensive cards (endorsed by popular radio host Tom Joyner) charges an $8.95 monthly fee to keep the account active.

On the other hand, proponents argue that having such cards are better and less expensive than using a check cashing business, a popular option for the unbanked.  Furthermore, they tout the flexibility of the cards to pay bills and make everyday transactions. 

In short, despite the recent spate of criticism and political cries for regulation, I still think the concept of a prepaid card is solid.  Moreover, there are good options on the market. In fact, Walmart offers a product with very low fees. As is the case with many credit products that thrive on misdirection and deceit, we must better educate all consumers, especially the most vulnerable ones, about the dangers of really bad products. Otherwise, the bloodsucking vampires will prevail.

Read more about this topic at USA TODAY.

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 17, 2010

Chase hit with SEC whistleblower complaint over credit card practices

Linda Almonte, a former employee of JPMorgan Chase (JPM) who is suing the bank for wrongful termination, has just upped the ante: She has now also filed a whistleblower complaint with the Securities and Exchange Commission. The core allegations add context to her lawsuit, and they charge Chase with grotesque and illegal practices involving its credit card debt processes...

Read full article at DailyFinance.

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

December 07, 2010

You gotta Levitt: S.E.C. chairman admits to not being able to read a prospectus

Would you be shocked if I told you that the Securities and Exchange Commission (S.E.C.) chairman cannot read a prospectus?  Well, as ridiculous as it sounds, that certainly was the case with former S.E.C. Chairman, Arthur Levitt.

Mr. Levitt, S.E.C. chairman during the Clinton years, admitted in his 2002 book “Take On the Street” that he had trouble understanding a prospectus when he was chairman.  In his semi-autobiographical book, he goes on to say how embarrassed he was about this gross incompetence. 

Continue reading "You gotta Levitt: S.E.C. chairman admits to not being able to read a prospectus" »

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 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" »

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" »

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" »

January 07, 2010

Senator Dodd’s legacy, a fighter for financial reform

Sen. Chris Dodd will be missed

I am almost embarrassed to admit it: The first time I heard of Senator Christopher Dodd (D-CT), I was watching “Late Night with Conan O’Brien” a few years ago.  In one of his reoccurring, comedic interludes, O’Brien compared Mr. Dodd’s headshot with that of an animated Simpsons character, I believe, saying that they looked just alike. Since then, I have forgotten who the “twin”, animated character was and learned much about Mr. Dodd.  (I will exchange my chagrin with pride now, realizing that my political IQ has increased tremendously at the expense of my knowledge of pop culture.)

Earlier this week, Mr. Dodd announced his plans to retire from the United States Senate where he has served for almost 28 consecutive years.  While his announcement (made amid a flurry of controversy regarding his diminishing popularity and ability to maintain his seat) was not shocking, it certainly was disappointing to learn that one of the most powerful fighters for consumer rights is leaving.  As chairman of the Senate Banking Committee, Mr. Dodd was especially vociferous about the need for change to the credit card industry. 

Mr. Dodd’s political legacy will be, in general, his passionate advocacy for financial regulation and, in particular, the passage of his Credit CARD Act of 2009. Furthermore, he will be remembered for standing up for and sticking with unpopular ideas like credit card reform decades before any significant legislative reform was enacted.  While the verdict is still out on the Credit CARD Act and considering that many believe the timidity of some of Mr. Dodd’s regulatory policies are self-defeating, this much is clear: Consumer advocates and financial reformists alike have lost significant ground in the fight to ensure equity in our financial system.  I doff my hat to Mr. Dodd.

In a statement distributed on Jan. 6 by House Financial Services Committee Chairman Barney Frank (D-MA), Mr. Dodd is lauded:

Continue reading "Senator Dodd’s legacy, a fighter for financial reform " »

November 10, 2009

I am officially back and on the front lines

I have great news: I am back!

As mentioned in my last post about five months ago, I ran for state representative here in Atlanta, Georgia. The seat was vacated in April, so I felt like I had a good chance of winning. Thank you all so much for your patience and encouragement during the special election, which was a wonderful experience.

Continue reading "I am officially back and on the front lines " »

June 16, 2009

Why my sudden hiatus? VoteKevinJohnson.com

Georgia Capitol A few of you have sent me e-mails, asking what I have been doing.  Thanks for your concern.  Given that I have not posted an entry during the last two weeks, I thought I would let you all know what has been taking up so much of my time.

In a nutshell, I have been preparing to run for office.  In fact, I declared my candidacy today for Georgia State Representative House District 58, which encompasses most of the communities in East Atlanta.  This effort takes up my time entirely. It requires a lot more of my time than I thought, especially since the election is a special election likely to be held in November. (The incumbent resigned because of a conflict of interest with her new job. The seat is open, and it is a great opportunity.)  

