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AARP: Increased Investor Protections Would Provide Vital Safeguards to Help Create Financial Stability for Millions of Struggling Americans

April 23, 2009

AARP Media Relations
202-434-2560
media@aarp.org

AARP: Increased Investor Protections Would ProvideVital Safeguards to Help Create Financial Stability for Millions of Struggling Americans

White House Meeting with Credit Card Issuers Underscores Need to Protect Consumers from Misleading and Abusive Lending Practices

Washington, D.C. – AARP applauds the efforts of the President and Congressional leaders to put in place additional oversight and tougher regulations in order to protect credit card consumers. As the recession continues, and million of families continue to struggle to makes ends meet, credit card usage among older Americans remains at a brisk pace. According to AARP research, among those 50+, the mean number of times they have used a credit card in the past 3 months is 22. And while more than half state they pay the total outstanding monthly balance each month, one-third carry a balance, paying more than the minimum, but less than the total.

“During this time of economic instability we need to be doing all we can to give struggling families the opportunity to pay down their credit card debt, rather than saddle them with deceptive fees and interest rates that do little more than make their debt all the larger,” said Nancy LeaMond AARP Executive Vice President for Social Impact. “As we continue to see heavy reliance on credit cards, we must have safeguards in place to ensure lenders operate transparently and are held accountable for their lending practices. While not all credit card issuers engage in questionable practices, we must make uniform rules to help guide the lending process in a fair manner throughout the industry. We are encouraged by the steps the White House and Congress have taken to address some of the troublesome questions surrounding credit card lending practices. AARP looks forward to working closely with our elected leaders to further promote financial security through increased investor protections.”

AARP research shows that, overall, older Americans heavily rely on credit cards, with 76 percent of the population having at least one. Unfortunately, with the high rate of usage comes a high rate of concern in the ability to pay down their debt. Among Boomers and older Americans, 44 percent consider credit card debt to be a “major concern.” The survey also found that more than a quarter of people age 45 and older reported having difficulty paying off credit card debt.

AARP supports legislative efforts to protect Americans of all ages who use credit cards. AARP is on record supporting new regulations concerning unfair and deceptive acts and practices (UDAP).

About AARP
AARP is a nonprofit, nonpartisan membership organization that helps people 50+ have independence, choice and control in ways that are beneficial and affordable to them and society as a whole. AARP does not endorse candidates for public office or make contributions to either political campaigns or candidates. We produce AARP The Magazine, the definitive voice for 50+ Americans and the world's largest-circulation magazine with over 34.5 million readers; AARP Bulletin, the go-to news source for AARP's 40 million members and Americans 50+; AARP Segunda Juventud, the only bilingual U.S. publication dedicated exclusively to the 50+ Hispanic community; and our website, AARP.org. AARP Foundation is an affiliated charity that provides security, protection, and empowerment to older persons in need with support from thousands of volunteers, donors, and sponsors. We have staffed offices in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands.

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