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Ear to the Ground

You Can’t Teach an Old Predatory Lender New Tricks

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Posted on Apr 13, 2009
Flickr / stan

Like an abused spouse, America continues to stand by the banks, hoping they’ll change their ways. TARP funds were supposed to trickle down to the average taxpayer, but Congress is now investigating complaints that bailed-out banks such as Bank of America and Citigroup are jacking up interest rates and engaging in predatory lending.

Wall Street Journal:

Last week, for example, Bank of America Corp. told some customers that interest rates on their credit cards will nearly double to about 14%. The Charlotte, N.C., bank, which got $45 billion in capital from the U.S. government, also is imposing fees of least $10 on a wide range of credit-card transactions.

Citigroup Inc., another recipient of government cash, is trying to entice customers to borrow at high rates. “You could get $5,000 today,” Citigroup’s consumer-finance unit wrote in fliers mailed to customers. The ads don’t disclose that the loans often carry annual interest rates of 30%.

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Mark E. Smith's avatar

By Mark E. Smith, April 14, 2009 at 5:38 pm Link to this comment

Old Geezer Pilot wrote: “From a financial standpoint, we re-elected Bush.”

Also from a military-industrial standpoint.

Isn’t it time you figured out the game is rigged and quit voting in elections where they only candidates with any chance of winning are both pro-war and pro-bailout?

I didn’t vote. I don’t vote in sham elections. Those who do, deserve what they get, but I wish they’d stop dragging the rest of us down with them. When you vote, you’re delegating your power, your “consent of the governed” to the rich. Then they can claim to be a democratically elected government even if 90% of us oppose their policies. If we just stop voting until we can establish a democratic form of government where we vote directly on issues of importance and can hold representatives accountable, the game would be over.

But I expect that the half of Americans dumb enough to vote will believe the campaign lies of the next self-proclaimed savior, and re-elect the haves and the have-mores all over again. Some people never learn.

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By Shift, April 14, 2009 at 11:28 am Link to this comment

Congress and the banks are joined at the hip and therefore cannot run away from the banks bad behaviors.  Both the banks and Congress are criminal.  Congress cannot control what the banks do because they are the recessive and dependent twin.  President Obama acts like a wannabe elite, so Washington is in the pocket of the wall street oligarchs.  Continued verbal and written policy opposition has not gotten Washington’s serious attention. I believe that congress is waiting for the people to do the heavy lifting.  Don’t do it.  I believe that we should allow them to rot in their own sewage until this mountain of corruption collapses upon them.  For now, just prepare for the worst locally and enjoy the national dark humor. Allow them to boil in their own rot for laughs.

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By felicity, April 14, 2009 at 7:59 am Link to this comment

Tom Jefferson said (confirming that there’s nothing new under the sun) “I sincerely believe that banking establishments are more dangerous than standing armies.”

Two centuries later, Lyndon Johnson said that “if this country ever collapses it will be the banks that bring it down.  I didn’t believe it when I heard it from my daddy, but after thirty years of experience I know he was right.”

Outside of Congress, there’s only one other criminal class in America and it’s high finance.

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By Bobar, April 14, 2009 at 3:42 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Gave up on banks when they came out with a fee for everything.  Realized the security camera at the bank is on the wrong side of the counters.

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G.Anderson's avatar

By G.Anderson, April 13, 2009 at 5:54 pm Link to this comment

As long as Usury remains, the economy will never improve, it will just keep spiraling around the drain on the way down.

You would think that with all the money the credit card companies made when we took the caps off of interest rates, they would be rolling in the dough.

So why are they going bankrupt, and why are the same people who are struggeling to pay off their credit cards at 35% are going to have to bail those same banks out with their taxes?

Those banks should be required to forgive credit card debt as a part of their bailouts.

They argue that this would make credit more dificult to get for the average person.

Credit cards now have the same reputation as cyanide, anyone who can is getting rid of them, they are financial suicide.

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By Old Geezer Pilot, April 13, 2009 at 4:31 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

From a financial standpoint, we re-elected Bush.

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By Ribald, April 13, 2009 at 4:09 pm Link to this comment

The whole *point* of current policy is to restart the very same diabolical financial engine that tore itself to pieces. Predatory lending is just one of the things banks hope to resume, and although selling worthless subprime derivatives used to be almost impossible, the government has stepped in as the de facto buyer, with little to no preconditions.

  I think we’ll be seeing a lot worse than predatory lending in the future.

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