Continue reading "Why my sudden hiatus? VoteKevinJohnson.com" »

May 29, 2009

Credit CARD Act contains amendment inspired by this campaign

Read our amendment Despite the fact that the Credit CARD Act does not outlaw credit card redlining, I am proud of this campaign’s unyielding demand for change, which led to an important amendment in the final bill signed by President Obama on May 22. 

The amendment, found in Section 505, requires within one year of the bill’s enactment that the Federal Reserve, Federal Trade Commission, and other federal banking agencies report to the House and Senate banking committees to what extent banks assess a customer’s credit worthiness based on where he or she shops.

While waiting for the report—which will serve as the basis for recommended regulatory or statutory changes—I will continue to work with legislators at the federal and state level to fight for and craft stronger credit card regulation.  Until the dignity and merit of responsible consumers in my beloved community are respected, this will be an issue for which I fight passionately.

[ Read Section 505 of the Credit CARD Act. ]

May 01, 2009

Credit Cardholders’ Bill of Rights clears the House 357 to 70

Read more from the Associated Press The Credit Cardholders’ Bill of Rights cleared the House 357 to 70 on Thursday, Apr. 30.  The bill, which was created to provide protection for and relief to credit card customers, restricts credit card practices such as sudden interest rate hikes and exorbitant fees. 

The same legislation, save a few changes and amendments, passed the House in September of last year, but died before it could be approved by the Senate.  As a result of continued bipartisanship on the issue, the likelihood of the bill passing the Senate in the next few months is promising at best. 

Continue reading "Credit Cardholders’ Bill of Rights clears the House 357 to 70" »

April 23, 2009

Obama admonishes credit card company executives

Listen to the president's remarks In what seemed more like political posturing than a substantive meeting with credit card industry executives, President Obama outlined his ideas for increased credit card regulation and reaffirmed his support of pending legislation that will better protect consumers against abusive credit card companies.

Executives from Visa, MasterCard, American Express and others met with the president and his staff in the White House to discuss growing consumer outrage about credit card companies, many of which have shamelessly raised interest rates, reduced credit lines, and canceled accounts.

President Obama, who has supported credit card regulation long before winning the presidency, is using his influence to encourage issuers to willingly accept increased regulation and to persuade reluctant Republicans needed to pass pending legislation. 

After the meeting, executives from the companies were nowhere to be found for comment.  It is likely that they had important meetings to attend—with their D.C. lobbyists. 

[ Read the White House’s blog or view ABC News video footage.]

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 21, 2009

Senate Judiciary Committee to hold hearing on abusive credit card practices

Senatehearing On Tuesday, Mar. 24 at 10 a.m., The Senate Judiciary Committee will hold a hearing on “Abusive Credit Card Practices and Bankruptcy”.  The hearing will be conducted by the Subcommittee on Administrative Oversight and the Courts. 

Continue reading "Senate Judiciary Committee to hold hearing on abusive credit card practices" »

March 20, 2009

The biggest obstacle to consumer protection: Federal preemption

The main impediment to protecting consumer rights is the federal government. 

In recent years, the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency, a federal regulatory agency, has preempted the states’ authority to enforce consumer protection laws against federally chartered banks. Consequently, state lawsuits against national banks have been co-opted or classified as improper “visitation” by the federal government.  Likewise, state bills for consumer protection have been quashed for overstepping jurisdiction.

On Feb. 25, the National Association of Attorneys General sent a compelling letter to President Barack Obama addressing the issue of preemption.  The letter, which is signed and supported by a majority of United States attorneys general, strongly urges President Obama to “reconsider the United State’s legal position regarding the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency’s (“OCC”) current interpretation of its authority under the National Bank Act.” The association believes that the interpretation, which excludes “State Attorneys General from their traditional role as primary consumer protection officials and enforcers of state law”, is “an extreme one that flies in the face of traditional principles of federalism.” 

Continue reading "The biggest obstacle to consumer protection: Federal preemption" »

March 16, 2009

Video of Maryland bill hearing against “blacklisting”

As I have mentioned a few times before, Maryland State Representative Saqib Ali introduced promising and unprecedented legislation on Feb. 13 in the Maryland General Assembly to prevent blacklisting, a form of discrimination akin to credit card redlining.  The bill hearing took place last week on Mar. 11 in the afternoon.  There is no opposition panel because the banks did not show up.  I did find out, however, that American Express will have a private meeting with Chairman, Dereck Davis, on Monday, Mar. 16.   

Order of speakers and start time:

00:00Dereck Davis, Chairman of the Maryland House of Representatives Economic Matters Committee, Member of the Maryland House of Delegates
from the 25th District

00:50Saqib Ali, Member of the Maryland House of Delegates from the 39th District

14:35Kevin D. Johnson, Consumer Advocate, Creator of NewCreditRules.com, President of Johnson Media Inc.

