Financial Update (July-September 2000)


Cover Story

Direct Deposit

Check Services

Annual Report

Credit Protection Brochure

Community Affairs Web Page

Consumer Privacy


Did You Know?

Data Bank

The Docket

Brochure Helps Consumers Understand Credit Laws

Consumer Handbook

If open-ended lease, realized value and origination fee are unfamiliar terms, then the 13th edition of the Consumer Handbook to Credit Protection Laws can help. The brochure explains these and other credit-related terms and the laws surrounding consumer credit.

After the Consumer Credit Protection Act became law in 1968, creditors were required to state the cost of borrowing in a common language so consumers could understand charges, compare costs and shop for the best credit deal. Since that time, credit protections have increased. The laws are aimed at reducing the problems and confusion about consumer credit, which, as it has become more widely used in the U.S. economy, has become more complex. Together, these laws detail how individuals are to be treated in their financial dealings. The revised edition of the Consumer Handbook to Credit Protection Laws reflects recent changes in law and regulation.

The brochure explains how consumer credit laws can help a consumer shop and apply for credit, maintain a credit standing and, if necessary, complain about an unfair deal. It also explains what a consumer should look for when using credit, details what creditors look for before extending credit and reviews the legal solutions to discriminatory practices that have made it difficult for many women and minorities to get credit.

In addition, the brochure explains some of the more complex aspects of credit, such as leasing, canceling a credit transaction that uses a consumer’s home as credit, and liability limits on lost or stolen credit cards. A directory of federal agencies and information on how to file a credit complaint are also provided.

Copies of the revised brochure are available from the Federal Reserve Board at Publications Services, Mail Stop 127, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System, Washington, D.C. 20551; the first 100 copies are free. The brochure also is available on the Board’s Web site at