Creditcard users will be better off after new credit card laws go into effect inFebruary. (Photo by Jami Custer)

New credit card laws designed to help consumers

Creditcard users will be better off after new credit card laws go into effect inFebruary. (Photo by Jami Custer) Creditcard users will be better off after new credit card laws go into effect inFebruary. (Photo by Jami Custer)
Creditcard users will be better off after new credit card laws go into effect inFebruary. (Photo by Jami Custer)
BY JAMI MURPHY
Senior Reporter – @cp_jmurphy
11/30/2009 07:14 AM
TAHLEQUAH, Okla. – This year credit card companies and consumers were introduced to new laws designed to help protect consumers. Some laws went into effect in August, but others will not take effect until December and late February.

According to one Cherokee Nation employee, these laws have been needed for several decades because the credit card industry has gone unregulated, raising interest rates and changing terms of credit card contracts for millions of customers while they could.

“With the current economy and financial institutions being held to a stricter code of ethics and operations, reform was just a matter of time,” Deborah Vanderpool, a Self-Sufficiency supervisor with the tribe’s Commerce Group, said. “Consumers have been subject to unscrupulous credit card practices for decades, and we’ve still got a few months until we are fully protected.”

In response to the laws, many banks and credit card issuers have tightened standards for issuing cards, and most all have made it more difficult to qualify for a credit card.

“In a survey of the largest national banks, including 19 that issue credit cards, 68 percent indicated to bank examiners that they had tightened credit card lending standards during the 12-month period ending March 31, 2009,” Vanderpool said.

She said the new laws would affect people who use or will use a credit card and that benefits of these changes are huge for consumers.

In the past, credit card issuers could change account terms, including interest rates and fees, without giving much notice. Now, according to the new laws, lenders must give account holders at least 45 days advance notice of significant changes.

Other big changes include informing customers of the right to cancel an account and that cancelling does not require the users to immediately pay off the balance. Further changes include:

• Monthly credit card bills must disclose the dates by which payments must be received to avoid late penalties and the dates that late fees will be charged to the accounts.
• Card issuers must include warnings in monthly statements indicating consumers who only make minimum payments that the amount of time it will take to pay off the debt in full and the interest they will pay will increase.
• Card issuers must disclose whether interest rates will increase if one or more payments are not received on time and what the penalty interest rate will be. This notice must appear on the monthly statement near the payment due date.
• Consumers can opt out of significant changes in terms to their accounts, including interest rate hikes and increase in fees and other charges.
• Cardholders who are more than 60 days late making payments do not have the right to opt out of APR increases.
• Credit card issuers must inform card users of the right to cancel when they mail the 45-day advance notice of the change in terms.
• Opting out is not considered defaulting on the account and should not be penalized by the card issuers.
• Issuers cannot demand payment in full of the outstanding balance or charge monthly maintenance fees on closed accounts if the consumer rejects the changes in terms.
• Opting out does not include raising minimum monthly payments required as this would actually be better for the consumer and pay off the card balance earlier.

“Currently opting out of interest rate hikes is only granted at the card issuer’s discretion and is not a consumer right,” Vanderpool said. “Opting out will allow the consumer to pay the old, lower interest rate but will not allow further purchases on the card.”

She said there are three methods for repaying balances on accounts that have been closed by consumers choosing to reject changes. They are: paying the balance over at least five years, charging a minimum payment that is up to twice the percentage charged before the change in terms and using the same repayment plan used on the account at the time the consumer rejects the change in terms.

Vanderpool said retroactive interest rate hikes on existing balances are banned except when an introductory period ends, the interest rate is tied to an index and is variable, the card user completes the terms of a workout plan for debt repayment or fails to comply with a workout plan or the card user is more than 60 days late making monthly payments.

Vanderpool said consumers younger than 21 who are not authorized users on a parent’s account must show proof of income to repay credit card loan or have an adult co-signer if they want accounts in their own names.
About the Author
Reporter

Jami Murphy graduated from Locust Grove High School in 2000. She received her bachelor’s degree in mass communications in 2006 from Northeastern State University and began working at the Cherokee Phoenix in 2007.

