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F ed er a l r e s e r v e Ba n k o f Dallas DALLAS. TEXAS 7S222 C irc u la r No. 79-12 Jan u ary 18, 1979 NEW CONSUMER EDUCATION PAMPHLET "Consum er Handbook to C re d it Protection Laws" TO ALL BANKS, CR ED ITO RS, AND OTHERS CONCERNED IN THE ELEVENTH FEDERAL RESERVE D IS T R IC T : O ur latest in a series of pamphlets is now a v a ila b le for d is trib u tio n . T h e booklet, en titled "Consum er Handbook to C re d it Protection L aw s," was p re p ared by the D ivision of Consum er A ffa irs of the Board of G overnors of the Fed eral R eserve System and deals w ith the cost of c re d it, c re d it ap p licatio n s, c re d it h isto ry and reco rd s , correcting c re d it m istakes, and how to file a consumer com p lain t about c re d it pro ced u res. Once again we w ould encourage member banks to d is trib u te copies of this booklet to consumers through lobby displays and other means. Copies of the booklet may be o rd ered by b an ks, c re d ito rs , and members of the public free of charge from the Federal R eserve Bank of D a llas. Requests should be made in w ritin g to the S e c retary's O ffice, Federal R eserve Bank of D a llas, Station K, D allas, Texas 75222. A copy of this booklet is enclosed fo r your referen ce. S in ce re ly y o u rs , Robert H . Boykin F irs t V ic e P resident Enclosure This publication was digitized and made available by the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas' Historical Library (FedHistory@dal.frb.org) CONSUMER HANDBOOK TO CREDIT PROTECTION LAWS CONSUMER HANDBOOK TO CREDIT PROTECTION LAWS SEtssarF*' ,d " 1 Decemb«r 1978 CONTENTS • Page INTRODUCTION........................................... 3 THE COST OF CR E D I T ...................................... 5 Shopping i the F r t Step.................................. s is What Laws Apply?....................................... The Finance Charge and Annual Percentage Rate (APR)........... A Comparison.......................................... Cost of Open-end Credit .................................. Leasing Costs and Terms.................................. Open-end Leases and Balloon Payments....................... Advertising ............................................ Costs of Settlement on a House.............................. APPLYING FOR CREDIT .................................... The Old Story of Discrimination.............................. What Law Applies?...................................... What Creditors Look For ................................. Information the Creditor Can’ Use............................ t Special Rules........................................... Discrimination Against Women .............................. . I You’ Turned Down ................................... f re 5 5 6 7 8 10 11 12 12 13 13 13 14 15 16 19 23 CREDIT HISTORIES A N D R E C O R D S ............................ 24 Building Up a Good Record................................ What Laws Apply?....................................... Credit Histories f r Women ................................ o Keeping Up Credit Records................................ 24 25 26 27 CORRECTING CREDIT MISTAKES..............................29 What Laws Apply?....................................... B l i g Errors ........................................... iln Defective Goods or Services................................ Prompt Credit for Payments and Refunds f r Overpayments ........ o Cancelling a Second Mortgage.............................. Lost or Stolen Credit Cards ................................ Unsolicited Cards........................................ Discounts f r Cash Payments............................... o 29 29 33 33 34 35 36 36 COMPLAINING A B O U T C R E D I T .............................. 37 Complaining to Federal Enforcement Agencies .................. Penalties Under the Laws.................................. 37 38 G L O S S A R Y ............................................... 40 SUBJECT INDEX........................................... 