Bangor Daily News: Ex-MBNA employees fault credit practices
AFFIL appeared in this article by Abigail Curtis on September 25, 2008:
Former MBNA customer service representative Cate Colombo of Camden can’t forget the abandoned wife she persuaded to take on $40,000 of credit card debt.
Or the many military spouses she wasn’t allowed to offer the lower interest rate to which they were legally entitled.
And certainly not the time her manager yelled at her when she wouldn’t give a 90-year-old man a $100,000 line of credit.
“I said no, I won’t do it. I refuse,” Colombo recalled Wednesday. “I got pulled out of my chair and told I was insubordinate.”
Colombo and Jerry Young, also of Camden, are two whistle-blowing former employees of the now-defunct credit card giant. They are speaking out against the business practices that they say were pervasive, unethical — and that have played a role in the country’s current economic downturn.
“The customer needs more protection,” Young said. “I really, truly believe that many people who are using their credit cards fail to realize how additional fees come about.”
The two participated in a press conference arranged by Americans for Fairness in Lending.
Some of the specific practices they are decrying include having to push exorbitantly high lines of credit on unsuspecting customers, not being allowed to take no for an answer and being pressured to sell extras such as credit card insurance.
“I became increasingly disturbed by the practices,” Colombo, 49, said. “I would be washing dishes at night and cry into the sink, and my kids didn’t know what was wrong.”
The consumer advocacy group was marking Tuesday’s passage by the U.S. House of Representatives of the act known as the Credit Cardholders’ Bill of Rights and bringing attention to what officials called the “tricks and traps” of the credit industry.