AG calls for new federal credit regulations

RALEIGH He called for new federal regulations Wednesday that would get tough on banks and other businesses.

Cooper's efforts are in response to nearly 500 complaints to his office this year regarding high overdraft fees, credit card rates and related problems.

One of those came from Theresa Camilleri who got a shock one day went she tried to purchase something with her credit card.

"We went to use the card and the gentleman that was trying to do the transaction for me called me back and told me he couldn't do it," she said. "I was like, 'I know you're joking.'"

Camilleri told ABC11 that happened with a credit card she said with no balance and no late payments. Her credit limit plunged from $8,300 to $500.

Teri Smith says for years, she made her American Express payments on time, but when she mistakenly missed one, her interest rate jumped from 10 percent all the way up to 27 percent.

"It just seemed extreme punishment for missing one payment," she offered. "I was shocked and thought this seems like a loan shark rate."

Fortunately, she was able to pay off the balance, but she worries about her other cards.

"It scares me to death the same exact thing can happen with other credit card companies," she said.

Denise Reaves is scared she may lose her home after her mortgage payment shot up.

"Loan went up a 1,000 and some odd dollars which is much more than we anticipated," she said.

Not able to afford the higher amount, she says for months she's tried to get a loan modification.

"The lender is saying you don't have a need for a loan modification or any type of assistance," she said.

Reaves says the lender claims she makes too much money.

It's stories like these that have Attorney General Cooper getting involved.

"We're blocked by federal law from taking action in many of these cases. We send these complaints to federal agencies but there's often little help provided to consumers. This is frustrating and confusing and it's only getting worse," he said.

Cooper - along with consumer advocates - called for stronger national rules and enforcement against high credit card rates and bank fees, unfair loans and other financial practices.

Cooper backs creation of a national consumer financial protection agency which would oversee the financial services industry and its practices.

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