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Posts Tagged ‘credit cards’

Ambulance Chasing on Wall Street

Posted by Larry Doyle on April 12th, 2010 10:58 AM |

What is driving our markets higher? A rebound in earnings along with a rebound in the economy, correct? Well, let’s take a quick look at corporate earnings.

Thanks to our Sense on Cents Hall of Famer and resident Economic All-Star David Rosenberg, we learn this morning that:

Financial sector profits have accounted for 85% of the overall increase in corporate earnings.

When I read this, I immediately think of the market akin to that gutless driver who jumps behind an ambulance as it screams down the street. Who is in that ambulance? Main Street. Who is in that car getting the ‘free ride’? Wall Street. (more…)

Credit Card Holders Hearing, “I’m Sorry, This Card Does Not Seem To Work”

Posted by Larry Doyle on October 20th, 2009 11:16 AM |

Life is not fair.

While many topics could be placed into that all consuming category, the ongoing developments in the credit card industry certainly get top billing. Why?

High five to MC for once again pointing out the ever increasing and seemingly indiscriminate denial of consumer credit. Am I referring to creditworthy individuals applying for a credit card or other form of consumer credit? No!

I am referring to individuals who at point of purchase are discovering that their credit cards are being denied. These must be one off situations or for those already delinquent, correct? Not necessarily. As MSNBC highlights, Citi Starts Closing Mastercards Without Warning:

Shannon Burdette tried to pay with her Shell Mastercard after filling up her gas tank this weekend but found the card rejected.

Confused, she called the customer service line on the back of the card, issued by Citibank, and was told the account was closed because of something that appeared on her credit report. But when the Sykesville, Md., resident got a copy of her credit report online, the only negative thing she saw was “closed at credit grantor’s request” on the Shell MasterCard account.

“They said there was a routine review,” said Burdette, who maintained that she and her husband, Brian, used the card regularly and always paid the bill on time. (more…)

Banks Build Better Mousetrap

Posted by Larry Doyle on July 9th, 2009 7:54 AM |

Is there truly any reason to trust financial institutions these days?

Developments within the credit card space have exposed the true colors of these institutions . . . not that there was ever any doubt. Recall how consumer outrage at rapidly rising interest rates on credit cards pressured Washington to rein in the usurious business practices of the financial industry.

New legislation was badly needed as banks clearly utilized abusive business practices. The Wall Street Journal highlighted these developments in writing on May 21st, Credit-Card Fees Curbed:

“Credit cards are a tremendously valuable and useful tool for consumers, providing them with relief during critical moments,” said Senate Banking Committee Chairman Christopher Dodd. “This is a very important industry….We just want it to work better.”

The legislation marked a major defeat for the credit-card industry, as lawmakers complained that consumers are being hit with tricks and traps on their cards.

Well, while the legislators were in the front room having the photo ops, the bankers were in the back room building a new and better mousetrap, at least from their perspective.

The Los Angeles Times sheds light on how Credit Card Firms Try End Run Around New Federal Rules:

Banks are quietly changing the terms of millions of credit card accounts as they brace for a tough new law that will limit rate hikes.

The law would restrict interest rate increases unless a credit card has a variable rate. So at least two major lenders are switching their cards with fixed rates to — you guessed it — variable rates.

“It’s completely unfair,” said Linda Sherry, a spokeswoman for Consumer Action. “It’s an end run around the intent of the new law.”

That law is the Credit Card Accountability, Responsibility and Disclosure Act, which President Obama affixed with his signature in May. Its various provisions will be phased in between next month and February.

Who are these two major lenders? Bank of America and JP Morgan Chase. Given the size of their operations, watch every other credit card issuer set the same trap. (more…)

Why is George Soros Short the Euro? MUST READ!

Posted by Larry Doyle on March 3rd, 2009 6:10 AM |

In very short order, I have gained a deep respect and regard for our Economic All-Star, John Mauldin. I have come to appreciate that Mauldin and I view the market through the same lens focused on the global economy. While many media outlets focus on the day to day, if not hour to hour trading activity, I believe they are truly missing the forest for the trees.

While I have written twice over the last week about eastern Europe being the weakest link in the world of global finance, Mauldin and his colleague Niels Jensen of Absolute Return Partners provided insights and analysis that is numbing.

Why is George Soros short the euro? Let me provide a synopsis of Mauldin’s and Jensen’s “Europe On the Ropes.” Assuming those visiting Sense on Cents have an interest in the markets and economy, this piece is somewhat lengthy, but a MUST READ!! A link is provided at the end of my review. (more…)

Put Your Brokers and Bankers in Competition

Posted by Larry Doyle on February 25th, 2009 12:00 PM |

Every global financial enterprise has been hard pressed to maintain, let alone grow, revenues given the economic turmoil. With assets held in portfolio experiencing increasing levels of delinquencies and defaults, these institutions are all forced to set aside more reserves. How do businesses respond? Cut expenses and increase fees wherever and however possible. Who pays? You!!

I regularly see a sleight of hand at work on behalf of banks, insurance companies, money managers and other financial intermediaries to generate greater fees. While you will regularly be solicited with new and improved product offerings, how often are you getting the call that a fee is being increased and you may want to shop around for a better rate.

In an attempt to help you navigate this landscape, I strongly encourage you to approach your brokers and bankers and request a grid-like structure highlighting the basic products on one axis and the fee structure on the other axis. While more structured products and specialized services can be worthy of higher fees, a whole host of basic products fall into the plain vanilla category. (more…)






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