This recent story of a WaMu customer trying desperately to work out a deal to be able to pay off their credit card debt despite losing their job and difficult financial times begs a serious question: are the high credit card rates themselves making their customers unable to pay the debt? I recall an interesting article from 2007 about a credit union in Florida that offered the same low mortgage rates to its prime and sub-prime borrowers and their was virtually no difference in default rates between the two – they were both low. Is it possible that it is the jacking up of interest rates and the unwillingness to make reasonable deals with customers in trouble that is causing customers to default on their debt, not other factors like the losing of jobs? Do credit card issuers really think that jacking someone’s rates up to 28.8% is going to allow them to recover more money than giving them a reasonable rate like 10% and allowing them to pay it off?
Perhaps the credit card issuers like WaMu should consider lowering rates to more reasonable levels to stave off the tidal wave of bad debt coming their way. I think they banking industry’s theory that higher rates for riskier customers protects them against the higher risk is a flawed one.
Just my opinion.