Laws needed to regulate credit card interest rates

Laws needed to regulate credit card interest rates

Laws needed to regulate credit card interest rates

There are a lot of challenges facing American consumers, from rising taxes, government corruption and increasing crime, to failing education and deteriorating product quality. But one of the worst challenges facing the American consumer and American taxpayers is the unregulated credit card banking industry. This week, they have begun squeezing taxpayers dramatically increasing interest rates

By Ray Hanania

Originally published in the Southwest News Newspaper group Jan. 2, 2019

When you hear the phrase “credit card abuse,” it usually evokes the idea of consumers overspending or failing to repay their growing credit card debt.

But the truth is the phrase better describes how banks that issue credit cards abuse consumers without any regulation or restraint. Banks that issue credit cards can do whatever they want. They break agreements and have consumers by the short hairs.

Credit card debt ranks up there as one of America’s greatest threats, with rising crime, rising taxes and fast plummeting education.

According to the Federal Reserve, the average American credit card debt is $5,700, spread out over all Americans. If you measure those who have debt, that average debt rises to nearly $10,000.

credit cards money dollars cash plastic

This week, J.P. Morgan Chase Bank notified credit card holders that they were dramatically increasing the interest rate they charge beginning in February 2019. The rates will go up as much as 10 to 15 percent.

Chase isn’t alone as is the leader of the “cackle” of banks, a term zoologists use to refer to a group of Hyenas. They might also be called a “rhumba,” which refers to a group of snakes.

Whichever term suits you, the banks are our worst predators. Credit card banks are hyenas and snakes that prey on the public without consequences, accountability or regulation.

There are no real laws to constrain the ability of the banks to violate the rights of the public. Credit card companies like J.P. Morgan Chase Bank can do whatever they want, and they do. Another unregulated consumer predator is the cable TV industry.

Years ago I interviewed U.S. Senator Dick Durbin on my radio show and he admitted that that Banks ”own” Washington D.C. doing whatever they want without consequences or accountability.

That’s a problem. Credit card companies like J.P. Morgan Chase Bank are thieves because government does nothing.

For the past 24 years, I have had a card with Chase Bank. The interest rate was 10.5 percent. Last week, Chase said my credit card interest rate would rise to 17.9 percent. If I didn’t like it, that’s too bad.

Banks claim to use the Federal Prime Rate, the rate at which banks can borrow money from the government, to set their interest rates. But that’s a lie. For years, the Federal Prime Rate hovered around 3.5 to 4.5 percent and today has risen only slightly to 5.5 percent.

J.P. Morgan Chase and the rest of the banking cackle of hyenas decided with no input from the public or government regulation to take that slight increase as justification to dramatically increase their interest charge to new levels ranging between 17.9 percent to as much as 29 percent.

Let’s be honest, the Mafia doesn’t charge 25 percent, and yet the Mafia operates under a defensive series of laws called RICO, the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act. I think the nation’s RICO laws should apply to the cackle of banking hyenas.

This all might be a joke except that interest rate charges are more punitive than property taxes and they negatively impact the lives of every American. These same banks that charge 17 to 25 percent for credit card loans only pay 2 percent to Americans on their savings account.

The problem is that when J.P. Morgan Chase Bank raises the interest rates, the rest of the cackle of banking hyenas follow. All of your interest rates are going to go up dramatically this year because of bank greed, banking arrogance, and the fact that no one controls the banks.

Sadly, no one in government wants to confront the cackle of banking hyenas like J.P. Morgan Chase because Chase and other banks dump millions of dollars into the campaign funds at every level of government.

We should crack down on the banks, limit how much money they can give in donations, and set a maximum limit of 3 percent that they can charge above the Federal Prime Rate.

Yes, I said it. Three percent. You want to do something to help the consumer? Regulate the banks and stifle their greed. It’s time that the public turns the tables on the cackle of banking hyenas.

You don’t have to be a victim. All you have to do is speak out against banking abuses. Let your elected officials hear your voices.

(Ray Hanania is an award-winning former Chicago City Hall political reporter and columnist. Hanania can be reached on his personal website at and by email at

History of Federal Prime Interest Rate. Click here.


Average credit card debt. Click here.

What is the Federal Prime Rate. Click here.

Credit card interest rates rising. Click here.

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Ray Hanania

Ray Hanania is an award-winning columnist, author & former Chicago City Hall reporter (1977-1992). A veteran who served during the Vietnam War and the recipient of four SPJ Peter Lisagor Awards for column writing, Hanania writes weekly opinion columns on mainstream American & Chicagoland topics for the Southwest News-Herald, Des Plaines Valley News, the Regional News, The Reporter Newspapers, and Suburban Chicagoland.  

Hanania also writes about Middle East issues for the Arab News, and The Arab Daily News criticizing government policies in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

A critic of mainstream news media bias, Hanania advocates for peace & justice for Israel & Palestine, & the empowerment of Arabs in America. 

"I write about three topics, the Middle East, politics and life in general. I often take my life experiences and offer them in an entertaining way to readers, and I take on the toughest topics like the Israel-Palestine conflict and don't pull any punches about what I feel is fair. But, my priority is always about writing the good story."

Click Here to LISTEN to Hanania's live radio show on 2nd Friday every month 7 AM CST. Click here to listen to Ray's Podcasts. 

His columns are archived here. Hanania was named "Best Ethnic American Columnist" by the New America Media in November 2007, and is the 2009 recipient of the SPJ National Sigma Delta Chi Award for column writing.

Email Ray Hanania at

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