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 STAFF REPORTS
06/30/2016 04:00 PM
PARK HILL, Okla. – The Cherokee Heritage Center is getting an $8,500 grant from the Carolyn Watson Rural Oklahoma Community Foundation to expand its award-winning Cultural Outreach Program by providing free services within Cherokee, Adair, Sequoyah, LeFlore, Latimer and Haskell counties. “We are so pleased to be receiving this grant and are looking forward to utilizing it to further our reach in northeast Oklahoma,” CHC Executive Director Candessa Tehee said. “These funds will allow us to continue our work promoting Cherokee culture so our history and traditions may thrive for generations to come.” The Cultural Outreach Program has been recognized by the American Association of State and Local History. The program aims to engage and enlighten participants, inspire curiosity and foster learning through hands-on art classes, interactive theatrical storytelling and cultural presentations. For more information, call Gina Burnett at 918-456-6007, ext.6144 or email gina-burnett@cherokee.org. The Carolyn Watson Rural Oklahoma Community Foundation was founded by the late Carolyn Watson, CEO and chairman of Shamrock Bank N.A. in 1995 to improve the quality of life in rural Oklahoma. Through its two grant programs, the organization promotes education, health, literacy and arts and the humanities in 20 Oklahoma counties. Since its inception, the foundation has awarded nearly $900,000 in grants to schools, teachers and communities in rural Oklahoma. Additionally, the Carolyn Watson Opportunities Scholarship offers awards of up to $10,000 per academic year for high school seniors graduating from 62 rural Oklahoma counties to attend college. For more information, visit <a href="http://www.ruraloklahoma.org" target="_blank">www.ruraloklahoma.org</a>.
BY STAFF REPORTS
06/30/2016 12:00 PM
TAHELQUAH, Okla. – The Cherokee Nation on June 3 honored 30 community organizations formed and run by CN citizens who do volunteer work, promote Cherokee culture and make other contributions. About 500 organization members attended the tribe’s Community Impact Awards banquet held at Northeastern State University. Most of the organizations honored are located within the tribe’s 14-county jurisdiction and range from organizations that run shelters to those building playgrounds. “These Cherokee Nation citizens deserve our praise for doing extremely important work to improve the lives of others in their cities and communities,” Secretary of State Chuck Hoskin Jr. said. “That work includes mentoring Cherokee youth with their homework after school to running nutrition centers as volunteers for our elders, which is why it’s fitting that we honor these groups each year.” Breanna Potter, 21, a CN citizen from Sallisaw, started the Brushy Youth Dream Team after she noticed there were not many places for teens to hang out in the Brushy community. The tribe honored her with the Community Inspiration Award. “We’ve had two youth lock-ins with about 50 students, and we train on leadership, healthy lifestyles and teambuilding,” she said. “It’s providing them a place to go that is positive.” The teens also go through leadership training and work on community service projects together. The Spavinaw Community Building Board Inc., of Mayes County, received the Elder Care Award. Three days a week they cook meals for about 60 seniors and hold sessions on elder care, blood pressure checks, signs of dementia and other topics. They also deliver food to homebound seniors. “We have to check on our elders to make sure they are OK in our community,” board member Susan Winn said. “It’s important these elders see someone or have someone to talk to, since in many cases most are in a one-resident home.” Winn said she was honored by the Nation’s recognition. “I was almost in tears, I was so proud. It’s the first award for us and a milestone.” The following organizations received the following Community Impact Awards: • Newcomer of the Year Award: P.O.T.L.U.C.K. Society of Claremore • Mary Mead Volunteerism Award: Brushy Cherokee Action Association, Sequoyah County • Most Improved Award: C.C. Camp Community Organization of Adair County • Best in Technology Award: Tahlequah Men’s Shelter and Cherokees of Orange County, Calif. • Continuing Education Award: #4Hope Inc. of Locust Grove • Elder Care Award: Spavinaw Community Building Board Inc. and Colorado Cherokee Circle of Denver • Evaluations and Outcomes Measurements Award: Encore! Performing Society of Tahlequah • Best-In-Reporting Award: Stilwell Public Library Friends Society of Adair County and Cherokee Community of Central California • Technical Assistance Award: Tri-Community W.E.B. Association in Briggs • Grant Writer of the Year Award: Cherokee Elders Council of Locust Grove • Strong Hands Award: Orchard Road Community Outreach of Stilwell • Cultural Perpetuation Award: Cherokee National Treasures Association and Valley of the Sun Cherokees of Phoenix • Historical Preservation Award: Adair County Historical & Genealogical Association and San Diego Cherokee Community • Lifetime Achievement Award: George and Linda Miller of Webbers Falls • Community Partnership Award: Cherokees for Black Indian History Preservation in Tahlequah and Capital City Cherokees of Washington, D.C. • Outstanding Communication Award: Indian Women’s Pocahontas Club of Claremore and Cherokee Community of North Texas of Dallas • Above and Beyond Award: Neighborhood Association of Chewey • Youth Participation Award: Encore! Performing Society of Tahlequah and Kansas City Cherokee Community • Mission Accomplished Award: Native American Association of Ketchum • Community Inspiration Award: Breanna Potter of Sequoyah County and Roger Vann of Adair County (posthumously) • Organization of the Year Award: Neighborhood Association of Chewey in Adair County and Mount Hood Cherokees of Eugene, Oregon.