She said the Cherokee Phoenix has allowed her the opportunity to share valuable information with the Cherokee people on a daily basis. 

Jami married Michael Murphy in 2014. They have two sons, Caden and Austin. Together they have four children, including Johnny and Chase. They also have two grandchildren, Bentley and Baylea. 

She is a Cherokee Nation citizen and said working for the Cherokee Phoenix has meant a great deal to her. 

“My great-great-great-great grandfather, John Leaf Springston, worked for the paper long ago. It’s like coming full circle. I’ve learned so much about myself, the Cherokee people and I’ve enjoyed every minute of it.”

Jami is a member of the Native American Journalists Association, and Investigative Reporters and Editors. You can follow her on Twitter @jamilynnmurphy or on Facebook at www.facebook.com/jamimurphy2014.
jami-murphy@cherokee.org • 918-453-5560
Reporter Jami Murphy graduated from Locust Grove High School in 2000. She received her bachelor’s degree in mass communications in 2006 from Northeastern State University and began working at the Cherokee Phoenix in 2007. She said the Cherokee Phoenix has allowed her the opportunity to share valuable information with the Cherokee people on a daily basis. Jami married Michael Murphy in 2014. They have two sons, Caden and Austin. Together they have four children, including Johnny and Chase. They also have two grandchildren, Bentley and Baylea. She is a Cherokee Nation citizen and said working for the Cherokee Phoenix has meant a great deal to her. “My great-great-great-great grandfather, John Leaf Springston, worked for the paper long ago. It’s like coming full circle. I’ve learned so much about myself, the Cherokee people and I’ve enjoyed every minute of it.” Jami is a member of the Native American Journalists Association, and Investigative Reporters and Editors. You can follow her on Twitter @jamilynnmurphy or on Facebook at www.facebook.com/jamimurphy2014.