43 The Consumer Credit Protection Act of 1968 — which launched Truth i n Lending — was a landmark piece of l g s a i n For the frt time, creditors were eilto. is required to s a e the costs of borrowing i a common language so that you — the tt n customer — could figure out exactly what charges would be, compare c s s and ot, shop f r c e i . o rdt Since 1968, credit protections have multiplied r p d y The concepts of “f i ” ail. ar and “equal” credit have been written into laws that outlaw discrimination i c e i n rdt transactions; require that consumers be told the reason when c redit i denied; give s borrowers access to t eir credit records; and se up a method to s t l b l i g h t ete iln disputes. Each of these laws was intended to remove some of the problems and con fusion from consumer cr d t which, as i became more widely used i our economy, ei t n also grew more complex. Together, these laws se a standard f how individuals t or are to be treated i t e r daily credit dealings. n hi The laws say, for instance: — that you can no longer be refused a credit card j s because you’e a ut r s ngle woman; i — that you can l m t your r s i a credit card i l s or s o e ; ii ik f s ot tln . — that you can straighten out errors i your monthly bl without damage n il to your credit r t n ; aig — and that you won’ find credit shut o f j s because you’ reached the t f ut ve . age of 65. INTRODUCTION 3 But, l tthe buyer b e aw are! I i important to know your r g t and how to use e ts ihs them. This handbook explains how the consumer c e i laws can help you shop for rdt c e i , apply fo i, keep up your c e i standing, and — i need be — complain rdt r t rdt f about an unfair d al. I explains what you should look f r when using credit and e t o what creditors look f r before extending i. I also points out the laws’solutions to o t t discriminatory practices that have made i d f i u t f women and minorities to get t i f c l or credit i the p s . n at Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System December 1978 THE COST OF CREDIT You get credit by promising to pay i the future for something you receive i n n the present. Credit i a convenience. I l t you charge a meal on your c s t es redit card, pay f r o an appliance on the instalment plan, take out a loan to buy a house, or pay f or schooling or vacations. With c e i , you can enjoy your purchase while you’e rdt r paying f i— or you can make a purchase when you’e lacking ready cash. or t r But there are s r n s attached to credit too. I usually costs something. And of tig t course what i borrowed must be paid back. s I you are thinking of borrowing or opening a credit account, your f r t step f is should be to figure out how much i w l cost you and whether you can afford i. t il t Then you should shop around for the best terms. These laws can help you compare c s s ot: TRUTH IN LENDING requires creditors to give you certain basic infor mation about the cost of buying on c e i . These “disclosures” can help rdt you shop around for the best d al. e Shopping is the First Step W hat Laws Apply? 5 T R U T H IN LEASING disclosures can help you compare the cost and terms of one lease with another and with the cost and terms of buying f r o cash or on c e i . rdt The Finance Charge and Annual Percentage Rate (A PR ) Credit costs vary. By remembering two terms, you can compare c redit prices from different sources. Under Truth i Lending, the creditor must tl you — i n el n writing and before you sign any agreement — the finance charge and the annual percentage r t . ae The finance charge i the t t l dollar amount you pay to use c e i . I i - 1 s oa rdt t n eludes inte e t c s s and sometimes other c s s such as service charges, some , rs ot, ot, credit-related insurance premiums or appraisal f e . es For example, borrowing $100 f a year might cost you $7 i i t r s . I or n neet f there were also a service charge of $1, the finance charge would be $8. The annual percentage rate (APR) i the percentage cost ( r r l t v c s ) s o eaie ot of credit on a yearly b s s This i your key to comparing c s s regardless of the I ai. s ot, amount of credit or how long you have to repay i: t Again, suppose you borrow $100 for one year and pay a finance charge of $8. I you can keep the e f ntire $100 for the whole year and then pay i al tl back a once, you are paying an APR of 8 per c n . t et But, i you repay the $100 and finance charge ( t t l of $108) i twelve f a oa n equal monthly instalments of $9 each, you don’ r a l get to use $100 t ely for the whole year. I f c , you get to use l s and l s of that $100 each n at es es . month. I t i case the $8 charge for credit amounts to an APR of 14.5 n hs ‘ per c nt. e A l creditors — banks, s o e , car dealers, credit-card companies, finance l trs companies — must sta e the cost of t e r credit i terms of the finance charge and t hi n the APR. The law says these two pieces of information must be shown to you be fore you sign a credit contract. Federal law does not s t i t r s rates or other c e i e neet rdt charges. But i does require t e r disclosure so that you can compare c t hi redit c s s ot. Even when you understand the terms a creditor i o f r n , i’ easy to under s f e i g ts estimate the