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Wednesday, July 17, 2024

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Trump running mate Vance to deliver 'the most important speech' of his career at Republican convention tonight; Alabama group receives grant to boost FAFSA submissions; Bilingual, multicultural staff needed for NJ addiction treatment; Toledo plant to manufacture EVs with federal funding.

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The Republican National Convention connects crime to migration. Kari Lake and delegates from Texas, Florida, and California talk about border issues. Desantis pokes fun at President Biden and Nikki Haley gives the night's big speech.

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It's grass-cutting season and with it, rural lawn mower races, Montana's drive-thru blood project is easing shortages, rural Americans spend more on food when transportation costs are tallied and a lack of good childcare is thwarting rural business owners.

IL financial jobs seen at risk with possible merger

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Monday, July 1, 2024   

Two of the largest credit card companies in the United States want federal regulators to greenlight a merger and the deal has been met with skepticism from a consumer rights group.

Capital One and Discover Financial Services agreed in February to combine their services in a $35 billion deal.

Patrick Woodall, managing director of policy at Americans for Financial Reform -- which is composed of civil rights, labor and other civic organizations and promotes an equitable financial system for consumers -- noted the merger would pose a hardship for some.

"This disproportionately impacts Black and Latino families who are much more likely to have subprime credit scores, much more likely to struggle paying their credit card bill," Woodall pointed out. "It would give the company the power to extract value and money from these working families."

Corporate mergers often mean excess jobs will be cut. In 2021, Discover opened a customer care center in Chicagoland, but Woodall fears call center and marketing positions there are on the line. Should the merger receive approval, Capital One has vowed to retain all Discover workers for one year. Then, Capitol One's management can legally close all Discover operations.

The Bank Merger Review Modernization Act mandates federal regulators consider the effects of a proposed merger on the community it serves. According to the financial site Experian, Illinoisans hold an average yearly credit card balance of almost $7,000.

Woodall believes the merger will lead to increased credit card costs, which he said are "likely to gouge consumers."

"It's creating a bank so large and so weighted towards credit cards that in the event of sort of an economic downturn, this bank could be in trouble," Woodall contended. "That could cause systemic problems across the broader economy and banking system."

The Federal Reserve and the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency will hold an open meeting July 19 for community input. Woodall hopes federal regulators will "do the right thing" by standing up for the statutory requirements and blocking the merger.

Disclosure: Americans for Financial Reform contributes to our fund for reporting on Budget Policy and Priorities, Campaign Finance Reform/Money in Politics, and Social Justice. If you would like to help support news in the public interest, click here.


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