Obama meets credit card execs as lawmakers consider crackdown
Washington - US President Barack Obama met Thursday with leaders of the credit-card industry, urging them to end unfair practices that are raising costs on indebted consumers, while US lawmakers are considering a wider crackdown on the sector.
Obama said he hoped to create a new system that "eliminates some of the abuses" including sudden interest-rate hikes and late-payment fees, which have added to unmanageable debts for some US consumers.
"There has to be strong and reliable protections for consumers," Obama said after a meeting with a dozen executives from US credit card firms and banks.
The credit-card industry has become embroiled in the wider financial crisis in the United States. Defaults on credit-card debt have more than tripled since the end of 2006.
A congressional panel on Wednesday approved legislation clamping down on "unfair and deceptive" practices by credit-card companies. The measure would restrict penalties on cardholders and bar interest- rate increases without advance notice.
Nearly half of all US families owe money on their credit cards. The average balance in 2007 was 7,300 dollars, according to the Federal Reserve. (dpa)