News

BY ASSOCIATED PRESS
07/22/2016 12:00 PM
MUSKOGEEE, Okla. (AP) — A federal appeals court has upheld the conviction and 12-year prison sentence of a former Choctaw Nation construction director. A three-judge panel of the 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals denied a motion for a mistrial Tuesday sought by Jason Merida, who was convicted in November 2014 on two counts each of theft and tax fraud and one count each of conspiracy to commit money laundering and conspiracy to commit bribery. Prosecutors alleged contractors used false billing practices between 2008 and 2011 during construction of the tribe's Durant and Pocola casinos. Money generated from the false billings was used to make campaign donations and purchase gifts. Merida testified he received gifts from vendors but claimed it didn't affect his decisions because he did not have the authority to select contractors.
BY LINDSEY BARK
Staff Writer
07/22/2016 09:15 AM
BRUSHY, Okla. – Cherokee Nation citizen Breanna Potter and the Brushy Cherokee Action Association on July 14 hosted the second annual back-to-school giveaway at the Brushy Community Center, providing children and their families needed items such as backpacks, shoes, coats and hygiene kits. “We…have some families in our area that are homeless. They don’t have anywhere to live,” Potter said. “We have families in our area that live in tents, and those families oftentimes can’t get those types of items. So we’re just here to kind of fill in the gaps.” In 2015, Potter and the BCCA began applying for an in-kind donation grant through the Running Strong for American Indian Youth Foundation to get the needed items for the giveaway. “The reason we started writing this grant last year was because there’s a big need in our community for basic essential items, and a lot of time a lot of these families fall through the cracks,” Potter said. “They either make just enough that they don’t qualify for things, or some of the families aren’t actually Cherokee so they don’t qualify for services at the Cherokee Nation. So we have a lot of families that end up falling through the cracks and the system and aren’t able to get the items they need, and the kids are the ones who end up suffering.” Earlier this year Potter received another grant through the Running Strong for American Indian Youth Foundation called the Dreamstarter Grant. With it she created a youth group in the community to help youths gain leadership skills and learn about diabetes prevention. Now youth group members, known collectively as the Brushy Youth Dream Team, are in turn using those acquired skills to give back to their community with Potter leading them as program director. Parents of BYDT members said they noticed the development in their children thank to the new skills. “I think it’s great because my kids are shy. This will teach them, maybe, to communicate better with their peers and with adults and learn to make their way in the community and kind of what their role is, that they can do something even though they’re just kids,” Crystal Thomas, mother of a BYDT member, said. Potter said the impacts the BYDT and BCCA are making in the community are noticeable with events such as the giveaway. “The coolest things is when I’m driving around and everything, I see kids out and I see them wearing these shoes, or I see the kids at school and I happen to stop by for a few minutes and some of the kids have the backpacks or the coats,” Potter said. Potter said the biggest impact she’s seen in the community is that kids are able to receive items that their families struggle to provide. Potter said she and her teams are trying to get additional funding so they can host more events and help more families. For more information about the BCCA and the BYDT, visit <a href="http://www.brushycherokeeactionassociation.org" target="_blank">brushycherokeeactionassociation.org</a>.
BY STAFF REPORTS
07/21/2016 04:00 PM
MONTGOMERY, Ala. – Members of the Tri-Community (W.E.B.) Association horseshoe league in Briggs, Oklahoma, are set to compete in the 2016 National Horseshoe Pitchers Association World Horseshoe Tournament on July 25 through Aug. 6 in Montgomery. The members include Cherokee Nation citizens Al Ross, David Mallory and Michael Cummings along with United Keetoowah Band citizens Gary Bearpaw and Billy Vann. As Oklahoma Horseshoe Pitchers Association members, all five men compete in sanctioned tournaments throughout the state to qualify for the annual world tournament. They will compete against pitchers from all over the United States, Canada and Switzerland. This year, the world tournament consists of 935 entries across eight divisions: open men, open women, senior men, senior women, elder men, junior boys, junior girls and junior cadet. The tournament will be held in the Multiplex at the Crampton Bowl. Mallory, Cummings, Bearpaw and Vann are pitching in the open men’s division while Ross pitches in the senior men’s division. There are varying classes within each division where a pitcher is seeded based on his/her ringer averages. Bearpaw is seeded in Class A1, the highest class in the men’s division, with Vann seeded in Class A2, Mallory is seeded in Class B1, and Cummings is in Class D1. Ross is seeded in senior Class A. There are 16 pitchers in each class who pitch over a three-day span known as the preliminary round. The preliminary round is played July 25 through Aug. 3 for all divisions and classes. Once the preliminary round is complete, monetary prizes worth up to $500 are given to the winners of each class. Winners also have a chance to compete in the championship round Aug.4-6. Winners of the championship round compete for a monetary prize worth up to $4,200 and to call themselves a world horseshoe champion. For updates, go to the NHPA Facebook page. For pitching schedules and live coverage, go to <a href="http://www.horseshoepitching.com" target="_blank">www.horseshoepitching.com</a>.
