Comptroller's Credit Card Industry Ties Questioned by New York Times

An insider tour of the agency tasked with managing consumer complaints about credit card companies has raised concerns on the website of the New York Times. A recent Times profile of the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency described the agency's Houston call center and detailed some of the common complaints handled there, such as:

  • credit card charges for disputed transactions,
  • unexpected credit card account closures or credit limit reassessments, and
  • overdraft penalties assessed by banks, even after accountholders made deposits.

Workers at the O.C.C. call center may work diligently to mediate consumer complaints, but the Times profile targeted the agency's leader as a former bank lawyer and lobbyist reluctant to impose penalties that could help protect consumers. Comptroller John C. Dugan earned his appointment in 2005, and has been a vocal opponent of the Credit CARD Act and the recent push for a national Consumer Financial Protection Agency.

As lawmakers prepare to implement the final phase of the Credit CARD Act's regulations, some industry experts have wondered whether a new protection agency would oversee the operations of the bank-friendly O.C.C. Otherwise, the CFPA would become little more than an information clearing house as the Comptroller sets the tone for Americans' relationships with their banks.

About the Author

joe

Joe Taylor Jr. is an internal business consultant for a Fortune 500 company, who writes about finance, culture, and design. He holds a Bachelor of Science in Communications from Ithaca College.