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BUSINESS
December 12, 2008 | Maura Reynolds and Mark Medina, Reynolds is a reporter in our Washington bureau. Medina is a Times staff writer.
The American consumer's long-running love affair with debt appears to be on the rocks. But like a lot of soured romances, the reasons are open to debate. What's known is that the debt held by U.S. households shrank in the three months ended Sept. 30. That's the first time that has happened since the government began keeping records more than 50 years ago, the Federal Reserve said Thursday.
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BUSINESS
December 6, 2008 | Times Wire Reports
U.S. consumers cut back on their borrowing in October as the economy sank sunk deeper into recession. The Federal Reserve reported that consumer credit fell at an annual rate of 1.6% in October. That was compared with a 3.1% growth rate logged in September and marked the deepest cutback since August. Economists expected consumers to boost their borrowing by $2 billion in October from the previous month. Instead, consumer debt dropped by $3.5 billion to $2.58 trillion.
BUSINESS
November 19, 2008 | Nancy Trejos
Cecil Bello has stumbled into a new corner of the credit squeeze. The 32-year-old management consultant has had the limits reduced on three of her credit cards. In September, U.S. Bancorp notified the Fairfax, Va., resident that she no longer had a $14,500 limit on a card that had a balance of about $5,000. Her new limit left her just $500 from being maxed out, she said. Then came an Oct. 26 letter from American Express Co. that said she now had a limit of $14,000, down from $22,000.
BUSINESS
November 13, 2008 | Tom Petruno, Petruno is a Times staff writer.
The government's program of using taxpayer funds to bolster banks' capital was supposed to be "passive" -- meaning, Uncle Sam wasn't going to take an active role in managing the businesses. But a joint statement on bank lending issued Wednesday by the Treasury, the Federal Reserve and the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. hardly sounds passive. In the statement, titled "Meeting the Needs of Creditworthy Borrowers," regulators' frustration with still-frozen credit markets is evident.
BUSINESS
November 13, 2008 | the associated press
Federal bank regulators have rejected a request by banks and consumer advocates for a program to let lenders forgive huge portions of credit card debt. The Office of the Comptroller of the Currency rejected the request for a special program that would allow as much as 40% of credit card debt to be forgiven for consumers who don't qualify for existing repayment plans.
BUSINESS
November 5, 2008 | DAVID LAZARUS
When I heard last week that banks want to forgive up to 40% of some customers' credit card debt, my first question was, "What's the catch?" "There's no catch," answered Scott Talbott, chief lobbyist for the Financial Services Roundtable, an industry group that helped concoct the debt-relief program. "There's no hidden agenda. These are extraordinary times and the industry is aggressively working to help customers." He's half right.
BUSINESS
October 27, 2008 | Candace Choi, Choi writes for the Associated Press.
Here's one way to dodge credit card debt and late fees: Don't carry any plastic. "People look at me like I'm an anomaly. But guess what? It's a whole lot easier when you're not juggling debt," said Paige LeFevre, a 41-year-old Atlanta resident. The idea of living without credit cards is getting more attention at a time when Americans hold more than $850 billion in credit card debt, four times as much as in 1990.
BUSINESS
October 4, 2008 | From Times Wire Reports
Consumer loan delinquencies rose only slightly in the second quarter, a sign that the federal economic stimulus package helped people pay off debt, the American Bankers Assn. said. The association said a ratio of eight installment-loan types crept up to 2.68% from 2.62% in the first quarter. The report defines delinquency as a payment that is 30 days or more overdue. The report attributed most of the rise to home equity loan delinquencies -- a sign of continued weakness in the housing market.
BUSINESS
September 16, 2008 | David Colker, Times Staff Writer
See Sally. See Sally run from the bank. Run Sally run. In the midst of one of the worst banking crises in decades, the U.S. Treasury Department today will launch a long-planned program to teach young Americans about credit and other financial matters. The theme of the campaign: "Don't let your credit put you in a bad place." Like in bankruptcy court? Don Iannicola, the department's deputy assistant secretary for financial education, tried to put the best face on the timing of the announcement.
BUSINESS
August 14, 2008 | From the Associated Press
Americans still love their plastic, even if they don't trust the credit card companies dishing it out. A study released Wednesday by CreditCards.com found 58% of respondents saying they "somewhat" or "strongly" agree with the statement: "I don't trust credit card companies." At the same time, 82% considered having at least one credit card essential, and 77% said they liked the convenience of credit cards over using cash.
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