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Passing the Buck

“The nation's banks will be bombarding customers with new fees and products in 2010 as they try to replace more than $50 billion in revenue wiped out by new rules that clamp down on certain business practices. So far, the changes are mostly concentrated in checking accounts and credit cards. In addition to attaching new fees to old products, banks are introducing new types of accounts that they hope will reel in new customers and reduce their funding costs. For plastic, the new rules go into effect in February as part of the Credit Card Act of 2009. The rules will limit some interest-rate increases, require more disclosure to customers and prohibit banks from raising interest rates on current balances unless a customer is at least 60 days behind in a payment. Credit-card issuers collected $22.9 billion in penalty fees—such as those assessed for late payments—in 2009, up from $19 billion in 2008, said Robert Hammer, who runs a credit-card consulting firm in Thousand Oaks, Calif.”
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