Obama Tackles Credit Card Mess -- Which is Extra-Messy in New York

The White House says the next big item on its long agenda will be a crackdown on shady credit card industry practices that have saddled American consumers with huge debts that can't get out of, White House economic adviser (and former Harvard president) Larry Summers told NBC's meet the press yesterday

One of the big industry abuses that Summers didn't mention -- but that New Yorkers know all too well -- involves what happens when people get sued for being in debt. Over the past few years, credit card debt lawsuits have become the most common kind of lawsuit in the city. Last month, we blogged about complaints against debt collection agencies, which have jumped 70 percent since last year, according to the city.

Most of the cards involved in lawsuits in NYC are subprime cards -- just the kind Summers is talking about. They come with high, and often hidden "variable" interest rates and and other disguised transaction fees. Four hundred thousand NYC households spend almost half their monthly income paying credit card debt.

The Voice has a big story about these lawsuits coming down the pipeline, so stay tuned. Photo (cc) Andres Rueda.

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