Loving the San Francisco Bay Area... Community development, urban ministry, trying to defeat poverty, faith, religion, politics, good music, the quest for the perfect pizza, the Yankees, motorcycles... All in a 'day's life'

Sunday, February 24, 2008

Credit Cards - Middle Class Preditory Lending


Time reports on "Exposing the Credit Card Fine Print"
To credit-card companies, it's not sufficient that customers pay their bills on time every month; they must also avoid a daunting array of borrowing habits that lenders deem risky. Like borrowing. Katie Groves, 42, learned this firsthand when the annual interest rate on her Chase Visa bill jumped to 29.99%—from the previous 12%. Although she had never missed a payment and owed only $500, she was told that her rate had increased because Chase had checked her credit report.

Most consumers are unaware that the banks constantly monitor all their borrowing behavior. Even if you just get too close to your borrowing limit (a figure you probably don't know) on your cards and mortgages, as Groves did, you can trigger what the industry calls universal default.
Interesting article. There seems to be little or no relief coming to our country. With the low income class being stretched by a lack of health insurance, falling wages,  pay day lenders and check cashiers, the middle class is being swamped with the effects of sub prime lending, job outsourcing and credit card policy. Each day I'm getting more and more concerned by the current economic situation. I fear the poor are the most vulnerable, but the middle class is also under siege.

Sorry to be so bleak on a Sunday. To put another spin on things, here's some questions:

Q. What should and can the Church do to be a part of the solution? What does the Gospel call us to do in the middle of the current economic issues confronting us? If we are called to be agents of change and justice in this world, how should we act?

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