difference i dollars that different terms can make. Suppose you’e n r buying a $5,000 c r You put $1,000 down, and need to borrow $4,000. Compare a. these three credit arrangements: APR CREDITOR A CREDITOR B CREDITOR C 11% 11% 12% Length o f Loan Monthly paym ent Total Finance C h arg e Total Cost 3 years 4 years 4 years $131 $ 716 $ 962 $1,056 $4,716 $103 $105 $4,962 $5,056 How do these choices stack up? The answer depends partly on what you need. 7 A Comparison The low est cost loan i available from Creditor A. s But i you were looking for lo w e r monthly paym ents, you could get them f by paying the loan o f over a longer period of time. However, you would have t f o pay more i t t l c s s A loan from Creditor B — also a an 11 per cent APR, but n oa ot. t for four years — w l add almost $250 to your finance charge. il I that four-year loan were available only from Creditor C, the A P R o f 12 per f cent would add another $94 to your finance charges as compared with Creditor B. Other terms — such as the s z of the down payment — w l also make a d f ie il i ference. Be sure to look a althe terms before you make your choice. t l C ost o f O pen-end C redit 8 Open-end c e i includes c e i cards, department store “charge plates,” and rdt rdt check-overdraft accounts that allow you to write checks f more than your actual or balance with the bank. Open-end c e i can be used again and again, generally u t l rdt ni you reach a certain pre-arranged borrowing l m t Truth i Lending requires that ( ii. n open-end creditors l tyou know these two terms that w l a f c your c s s e il f e t ot: F r t creditors must tell you the method of calculating the is, finance charge. Creditors use a number of d fferent systems to calculate the i balance on which they assess finance charges. Some creditors add finance charges a t r subtracting payments made during the b l i g period. This i called the a d fe iln s ju sted b alan ce m ethod. Other creditors give you no c e i for payments made rdt during the b l i g period. This i called the previous b alan ce m ethod. Under a iln s third method — the a v erage daily balan ce m ethod — creditors add ypur balances for each day i the b l i g period and then divide by the number of days n iln i the b l i g period. n iln Here’ a sample of three b l i g systems: s iln ADJUSTED BALANCE Monthly I nterest Rate Previous Balance Payments It n erest Charge P R E V IO U S BALANCE A V E R A G E D A IL Y BALANCE 1V2% $400 $300 1V2% V/2% $400 $300 $400 $300 (payment on 15th day) 1.50 $ 6.00 $ ($100 x 1.5%) ($400 x 1.5%) $ 3.75 (average balance of $250 x 1.5%) As the example shows, the finance charge varies considerably f the same or pattern of purchases and payments. Second, creditors must tell you w hen finance charges begin on your cr d t account, so you know how much time you have to pay your b l s before a ei il finance charge i added. Some c e i o s f example, give you a 30 day “free ride” s r d t r , or to pay your balance i f l before imposing a finance charge. n ul Truth i Lending does not s t the rates or tl the creditor how to make i t r s n e el neet calculations — i only requires that the creditor tl you the method that w l be used. t el il You have the r g t to ask f r an explanation of any terms you don’ understand. ih o t L easin g C osts and Term s 10 Leasing gives you temporary use of property i return f r periodic payments. I n o t has become a popular alternative to buying — under certain circumstances. For in stance, you might consider leasing furniture for an apartment you’luse only for a l year. The Truth i Leasing law requires leasing companies to give you the f c s n at about the costs and terms of t e r contracts, to help you decide whether leasing i a hi s good idea. The law applies to p erson al property leased to you f more than four or months f r personal, family, or household use. I covers, f r example, long o t o term rentals of c r , f r i u e and appliances, but not daily car rentals or leases for as untr, apartments. Before you agree to a l a e the leasing company must give you a written es, statement of costs, including the amount of any security deposit, the amount of your monthly payments, and the amount you must pay f r l c n e r g s r t o , o ies, eitain taxes, and maintenance. The company must also give you a written statement about term s, including any insurance you need, any guarantees, information about who i responsible fqr s servicing the property, standards for iswear and t a , and whether or not you have t er an option to buy the property. Your costs w l depend on whether you choose an “open end” lease or a il “closed