Magazine article Business Credit

The Great American Heist

Magazine article Business Credit

The Great American Heist

Article excerpt

The Great American Heist starring Will Smith and Charlize Theron. It's a guns blazing, high-speed chasing, on-the-edge-of-your-seat thriller ... wait ... that's Hollywood. I'm supposed to tell you about the real heist. The one where no laws are broken, however money is taken just the same. In this action-packed thriller (or should I say horror) you get to be Charlize or Will, which is pretty cool, but the rest goes downhill fast. The guns are ink pens, the high-speed chase is high-speed Internet, and there are no armored cars, just monthly statements.

I have worked with some of the largest Fortune 500 companies in the country, and you would think they have the best talent money can buy and that they would not fall prey. Truth is, you would be mistaken, because every day they do! But how does this happen?

When you were a small child, you were being trained for this real-life movie. It all started when your big brother or sister reached up into the closet and blew the dust off a familiar game, the one that no longer had the rule book in it. They said, "It's okay, don't worry, I know how to play. I will teach you. I have all the rules memorized." Hmmm. As the game went on, the rules seemed to constantly change. Weird thing was, never to your favor. When you were collecting rent on Broadway for $50 (as a future credit manager in training) there was nothing at risk other than your pride if they happened to slide by you too fast and you didn't collect the rent. Today, you are all grown up, and the game is "credit card interchange," not Monopoly, and it is not merely $50 or your pride at risk. Today, when they slide by you and steal your company's hard-earned profits, it could be your job and your livelihood as well. Companies are setting records with the numbers of employees being laying off, and every dime counts. While you are trying to cut costs at every corner, they are busy trying to find ways to overcharge you so they can stay afloat. Here is an excerpt from USA Today that may shed some insight as to the mindset you are up against.

Tommy Newsom was shocked when his bank nearly doubled his credit card interest rate this year, to 27%, for no apparent reason. A customer rep told him the law allowed the bank to do so, and that was all the justification it needed.

"I never missed a payment," says Newsom, 63, who owes about $5,000 on the card. "The bank is just looking for a reason to maximize profits."

In recent years, banks have sharply raised interest rates and penalty fees on credit cards. As the economy tanks and banks' mortgage-related losses balloon, some banks are stepping up such increases to boost revenue. Bearing the brunt are consumers for whom a jump in rates and fees can make it tougher to pay their bills at a time when household budgets already are being stretched. …

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