We taxpayers bailed out the banks so they could stay in business. What do we get for that? Credit card fee hikes. How's that for gratitude?
By ratcheting up the pressure on customers, major banks -- some of which have received billions of dollars in bailout cash from taxpayers -- are making it likely that a growing percentage will be forced to either default on their obligations or seek bankruptcy protection.
Last week, letters arrived at the homes of Citibank cardholders throughout California warning that their rates could rise to 29.99% if they miss a single payment -- even for cards with low-low-low introductory rates.
Citi customers have the right to decline any such rate hike. But if they do, their account will be closed as soon as the card expires. And that's one of the more generous conditions offered by a leading bank.
Other lenders say cardholders who don't want higher rates can close their accounts immediately and pay off the outstanding balance.
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