end” lease. Open end leases usually offer lower monthly payments than closed end leases, but you may owe a large extra payment — called a “balloon payment” — based on the value of the property when you return i. t Suppose you lease a car under a 3-year open end l a e The leasing es. company estimates the car w l be worth $2,000 a t r 3 years of normal il fe use. I you bring back the car i a condition that makes i worth only f n t $1500, you may owe a balloon payment of $500. The leasing company must tl you whether you may owe a balloon payment el and how i w l be calculated. You should also know t a : t il ht — you have the r g t to an independent appraisal of the property’ worth ih s a the end of the le s . Y o u must pay the appraiser’ f e however. t ae s e, — the law usually l m t a balloon payment to no m ore than three iis tim es the average m onthly paym ent. I your monthly payment f i $100, your balloon payment can’ be more than $300 — unless, f r s t o example, the property has received more than average wear and tear ( o instance, i you drove a car more than average mileage). fr f O p en -en d L e a se s and B allo o n Paym ents Closed end leases usually have a higher monthly payment than open end leases, but there i no balloon payment a the end of the l a e s t es. A dvertising Both Truth i Lending and Truth i Leasing require accurate advertising of n n terms. These laws say that i a business mentions one important feature of a c e i f rdt sale or lease — such as the downpayment — i must also s a e the APR and other t tt important terms — such as the number, amount, and schedule of repayments. An ad reading “Only $2 down,” for example, must also s a e that you w l have to pay tt il $10 a week for the next two years. An ad must also specify i a leasing arrangement f i involved. s C osts o f Settlem ent on a H o u se A house i probably the single lar e t c e i purchase f r most consumers — s gs rdt o and one of the most complicated. The Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act, l k ie Truth i Lending, i a disclosure law. The Act, administered by the Department of n s Housing and Urban Development, requires the lender to give you, i advance, n certain information about the costs you w l pay when you actually get the deed to il the property. This event i called settlement, and the law helps you shop f r lower s o settlement c s s To find out more about i,you may write t : Assistant Secretary f ot. t o or Consumer A fai s and Regulatory Functions, Attention: RESPA O f c , US/HUD, f r fie 451-7th S r t eet, S.W„ Room 4100, Washington, D.C. 20410. . APPLYING FOR CREDIT Here’ the old s o y Mary and John Jones, whose j i t income i more than s tr: on s i enough to make payments on t e r dream house, are turned down for a mortgage hi I loan. The lender says Mary might become pregnant and leave her j b o. That’ i l g l now. I’ i l g l even to discourage the Joneses from applying f r s lea ts l e a o a loan j s because Mary i of child-bearing age. And Mary’ income must be ut s s counted f l y by a lender. ul When you’ ready to apply for c e i , you should know what creditors think i re rdt s important i deciding whether you’ creditworthy. You should also know what n re they cannot l g l y consider i t e r decisions. eal n hi The law makes sure the creditor w l be fi: il ar . THE E Q U A L CREDIT OPPORTUNITY A C T s a t a l c t r s l redit applicants o f on the same footing. I says that race, color, age, sex, marital status — f t and certain other factors — may not be used to discriminate against you i any part of a credit dealing. n The O ld Story of Discrim ination W h at Law Applies? 13 W h a t C red itors Look For The Three C ’s. Creditors look for an a i i y to repay debt and a willingness blt to do so — and sometimes for a ltl extra security to protect t e r loans. They ite hi speak of the three C ’ of c e i — capacity, character, and c l a e a . s rdt oltrl Capacity Character W l you repay the debt? Creditors w l look a your il il t c redit history ( e chapter on Credit Histories and se Records): how much you owe, how often you bor row, whether you pay b l s on time, and whether you il l v within your means. They also look f r signs of ie o s a i i y how long you’ liv d a your present ad tblt: ve e t dress, whether you own or r n , and whether you are et insured. Collateral 14 Can you repay the debt? Creditors ask f r employ o ment information: your occupation, how long you’ ve worked, how much you earn. They also want t o know your expenses: how many dependents you have, or whether you pay alimony or child support. I the creditor f l y protected i you fi