April 23, 2009

I expect a bit of deja vu, in which Obama tells them he's the only thing between them and the pitchforks:

This afternoon President Obama will tell top executives from 14 credit card companies -- including American Express, Bank of America, Discover, MasterCard and Visa -- that greater consumer protections are coming for their customers, with or without their cooperation.

The House Financial Services Committee on Wednesday passed "The Credit Cardholders' Bill of Rights," a bill from Rep. Carolyn Maloney, D-NY, that would require companies to provide a 45-day notice before any rate increase; prevent the companies from retroactively imposing higher interest rates to existing balances; and ban "universal default," which the companies use to raise interest rates on consumers late in payments to completely different creditors.

Oh yeah, universal default. That's the policy that allows them to jack up your credit card rate because your payment to the phone company was late!

Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner, senior adviser Valerie Jarrett, and National Economic Council director Larry Summers will join the president at the meeting.

An industry source tells ABC News that the executives expect to hear from the White House that "the industry is unpopular right now." The source forecasts that the meeting will be "a carrot-and-stick" deal -- the administration will tell the executives that they need their help in dealing with problems such as high interest rates, but they will emphasize the threat of legislation.

"It will be a come-to-Jesus type of meeting," the source said.

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