BY LENZY KREHBIEL-BURTON
Special Correspondent
06/30/2016 08:15 AM
TULSA, Okla. – The Tulsa County Sheriff’s Office is getting some new equipment courtesy of the Cherokee Nation. On June 15, Tribal Councilor Buel Anglen presented a $5,000 check to the Tulsa County Sheriff’s Office on behalf of the Nation. The funds, generated by the tribe’s motor vehicle tag compact with the state, will go towards replacing some of the department’s bulletproof vests, which last about five years. With each vest priced at about $700 each, the contribution will cover seven vests. Officials with the Tulsa County Sheriff’s Office said they expect to replace about 40 full-time deputies’ vests this year. That figure does not include participants in the department’s currently suspended reserve deputy program. With most of his constituents living in Tulsa County, Anglen said the contribution was overdue. His district includes the city of Tulsa north of Admiral Boulevard, Sperry and portions of Collinsville, Skiatook and Owasso. “I’ve always really wanted to contribute to Tulsa County Sheriff’s Office because I’ve regularly contributed to law enforcement agencies in Rogers County,” Anglen said. “So I found a connection and made it happen. Tulsa County is a big county and while I don’t have it all in my district, I do have a huge amount of it that’s served by Tulsa County Sheriff’s Office’s protection. They deserve some of that money just like any other law enforcement agency.”
BY STAFF REPORTS
06/29/2016 02:00 PM
The Cherokee Phoenix Editorial Board will meet at 9 a.m. CST, July 12, 2016, via conference call. It is an open meeting and the public is welcome to attend by using the conference call information to join the meeting. <a href="http://www.cherokeephoenix.org/Docs/2016/6/10415_7.12.16CherokeePhoenixEditorialBoardMeetingAgenda.pdf" target="_blank">Click here to view</a>the agenda. Dial-in: 866-210-1669 Entry code: 4183136#
BY LENZY KREHBIEL-BURTON
Special Correspondent
06/28/2016 08:15 AM
WASHINGTON – National retailer Dollar General will have to go before a tribal court judge thanks to a U.S. Supreme Court ruling. On June 23, the Supreme Court announced it had deadlocked 4-4 in Mississippi Band of Choctaw Indians vs. Dollar General, which raised the question of whether tribes have the authority to pursue civil litigation over the activities of non-Natives on tribal trust land. By virtue of the tie, the court upheld a ruling from the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals that sided with the tribe. In 2003, a non-Native Dollar General manager allegedly sexually assaulted a 13-year-old Mississippi Choctaw boy who was working at the Dollar General store on the reservation through the tribe’s summer youth program. When the federal government declined to pursue criminal charges against the manager or company, the victim’s parents sued both the manager and the retailer in tribal court. Despite signing a lease that required it to give the Mississippi Band of Choctaw Indians’ court system legal authority over it, Dollar General balked, claimed the tribe did not have jurisdiction and pursued litigation that was heard by the U.S. Supreme Court in December 2015. More than 100 tribes and Indigenous organizations filed amicus briefs with the Supreme Court in support of the Mississippi Band of Choctaw Indians, with many noting the potential implications for Indian Country’s domestic violence cases if the court sided with Dollar General. According to a recent study released by the National Institute of Justice, a supermajority of violent crimes against Native Americans – both male and female – are committed by non-Native assailants. “Today’s decision reaffirms tribal sovereignty and the inherent civil authority of tribal courts to protect our citizens when non-Indians assault them,” Jana Walker, a senior attorney at the Indian Law Resource Center, said. “This is critical considering that a National Institute of Justice research report issued last month found that more than four in five Native women have experienced violence in their lifetimes, and more than one in two have experienced sexual violence.” With the tie, the possibility remains for the Supreme Court to revisit the issue of tribal jurisdiction in the future, as the decision does not create a binding nationwide precedent. “It is a reminder that more work is needed to educate lawyers, judges, and lawmakers about tribal sovereignty and the authority of tribal courts,” Walker said. The case will now go back to tribal court. The family of the victim is seeking $2.5 million in damages. In a statement released June 24, Principal Chief Bill John Baker praised the Supreme Court’s decision. “As tribal sovereign governments, we applaud the Supreme Court’s preservation of our right to protect tribal citizens on tribal land,” he said. “The Cherokee Nation is taking critical steps to strengthen its ability to arrest, convict and prosecute people who commit crime in our jurisdiction and against our citizens. “We also continue to strengthen our civil code to allow us to increase our exercise of civil jurisdiction over non-Indian people and companies who commit wrongs within the Cherokee Nation. This will better protect all of our citizens, including our most vulnerable, like the elderly, women, and children.”
BY ASSOCIATED PRESS
06/27/2016 02:00 PM
ASHEVILLE, N.C. (AP) — A man has pleaded not guilty to charges that he set a fire five years ago that burned 142 acres of land belonging to the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians. The Asheville Citizen-Times reports that Raymond Neal Swayney was indicted last month after being accused of setting the May 21, 2011 fire. Swayney pleaded not guilty to the two arson-related charges Monday in U.S. District Court in Asheville. If convicted, he could face up to 15 years in prison, in addition to a fine. Swayney has been released from custody on a $25,000 bond.