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Debtor NationThe History of America in Red Ink$
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Louis Hyman

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9780691140681

Published to Princeton Scholarship Online: October 2017

DOI: 10.23943/princeton/9780691140681.001.0001

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Securing Debt in an Insecure World

Securing Debt in an Insecure World

Credit Cards and Capital Markets

(p.220) Chapter Seven Securing Debt in an Insecure World
Debtor Nation

Louis Hyman

Princeton University Press

This chapter explores how profits on credit cards became the center of lending. By the early 1980s, credit cards metamorphosed from break-even investments to leading earners. With much higher profits than commercial loans, financial institutions began to lend as much money as they could to consumers on credit cards. By the early 1990s, investments in credit cards were twice as profitable as conventional business loans. Increasingly, the now plentiful credit cards allowed consumers to borrow more money and with greater flexibility than they had before. For home owners, home equity loans also offered a new way to borrow by tapping into the value of their homes. Like credit cards, home equity loans allowed borrowers to pay back their debt when they wanted, without a fixed schedule.

Keywords:   credit cards, commercial loans, financial institutions, credit card investments, business loans, lending, home equity loans

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