BY ASSOCIATED PRESS
07/21/2016 12:00 PM
STILLWATER, Okla. (AP) — A prosecutor said the state wants its own psychologist to examine a woman charged with crashing her car into a crowd at the Oklahoma State University homecoming parade. The Tulsa World reports that a pretrial status conference in 26-year-old Adacia Chambers' case was held Tuesday. Payne County District Attorney Laura Austin Thomas said the state would like to have its own witness examine Chambers, a Cherokee Nation citizen, if defense attorney Tony Coleman intends to call a psychologist who met with Chambers soon after her arrest. Coleman said at the hearing that he intends to call on the psychologist to testify. Coleman has said Chambers is mentally ill, but she was found competent to stand trial in December. According to Coleman, the psychologist has not yet performed his evaluation of Chambers because he hasn't received a copy of the final order from the judge approving the use of state funds to pay for his services. Prosecutors said Chambers intentionally drove around a police barricade and into spectators on Oct. 24 in Stillwater. Chambers has pleaded not guilty to four counts of second-degree murder and 42 counts of assault and battery. Chambers' trial is scheduled to begin Jan. 10
BY JAMI MURPHY
Senior Reporter – @cp_jmurphy
07/20/2016 04:30 PM
TAHLEQUAH, Okla. – The Cherokee Nation’s Election Commission approved a press release it intends to use to share voting registration and 2017 election information with CN citizens during its July 12 meeting. In the release, the commission states the first date to remember for the next CN election is Jan. 2, which is the first day to request an absentee ballot. <strong>Other important dates are:</strong> • April 21 – Last day to submit an absentee ballot request form for the general election, • May 27 and May 30 through June 1 – Early walk-in voting, • June 3 – General election, • June 26 – Last day to submit an absentee ballot request form for runoff election, and • July 29 – Runoff election. According to the release, March 31 is the last day for CN citizens to register to vote for the 2017 election. The release states that the Tribal Council seats up for election in 2017 are districts 2, 4, 5, 7, 9, 10, 11, 15 and one At-Large. According to the release, anyone wanting to vote must be a registered CN citizen and registered to vote with the EC. A tribal citizenship card (blue card) alone does not mean a citizen can vote. Also, a person must be 18 years old on or prior to the June 3 general election. Voter applications are available at the EC’s office or online at <a href="http://www.cherokee.org/elections" target="_blank">www.cherokee.org/elections</a>. “Voters residing within the jurisdictional boundaries may vote at their selected precinct, early walk-in voting, or by absentee ballot. At-Large voters may only vote by absentee ballot or early walk-in voting,” the release states. A precinct is an official voting place within a district, as designated by the Election Commission. Voters who reside in the jurisdictional boundaries may select a precinct in the district where their residence is located. Voters residing outside the jurisdictional boundaries, registering for the first time and under the age of 25 may select the districts and precincts of their choice. For more information, write the EC at P.O Box 1188, Tahlequah, OK 74465 or call 918-458-5899 or toll free at 1-800-353-2895. To view the July meeting in its entirety click here. <strong>Frequently Asked Questions</strong> <strong>How do I get an absentee ballot request form?</strong> You can get an absentee ballot request form from the Cherokee Nation Election Commission Office, our website, or contact the Election Commission Office and our staff can mail, email, or fax a form to you. <strong>Will I receive a Precinct Voter ID Card?</strong> Voters registered in the jurisdictional boundaries will receive a Precinct Voter ID Card to inform the voter where they will go to vote. At-Large voters will not receive a Precinct Voter ID Card because they do not have a precinct in which to vote. <strong>I do not live within the Cherokee Nation jurisdiction, can I still vote?</strong> Yes. If you have a Cherokee Nation citizenship card (blue card) you are eligible to vote as long as you have registered to vote with the Cherokee Nation Election Commission. Voters who live outside the jurisdictional boundaries are known as At-Large voters. <strong>I have a felony on my record, can I still vote?</strong> Yes, there is no law prohibiting you from voting in the Cherokee Nation elections. <strong>What do I do if I only have a rural route or P.O. Box address?</strong> If your physical address is a rural route or you only have a P.O. Box, you will need to provide driving directions to your home in order to place you in the correct district.
BY ASSOCIATED PRESS
07/20/2016 02:00 PM
MIAMI, Okla. (AP) — The Shawnee Tribe is planning to build a $1 million cultural center in northeast Oklahoma. The Journal Record reports that the 6,000-square-foot center will be near Miami and will be built in two phases. Construction on the first phase is to begin this fall. Shawnee Tribe Second Chief Ben Barnes says the center will feature artifacts and that it will be able to tell the story of the tribe. Barnes says if other tribes want to put up exhibits, the Shawnee Tribe would be willing to work with them. The center is being built northwest of the Oklahoma Welcome Center on land held in trust for the nine tribes in northeastern Oklahoma, including the Miami, Quapaw, Peoria, Ottawa, Eastern Shawnee, Shawnee, Wyandotte, Seneca-Cayuga and Modoc tribes. The Shawnee Tribe is funding the project.