to repay? s ul f al Creditors want to know what you may have that could be used to secure your loan, and what sources you have f r repaying debt other than income, such o as savings, investments, or property. Creditors use different combinations of these fac s i reaching t e r decisions. t n hi Some s t unusually high standards and others simply do not make certain kinds of e loans. Creditors also use different kinds of rating systems. Some r l s r c l on t e r e y tity hi own i s i c and experience. Others use a “credit scoring” or s a i t c l system to ntnt ttsia predict whether you’ a good cr d t r s . They assign a certain number of points to re e i ik each of various characteristics that have proved to be r l a l signs that a borrower eibe w l repay. Then, they rate you on t i s a e il hs cl. And s , different creditors may reach different conclusions based on the same o s t of f c s One may find you an acceptable r s , while another may deny you a e at. ik loan. The Equal Credit Opportunity Act does not guarantee that you w l get c e i . il rdt You must sil pass the creditor’ t s s of creditworthiness. But the creditor must tl s et apply these t s s f i l , impartially, and without discrimination against you on any of e t ary the following grounds: age, sex, marital s a u , race, c l r r l g o , national o i i , tts oo, eiin rgn because you are on welfare or Social Security, or because you exercise your r g t ihs under Federal credit laws. This means that a creditor may not use any of those grounds as an excuse t : o Information the Creditor Can’t Use 15 — discourage you from applying f a loan; or — refuse you a loan i you q a i y f ulf; — lend you money on terms d fferent from those granted another person i with sim l r income, expenses, c e i h s o y and c l a e a . ia rdt itr, oltrl Special R ules A g e . Many older persons have complained about being denied c e i j s r d t ut because they were over a certain age. Or when they r t r d they may have found eie, that t e r credit was suddenly cut o f or reduced. So the law i very s e i i about hi f s pcfc how a person’ age may be used i c e i decisions. s n rdt A creditor may ask your age, but i you’e old enough to sign a binding contract f r (usually 18 or 21 years old depending on State law), a creditor m ay not: — turn you down or decrease your c e i j s because of your age; rdt ut — ignore your retirement income i rating your application; n — close your c e i account or require you to reapply for i j s because rdt t ut you reach a certain age or r t r ; eie — deny you c e i or close your account because c e i lf insurance or rdt r d t ie other credit-related insurance i not available to persons your age. s 16 Creditors may “score” your age i a credit-scoring system, but: n — i you are 62 or older you must be given a l a t as many points f age f t es or as any person under 62. Because age does have economic consequences, the law permits a creditor t o consider certain information related to age — such as how long u t l you r t r or ni eie how long your income w l continue. An older applicant might not qualify for a large il loan with a 5 per cent down payment on a risky venture, but might qualify f r a o smaller loan — with a bigger down payment — secured by good c l a e a . Re oltrl member that while a declining income may be a handicap i you are older, you can f usually o f r a s lid credit history to your advantage. The creditor has to look a al fe o t l the f c s and apply the usual standards of creditworthiness to your particular at stain iuto. P u blic A ssistan ce. You may not be denied c e i j s because you receive r d t ut Social Security or public assistance (such as Aid to Families with Dependent Children). But — as i the case with age — certain information related to t i source s hs of income could have a clear bearing on creditworthiness. So, a creditor may con sider such things a : s — how old your dependents are (because you may lose benefits when they reach a certain age); — whether you w l continue to meet the residency requirements f re il or ceiving ben f t . eis These factors help the creditor determine the likelihood that your public assistance income w l continue. il H ousin g Loans. The Equal Credit Opportunity Act covers your application for a mortgage or home improvement loan. I bans discrimination because of such t characteristics as your race, c l r sex, or because of the race or national o oo, rigin of the people i the neighborhood where you l v or want to buy your home. Nor may n ie creditors use any appraisal of the value of your property that considers the race of the people i your