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Featured Event: Vision Series: Todd Zywicki

  • April 8, 2013 at 7:15 pm

Arlington, Founders Hall, Room 134

The Not-So-Good-Old-Days of Consumer Credit: How to Think About Consumer Credit and Its Regulation. In the wake of the financial crisis many have pined for a supposed golden age of consumer credit, when consumers lived within their means, eschewed debt, saved for their purchases, and credit offerings were more consumer-friendly. But history tells a different story.

Credit has been a ubiquitous part of the American experience and has always been accompanied by widespread hand-wringing about how others use it. Along with the rise of consumer credit in the post-World War II era and deregulation that empowered competition and consumer choice came the criticisms that underlay the financial crisis. The regulatory reforms proposed in response are simply a rerun of a cycle of regulation and deregulation in American history. This history enables an accurate prediction that this intervention and regulation will repeat the errors of the past, with unfortunate unintended consequences for consumers such as driving the most vulnerable consumers out of the mainstream banking system and forcing greater reliance on alternative lenders.

Teresa Finn, (703) 993-2648, tfinn2@gmu.edu, Office of the Provost

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