20:49Steven M. Sakamoto-Wengel, Consumer Protection Counsel for Regulation, Legislation & Policy, Consumer Protection Division, Office of the Attorney General of Maryland

22:10Dr. Charles Shafer, Maryland Consumer Rights Coalition, Professor of Law University of Baltimore

24:04Tom Saquella, Maryland Retailers Association

26:15Question and Answer Session


March 14, 2009

AP report: Jobless hit with bank fees on benefits

Money Given that most consumers cannot understand their credit card terms, I am not surprised that many states would agree to contracts that allow banks to charge excessive fees on prepaid cards for the unemployed. Likewise, I wouldn’t be shocked to learn that the lure of money in the form of tremendous savings, kickbacks, or even campaign contributions helped to persuade decision-makers to side with the banks at the expense of citizens. It seems like trickery, get-rich schemes, and insensitivity are especially rampant these days. In my opinion, this is exactly what happened in the latest story of shameless artifice perpetrated by major banks. 

Continue reading "AP report: Jobless hit with bank fees on benefits" »

March 13, 2009

Banks a no-show at bill hearing

The bill hearing that took place on Wednesday, Mar. 11 to outlaw merchant blacklisting was a success.  Before the Maryland House of Representatives Economic Matters Committee, The Honorable Saqib Ali presented a cogent case on the need to prohibit the use of merchant “blacklists” by banks to reduce a customer's access to credit. 

Continue reading "Banks a no-show at bill hearing" »

March 11, 2009

Read my testimony for today's Maryland bill hearing

As I mentioned yesterday, I am in Maryland to testify for a bill that will prohibit blacklisting in Maryland.  During my stay in the Washington, D.C. area, I will also meet with federal government agencies and trade organizations that are working hard to increase regulation for credit card companies. 

A young Maryland delegate, Saqib Ali, invited me to testify in support of his bill and represent customers affected by blacklisting.  He boldly proposed legislation in February that will stop the discriminatory data-mining practices by companies like American Express in Maryland. He is the first person in the country to propose this much needed legislation.  My hope is that the bill will pass and set an example for the rest of the country.  Moreover, I hope it will gain the attention of the federal government to pass  similar legislation.  

You can read the text of my testimony below. I will have video of the hearing soon.

Continue reading "Read my testimony for today's Maryland 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" »

February 15, 2009

Be my valentine, Congresswoman Maxine Waters

In keeping with the amative spirit of Valentine’s Day weekend, I have decided to dote on Congresswoman Maxine Waters for having the chutzpah to ask real questions and to demand real answers from the eight C.E.O.'s whose companies have received TARP funds, yet have failed to loosen the credit markets adequately.  As opposed to many of the other representatives who cautiously tiptoed around alarming issues during the House Financial Services Committee hearing last week, she challenged the smug C.E.O.'s without fear.  Her tone, brusque and highhanded, rightfully conveyed the rage of tax-paying citizens across the nation.  

Continue reading " Be my valentine, Congresswoman Maxine Waters" »

February 07, 2009

What’s your credit score, President Obama?

The presidential race is over, and now we have a new president.  But I would like to go back a few months and ask the front-runners, Senators Obama and McCain, about their financial history.  Sure, I’d like to see tax returns from the last five years, but more than that I’d like to see credit reports and scores while we’re at it.  I suppose how well each politician manages his personal debt will be a good indicator of how well he will manage this country’s massive debt.  

Continue reading "What’s your credit score, President Obama? " »

February 01, 2009

How politics play a part in all of this

One suggestion that continually pops up in the hundreds of e-mails I receive is the idea that I run for congress.  Inspiring words commend my temperament among other characteristics, and one person even said that I have handled myself like a “true statesman”.  I humbly replied to all of those e-mails by saying the following: “While I follow politics closely and believe in the political system to effect change, I do not think politics is a good career path for me. Besides, I just got married, and I can barely pass a bill in my own house let alone the U.S. House of Representatives. =)”  

So, the practical goal for now --since a run for congress would take too long and by then, we would have all paid millions of dollars in unfair fees and interest—is to contact current elected officials who can bring about change now. Encourage and applaud representatives like New York’s Carolyn Maloney, co-author of the Credit Cardholder’s Bill of Rights.  Support Financial Services Chairman Barney Frank who also supports credit card reform.  More importantly, reach out to your local legislators and let them know how you feel and what you’d like to change. Then, hold them accountable.  

Below is a great web site to locate all of your elected officials.  

Find your local officials:  

Follow up on Twitter!

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.

Selected Media Coverage

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