OK, show of hands: How many of you would have the crust to reject a credit card presented for payment, in person, by a fella named Barack Obama?
It happened recently to the President of the United States of America. While in New York City Sept. 24 to address assembled world leaders at the United Nations, the most powerful man in the world had his credit card spurned at a New York City eatery.
We’ve had binders full of women, Big Bird and bayonets, but until Saturday, hardly a peep has been uttered by the presidential candidates about consumer protection.
With his weekly radio address Saturday, Obama broke the near-silence on the topic. He touted the recent work of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau in beginning to regulate credit bureaus, and in winning multimillion-dollar awards from credit card issuers over business practices unfavorable to consumers.
I’m glad to see the discussion, even if it is late. I’m about to enter my 15th year as a personal finance editor, and the past four years have seen more pro-consumer activity from the federal government than the 10 prior years combined. If you like the additional protection, that’s one more reason to vote for Obama. If you don’t think we can afford them, it’s another reason for voting for Romney.
Facing 25 online personal finance journalists, President Obama got personal, giving a glimpse into his own financial history — including the money advice his grandmother gave him and why the $125,000 in student loans he and his wife Michelle racked up was a good investment.
The president was an unscheduled drop-in guest at the Personal Finance Online Summit, an event held Wednesday at the White House. During it, high-level administration economic officials gave an afternoon of on- and off-the-record briefings to an assorted group of online personal finance editors, myself included. The idea for the summit came because, presidential message adviser Stephanie Cutter said, “Americans are looking to take charge of their personal finance issues … and they’re looking to online sources to get it done.”
No major news was broken, which is why I’m writing a blog item rather than a news story, but the event had some fascinating moments, leading off with the president’s salute to his grandmother’s common-sense money advice — and why in one case it was smart to ignore it.
President Obama, sometimes criticized for an excess of coolness, had something close to an “I feel your pain” moment Friday — and that pain was caused in no small part by his personal credit card use.
The moment came as he announced he had appointed Elizabeth Warren as a special Treasury adviser, a role in which she will shepherd into existence a new federal consumer watchdog agency.
Banking regulators did everything by the book in closing down the bank run by the family of Alexi Giannoulias, the Democratic candidate for President Obama’s old seat in the U.S. Senate.
Politics played no role in the timing of the April closing of Broadway Bank in Chicago, a Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation investigation concluded.