consumer credit

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Walmart's Layaway Plan Preys on the Desperate

Consumers are reeling from the loss of easy credit

(Newser) - Good news everybody: Layaway is back! Walmart recently announced that it was bringing back its program, allowing customers to hold items for two months for a mere $5 fee. That may sound like a swell deal for Americans who can’t get credit, writes Louis Hyman in the New York ... More »

Lending Falls at Fastest Rate Since 1942

Boatload of bank failures likely in 2010

(Newser) - Banks tightened credit last year at what the Wall Street Journal calls an “epic pace,” recording their biggest full-year decline in loans outstanding in 67 years. The figure comes from a new FDIC report that paints the picture of a banking industry that, apart from a few top-tier... More »

FTC Takes on 'Free' Credit Report Minstrels

Latest showdown between Feds and credit bureau goes viral

(Newser) - A long-running battle between the Federal Trade Commission and credit bureau Experian has blossomed into a viral video showdown of sorts. Experian runs—beneficiary of the cheeky slacker music video/ads. The FTC thinks—rightly, in the opinion of many—that the company is intentionally diverting consumers from the... More »

Cities Saddled With the Most Credit Card Debt

Florida, California have credit problem, Forbes shows

(Newser) - The recession has many Americans tightening their belts, but some just can’t seem to put away the plastic. Forbes checked in with Equifax and compiled a list of the country's most credit card-happy cities. Conclusion? Florida might have a problem.
  1. Miami: Average household credit card debt: $9,797, or
... More »

New Credit Card Rules Could Trim $10B From Industry Coffers

Law dials back crucial fees, interest rates

(Newser) - A law President Obama is expected to sign today bringing new consumer-friendly rules on credit cards could cost the industry $10 billion in revenue, the Wall Street Journal reports. The legislation, which dials back various fees and interest rates, will devastate companies that target consumers with checkered credit histories and... More »

Banks Seize Herds as Recession Hits Mongolia

Badly managed loans and overconfidence in cashmere have Mongolians in default

(Newser) - Proving the recession is truly global, banks in Mongolia are threatening to foreclose on herders’ goats, sheep, and camels, the Wall Street Journal reports. Mongolians call it a financial “zud,” a local term for unusually devastating winters. Falling cashmere prices stemming from the West’s recession—the high-end... More »

Debt Settlers Promise Relief, Provide Little

Cash-strapped consumers claim companies charge fees without reducing debt

(Newser) - State attorneys general are being overwhelmed with complaints about “debt settlement” companies that promise consumers relief from mounting bills but rarely deliver, the New York Times reports. The number of such companies, which often collect fees of 15% of the total debt to negotiate with creditors, has tripled in... More »

Fee Hikes at Bailed-Out Banks Spur Investigation

Interest rates as high as 30% raise questions about program's effectiveness

(Newser) - Congressional overseers of the TARP program are investigating the lending practices of several of the banks they bailed out in response to complaints that the banks are raising interest rates and fees, the Wall Street Journal reports. Despite receiving billions in taxpayer dollars, Bank of America last week nearly doubled... More »

To Dodge Recession, Move to Huntsville

Mid-size cities do better in crunch, have seen lending increase

(Newser) - While big cities and rural areas have taken a beating as the financial crisis unfolds, many mid-size cities have seen consumer lending increase, indicating an economic resilience that other areas lack, the Wall Street Journal reports. In cities with populations around 400,000—like Huntsville, Ala.; McAllen, Texas; and Provo,... More »

Bailed-Out Banks Cut Lending

Report finds that bailout funds have failed to jolt banks into boosting lending

(Newser) - The 20 largest banks that received billions in  US government rescue funds slightly reduced their lending to consumers and businesses in the last quarter of 2008, the government said yesterday. Banks cut their mortgage and business loans by a median of 1% each, while credit card lending rose by a... More »

New Credit Scores in Play Today

Fair Isaac Corp. hopes new scores will better predict consumer defaults

(Newser) - New credit scores intended to make identifying bad risks easier make their debut today, with TransUnion taking the lead in offering “FICO 08” metrics, reports the Wall Street Journal. The new formula is more forgiving of one-time lapses than its predecessors, but popularizing it may take years, according to... More »

$173B Later, Taxpayers Still Can't Get a Loan

Consumer credit remains frozen, even at banks flush with bailout funds

(Newser) - Though US taxpayers own $172.5 billion of shares and warrants in 208 financial institutions, most of them still can’t get a loan. Interbank lending rates have fallen since TARP funds have been paid out, but consumer lending remains tight and average credit card rates are virtually unchanged from... More »

Fed Cut Won't Translate Into Much for Consumers ... Yet

Its plans to buy more debt may unfreeze market in '09, but consumer rates stuck for now

(Newser) - Consumers hoping for lower interest rates on credit cards, car loans, and mortgages after the Federal Reserve dropped a key interest rate to near 0% yesterday aren’t likely to get a break soon, reports MarketWatch. But loans could be easier to get once the Fed’s other actions—buying... More »

As Economy Tanks, Will Plastic Fade?

Debit, layaways tempt as consumers watch wallets

(Newser) - Will today’s wallet-watching leave a permanent dent in America’s beloved plastic? Likely to write off $45 billion this year, with billions more at stake, credit-card lenders are tightening rules and raising fees, the New York Times reports. “People are going to have to live within their means,... More »

Consumers May See 45% Cut in Available Credit

Lower credit-card limits are coming just as job losses soar

(Newser) - Americans already struggling with tight credit are in for another blow: banks may cut available credit card lines up to 45% over the next 18 months, reducing available credit by some $2 trillion, reports Reuters. Home equity and credit card limits already are lower than in the second quarter, an... More »

Slim Gain Is Dow's 3rd in Row

New consumer credit plan inspires confidence on the street

(Newser) - Stocks were mixed today, as enthusiasm over the Fed’s plan to get banks lending was tempered by a downward revision to third-quarter GDP and a drop in a home-price index, the Wall Street Journal reports. The Dow rose 36.47—its third consecutive up session—to 8,479.86.... More »

Fed Launches $800B Programs to Unlock Lending

Will lend to investors buying credit-backed securities

(Newser) - The Fed today unveiled a new $200 billion lending facility designed to thaw the freeze in consumer credit, the Wall Street Journal reports. The facility will lend to investors who want to buy securities backed by credit cards, auto loans, student loans, and loans to small businesses. The Fed also... More »

Treasury Shifts Focus to Consumer Credit

Will alleviate consumer credit instead

(Newser) - The Treasury will spend its remaining bailout funds on consumer credit rescue programs, Henry Paulson announced today, scrapping his original plan of buying illiquid mortgage-related assets from financial institutions. The freeze on consumer credit, he said, is “creating a heavy burden on the American people and reducing the number... More »

Wal-Mart May Launch Own Credit Card

Retailer in talks; low rates, few fees could rattle lending industry

(Newser) - Wal-Mart sees an opening in the consumer credit market and is trying to start up its own credit-card operation, BusinessWeek reports. The retail giant is in talks with a veteran financial services firm to launch a card with low interest rates and few fees. It's not clear how far along... More »

As Debit Cards Catch Credit, Banks Cash In

Consumers see way to limit spending; banks adjust fee tactics

(Newser) - Credit is no longer the king of cards, Business Week reports. As banks get stingy with credit and consumers look for ways to reel in their "charge it" ways, more and more are turning to debit cards—so many, in fact, that Visa projects debit spending could exceed credit... More »

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