neighborhood. n Another Federal law, the H om e M ortgage D isclosure A ct, requires that most lending i s i u i n i metropolitan areas tl the public annually where they ntttos n el have made t e r mortgage and home improvement loans. This information does hi not tl you where loans were denied or why — i can’ be used to prove discrimi el t t nation — but i can help customers, community groups, and l c l o f c a s working t o a fiil with lenders to meet neighborhood needs f housing c e i . You can ask to see the or rdt information a any time a your bank, savings and loan, or c e i union. Those in t t rdt terested i l c l cooperative e f r s to increase mortgage lending and improve n oa fot housing i urban areas, may write to the Urban Reinvestment Task Force, 1120 n 19th S reet, N.W., Washington, D.C. 20036. t . Both men and women are protected from discrimination based on sex or marital s a u . But many of the law’ provisions were designed to stop particular tts s abuses that generally made i d f i u t for women to get c e i . For example, the t ifcl rdt notion that single women ignore t e r debts when they marry, or that a woman’ hi s income “doesn’ count” because she’lleave work to have children, now i unlawful t l s i c e i transactions. n rdt The general rule i that you m ay not be denied credit just becau se s you are a w o m an , or just beca u se you are m arried, single, w id o w ed , divorced, or sep arated . Here are some important protections: Sex and Generally, creditors may not ask your sex on an Marital Status application form (one exception i on a loan to buy s or build a home). You do not have to use Miss, Mrs , or Ms. with your . name on a c e i application. But, i some cases, a rdt n creditor may ask whether you are married, unmar r e , or separated (unmarried includes s n l , di id ige vorced, and widowed). Discrim ination A gain st W om en Child-bearing Creditors may not ask about your b r h control it Plans practices or whether you plan to have children, and they may not assume anything about those plans. Income and The creditor must count al of your income, even l Alimony income from part-time employment. Child support and alimony payments are a primary source of income f r many women. You don’ have o t to disclose these kinds of income, but i you do f creditors must count them. Telephones Creditors may not consider whether you have a telephone l s i g i your name because t i would itn n hs discriminate against most married women. (You may be asked i there’ a telephone i your home.) f s n A creditor may consider whether income i steady and r l a l , so be pre s eibe pared to show that you can count on uninterrupted alimony payments or part-time wages. I you’ pregnant when you apply for a loan, bring some proof that you’lbe f re l paid during maternity leave or that your job w l be open for you when you return. il (Before you go to apply, ask the creditor what proof i acceptable.) s Y o u r ow n accounts. Many married women used to be turned down when they asked for credit i t e r own name. Or, a husband had to co-sign an account — n hi agree to pay i the wife didn’ — even when a woman’ own income could e s l f t s aiy repay the loan. Single women were refused loans because they were judged some how l s “reliable” than other applicants. You now have a r g t to your own c e i , es ih rdt based on your own credit records and earnings. Your own c redit means a separate account or loan i your own name — not a j i t account with your husband or a n on duplicate card on h s account. Here are the r l s i ue: — Creditors may not refuse to open an account j s because of your sex ut or marital s a u . tts — You can choose to use your frt name and maiden name (Mary is Smith); your frt name and husband’ l s name (Mary Jones); or a is s at combined l s name (Mary Smith-Jones). at — I you’ creditworthy, a creditor may not require your husband to co f re sign your account, with exceptions i “community property States,” n where husbands and wives are equally responsible for each other’ s debts. — Creditors may not ask for information about your husband or ex husband when you apply f r your own c o redit based on your own income — unless that income i alimony, child support, or separate s maintenance payments from your spouse. This l s r l , or course, does not apply i your husband i going to use your account at u e f s or i responsible f paying your debts, or you l v i a community property S a e s or ie n tt. (Community property States a e Arizona, California, Idaho, Louisiana, Nevada, r: New Mexico, Texas, and Washington.) C h an ge in M arital Status. Married women have