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Bankruptcy Reform: Designed to Protect Big Business

Who will benefit from the new bankruptcy reform laws? The financial services industry and other big business groups, that's who.

These groups contributed millions of dollars to elect Bush and other Republican candidates in 2000 and 2004, with the goal of overhauling the bankruptcy system. They and other big business groups have continued to spend millions, rage arguments and lobby persistently for bankruptcy reform. In March 2005, with the House and Senate loaded top heavy with Republicans, they succeeded.

The financial services industry includes the banks, credit unions, the American Bank Association, credit card companies and retailers.

Big business groups pressuring for legislation include auto makers such as the Ford Motor Company, General Motors, and DaimlerChrysler. These groups were willing to pay millions of dollars and spend many years lobbying for bankruptcy reform. The car makers, unhappy with the way auto loans are handled when an individual files for bankruptcy, pushed for reform.

Others who lobbied heavily for reform were car dealers, record labels, and gaming interests such as casinos, many of whom represent large corporations and prime lenders, such as MBNA Corporation and American Express Company, who contributed millions not only to stack the political odds in favor of the bankruptcy reform bill, but to elect candidates sympathetic to their goals. MBNA Corp. and American Express Co. are among the top beneficiaries of the bankruptcy reform.

Bankruptcy reform supporters argue that debtors seeking relief through bankruptcy are either purposely gaming the nation's bankruptcy system or they are irresponsible spenders who should pay at least a portion of their bills if they are able to. In fact, about half of the claims filed for bankruptcy are attributed to medical costs.

Bankruptcy reform will require most filers to receive credit counseling and lessons on how to improve their financial management skills. Bankruptcy reform states that filers pay for the counseling themselves.

Included in the new bill is a provision requiring that credit card billing statements include an example of the time it would take to pay off the balance at a particular rate of interest. Billing statements are also required to supply a toll free number for the consumer to call and inquire about the length of time it would take to pay off the balance if they are only making the minimum monthly payments.

Citizen advocate Suzanne Arthur highly recommends the Repair Bad Credit Newslog, for news and further information on consumer debt and repairing credit scores. Go to: Bad Credit Repair Newslog

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