Banksters:Changing The Rules & Putting The Squeeze On Consumers

2936450932_a3e59a042eIt doesn’t seem that the US banking industry has learned anything from last year financial meltdown. Do they care about the overall health of the US economy? No. Do they care about American consumers? Even less. Despite having received an astronomical amount of money from the tax payers in 2008 & 2009, a lot of it not even fully accounted for, they are still running the show, dictating the rules and changing them arbitrarily, on a whim, to accommodate the greed of their corporate agenda.

In the expectation of tougher regulations from the Obama administration, most banks and credit cards companies have discretely made abrupt change to numerous rules. From lowering the balance available to their clients, even the one always making payments on time, to raising interest rates for no justifiable reason except that they can. What a lot of  people do not understand  when they apply for a credit card, and sign a contractual agreement with a financial institution, is that the institution lending them the money has the power to change the terms at any giving time with almost no legal recourse.

I want to give you a concrete example here. Like most people I do have credit cards, and even so I mainly use my American Express cards, which are more like debit cards because the full balance is due every month, I also have a Master Card with Chase Bank.

During the financial euphoria when banks & credit cards companies were literally throwing what appeared to be free money at consumers, I took the bait and accepted one of their countless promotional check offers, locked at a very attractive 3.99 percent rate, in order to pay off a higher interest rate credit card.

Now, keep in mind that I have always made my payments on time, and I usually pay more than the required minimum payment. In the last 3 months Chase changed not one but two rules on me. First, I was informed that the credit available on the account was reduced by 3,000 dollars, OK, I can understand that, and I was not planning to use it anyway. The second strike from Chase was different in nature, and not acceptable. To my surprise, when I opened my last statement the minimum payment required by Chase was 3 times the amount of the one of the previous statement. I picked up the phone to get some clarification and was told that Chase had just increased the minimum payment from 2 percent to 5 percent of the balance owned on the card. The person on the phone told me that I had received a notification in June, she also added that if I had difficulties making the new payment something could be worked out. I was eager to find out the nature of Chase’s proposal. The proposal in question was yet another perfectly legal scam: I could pay less, but it would mean that they would not have to honored my 3.99 percent promotional rate, it would jump to 7.99 percent.

What the banks and credit cards companies are doing to all of us as consumers is plainly unacceptable, and should not be tolerated. So far the lack of action of the Obama administration has been positively puzzling. President Obama took office in January, since then nothing has really changed with the way Wall Street and the banks do business. The issue of setting up tough regulations on financial institutions   should have been the top priority of his domestic agenda.

At the G20 summit in Pittsburgh, France, Germany & Britain will present a united front to fight for tough international regulations on banks it will hopefully push the Obama administration in the right direction. Americans should not be at the mercy of bankers & lenders.


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