The world economic meltdown has been a massive wake-up call for everyone.  Here is a deeper and strangely more positive look at the Transitions we are experiencing.

I want you to take a look at: A World in Transition by Edmund Bourne 

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To continue on the theme of the greed of Banks, and especially their handling of consumer credit, here is the latest news of what the government is planning to do.  It may not be to control the banks as much as it may be an attempt to get the so called “consumers” to start spending again.


— U.S. federal regulators are poised to adopt tough restrictions to
make it harder for credit-card companies to raise interest rates on
millions of existing customers, reversing decades of light regulation
of the industry.

The new standards, expected to be issued Thursday, would represent
the biggest changes to the industry in a generation and will apply to
more than 16,000 companies, including major credit-card issuers Citigroup Inc., Bank of America Corp., J.P. Morgan Chase & Co. and Capital One Financial Corp.

The new standards come as U.S. consumers are caught in a deepening
economic recession in which access to credit, from student and business
loans to home-equity lines, has been constrained. For many, credit
cards are considered the easiest type of short-term loan to obtain from
a bank.

The standards are expected to alter the types of products offered.
Banks might be less willing to offer cards with low introductory rates
that could be harder to change. Banks might also try to raise rates for
many new customers to compensate for any lost income.

“We think it’s really going to mark the beginning of the new
marketplace for credit cards,” said Edward Yingling, chief executive of
the American Bankers Association, the industry’s biggest trade group.
“It will in some fundamental ways change the product.”

The most controversial new policy is expected to prohibit banks from
raising interest rates on existing card balances as long as a customer
doesn’t fall more than 30 days behind on payments. Industry officials
have estimated the new rules could cost banks $12 billion in annual

The Federal Reserve, Office of Thrift Supervision and National
Credit Union Administration, which drafted the rules, are also expected
to require that banks give customers a “reasonable” amount of time to
make payments and prevent banks from raising a customer’s interest rate
if the person has fallen behind paying other bills, among other things.

Bankers and consumer advocates will closely watch how narrowly
regulators define the “reasonable” standard, which could spark debate
over how onerous the rules are supposed to be.

The new rules, which refer to credit cards, not charge cards, won’t
require congressional approval and are expected to take effect by

Credit cards are a major source of income for banks and of credit
for consumers. The Fed said U.S. banks had $976.1 billion of revolving
debt outstanding at the end of October, a number that comprises mostly
credit-card debt. These products are often controversial, and
regulators hear thousands of complaints each year, typically related to
late fees and interest-rate increases. The Fed said 4.9% of all credit
cards were delinquent at the end of the third quarter, the highest
level since the end of 2002.

The central bank had never used its powers in this area to ban
certain credit-card practices before, and was under enormous pressure
from Democrats in Congress after years of running a hands-off approach
to consumer regulation. Last December, it banned certain mortgage
practices that many believe contributed to the financial crisis.

Shortly after warnings from Capitol Hill, Fed officials began
drawing up new rules. The central bank recently hired consumer advocate
Allen Fishbein to serve as an adviser in its division of consumer and
community affairs. Mr. Fishbein spent years working at the Consumer
Federation of America arguing for tough consumer protection rules.

Credit-card companies in recent months have raised interest rates on
certain cards to offset losses in other areas. Citigroup, which has 54
million active accounts, began notifying some customers recently that
their interest rates were going up by an average of three percentage
points. American Express also announced plans to raise rates on some
customers by two to three percentage points on an annual basis.

Depending on whether the increases apply to existing balances, such action could be limited or banned by the new rules.

The Fed received more than 60,000 comment letters on the proposal, a
record number for any regulatory proposal. Most were from consumers
complaining about their credit cards.

The most significant change between the pending rules and a proposal
in May was the government’s decision not to enact specific rules
related to fees that customers are charged when they overdraw their
bank account. Regulators want more time to study this issue, people
familiar with the matter said.

—Jane J. Kim contributed to this article.

Write to Damian Paletta at damian.paletta@wsj.com

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FRB: Highlights of Proposed Rules Regarding Credit Cards and Overdraft Services

Highlights of Proposed Rules Regarding Credit Cards and Overdraft Services
Regulation AA (Unfair Acts or Practices)
The proposal would amend Regulation AA to prohibit unfair or deceptive acts or practices by banks in connection with credit card accounts and overdraft services for deposit accounts.

Credit Cards

* Time to Make Payments. The proposal would prohibit banks from treating a payment as late unless the consumer has been provided a reasonable amount of time to make that payment. There would be a safe harbor for banks that send periodic statements at least 21 days prior to the payment due date.

* Allocation of Payments. When different annual percentage rates (APRs) apply to different balances on a credit card account (for example, purchases and cash advances), banks would have to allocate payments exceeding the minimum payment using one of three methods or a method equally beneficial to consumers. They could not allocate the entire amount to the balance with the lowest rate. A bank could, for example, split the amount equally between two balances. In addition, to enable consumers to receive the full benefit of discounted promotional rates (for example, on balance transfers), during the promotional period payments in excess of the minimum would have to be allocated first to balances on which the rate is not discounted.

* Applying Rate Increases to Existing Balances. The proposal would prohibit banks from increasing the interest rate on outstanding balances unless the increase is due to: (i) the operation of an index (in other words, the rate is a variable rate); (ii) the expiration or loss of a promotional rate (provided the rate is not increased to a penalty rate); or (iii) the minimum payment not being received within 30 days of the due date.

* Two-Cycle Billing. The proposal would prohibit banks from imposing finance charges based on balances on days in billing cycles preceding the most recent billing cycle, a practice that is sometimes referred to as two-cycle billing.

* Financing of Security Deposits and Fees. The proposal would address concerns regarding subprime credit cards by prohibiting banks from financing security deposits and fees for credit availability (such as account-opening fees or membership fees) if charges assessed during the first twelve months would exceed 50 percent of the initial credit limit. The proposal would also require financed security deposits and fees exceeding 25 percent of the initial credit limit to be spread over the first year.

* Credit Card Holds. The proposal would prohibit banks from imposing a fee when the credit limit is exceeded solely because a hold was placed on available credit. This can occur where the final dollar amount of a transaction was not known in advance (for example, when a consumer checks into a hotel, a hold is placed for the expected cost of the stay).

* Firm Offers of Credit. The proposal would require banks making firm offers of credit advertising multiple APRs or credit limits to disclose the factors that determine whether a consumer will qualify for the lowest APR and highest credit limit advertised (for example, the consumer’s credit history, income, and debts). A safe harbor disclosure is provided.

Overdraft Services

* Right to Opt Out. The proposal would prohibit banks from imposing a fee for paying an overdraft unless the bank has provided the consumer with an opportunity to opt out of the payment of overdrafts and the consumer has not done so. The opt-out right would apply to all transaction types. Banks also would be required to provide consumers a partial opt-out for overdrafts resulting from ATM and point-of-sale transactions.

* Debit Holds. The proposal would prohibit banks from imposing a fee when the account is overdrawn solely because a hold was placed on funds in the consumer’s deposit account.This can occur where the final dollar amount of the transaction was not known in advance (for example, when a consumer purchases fuel at the pump, a hold is placed for the estimated amount of fuel that will be purchased).

Regulation Z (Truth in Lending)
The proposal would also amend Regulation Z to complement the proposed amendments to Regulation AA, including the following:

* Due Dates for Mailed Payments. The proposal would provide that mailed credit card payments received by 5 p.m. on the due date must be considered timely. In addition, if a creditor does not receive or accept mailed payments on the due date (for example, when the due date falls on a Sunday or holiday), a payment received by mail on the next business day would be considered timely.

Regulation DD (Truth in Savings)
The proposal would also amend Regulation DD to complement the proposed amendments to Regulation AA, including the following:

* Disclosure of Aggregate Overdraft Fees. The proposal would extend to all banks and savings associations the requirement to disclose on periodic statements the aggregate dollar amounts charged for overdraft fees and for returned item fees (for the month and the year-to-date). Currently, only institutions that promote or advertise the payment of overdrafts must disclose aggregate amounts.

* Disclosure of Balance Information. The proposal would require banks and savings associations that provide account balance information through an automated system to disclose the amount of the consumer’s funds available for immediate use or withdrawal, without including additional funds the institution may provide to cover overdrafts.

Last update: June 26, 2008

Ron Paul speaks out

Ron Paul gets DFW excited

Here is a link to Ron Paul’s speech in Texas on September 5th. If you have not heard him speak yet, I urge you to take the time and Listen to what he has to say. These ideas may initially sound radical to you, however, they are what our Founding Fathers intended from the beginning. It will take time, patience, and persistence to change things. Now is our opportunity to change the tide!

Multitasking Perspective

Our technology tools are capable of quality multi-tasking, human beings are not !

Personal Strategic Plan

clipped from www.bizsuccess.com

Financial success, no matter how great, can never compensate for poor quality of
life. In the scheme of things, a properly functioning business is supposed to be
the servant of a full and satisfying life that includes good health, close and
loving relationships, an exciting spiritual journey, recreation, culture, and a
powerful contribution to the community.
This quote drives home the essence of how business should be viewed in the scheme of things. All Personal Strategic Plans should take this advice to heart.
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Problem Solving Advice

Section 11: A Message to individuals seeking Freedom, The Great Voting Hoax!

Albert Einstein is reported to have observed on many occasions: "You can NOT solve a problem with the same kind of thinking that has created the problem."