sometimes faced severe hardships when cut o f from c e i a t r t e r husbands died. Single women have f rdt fe hi had accounts closed when they married, and married women have had accounts closed a t r a divorce. The law says that creditors may not require you to reapply fe for credit j s because you marry or become widowed or divorced. Nor may they ut close your account or change the terms of your account on these grounds. There must be some sign that your creditworthiness has changed. For example, creditors m ay ask you to reapply i you r f elied on your ex-husband’ income to get c e i i s rdt n the frtplace. is Setting up your own account protects you by giving you your own history of debt management to r l on i circumstances do change because of widowhood or ey f divorce. I you’ getting married and plan to take your husband’ surname, write to f re s your creditors and tl them i you want to keep a separate account. el f Remember, your sex or race may not be used to discourage you from applying f a loan. And creditors may not delay your application on those grounds. Under or the Equal Credit Opportunity Act, you must be notified within 30 days a t r your fe application has been completed whether your loan has been approved or not. I f c e i i denied, t i notice must be i writing and i must explain the s e i i rdt s hs n t pcfc reasons for denying credit or tl you of your r ght to request an explanation. You el i have the same r g t i an account you have had i closed. ihs f s If Y o u ’re T urned D ow n I you are denied c e i , be sure to find out why. Remember, you may have to f rdt ask the creditor for t i explanation. I may be that the creditor thinks you have re hs t quested more money than you can repay on your income. I may be that you have t not been employed or lived i the community long enough. You can discuss terms n with the creditor and ways to improve your creditworthiness. The next chapter ex plains how to improve your a i i yto get c e i . blt rdt I you think you have been discriminated against, c t the law to the lender. I f ie f the lender sil says no without a satisfactory explanation, you may contact a tl Federal enforcement agency fo assistance or bring leg l action as described i the r a n l s chapter of t i handbook. at hs 23 CREDIT HISTORIES AND RECORDS Building Up a Good Record On your frtattempt to get c e i , you may face a common f u t a i n some is rdt rsrto: times i seems you have to have c edit to get c e i . Some creditors w l rely e t r l t r rdt il niey on your salary and job and the other f nancial information you supply on your ap i p i a i n But most also want to know about your experience i handling c e i — lcto. n rdt how r l a l you’ repaid past debts. They turn to the records kept by c e i eiby ve rdt bureaus or credit reporting agencies whose business i to c l e t and store informa s olc tion about borrowers that i routinely supplied by many lenders. These records in s clude the amount of c e i you have received and how f i h u l you’ paid i rdt atfly ve t back. Here are several ways you can begin to build up a good c edit h s o y r itr: — Open a checking account or a savings account, or both. These do not begin your c redit fl, but may be checked as evidence that you have ie money and know how to manage i.Cancelled checks can be used to t show you pay u i i i sor rent b l sregularly, a sign of r l a i i y tlte il eiblt. — Apply for a department store c edit card. Repaying c e i card b l son r rdt il time i a plus i c e i h s o i s s n r d t itre. — I you’ new i town, write for a summary of any c f re n redit record kept by a credit bureau i your former town. (Ask the bank or department n store i your old home town for the name of the agency i reports t . n t o) — Ask a friend or rela i e with a good credit standing to co-sign an appli tv cation with you for your frtaccount. is — I you’ turned down, find out why and t y to clear up any misunder f re r standings. The following laws can help you s a t your credi history and keep your record tr t accurate: W hat Laws Apply? - THE E Q U A L CREDIT OPPORTUNITY A C T gives women a way to establish t e r own credit history and i e t t . hi dniy — THE FAIR CREDIT REPORTING A C T set up a procedure for cor s recting mistakes on your cr d t record. ei 25 C redit H istories fo r W om en Women who are divorced or widowed might not have separate c e i h s o i s rdt itre because al past c l redit accounts were l s e i t e r husbands’names. But they can itd n h i benefit from t i record. Under the Equal Credit Opportunity Act, creditors must hs consider the cre i history of any account women have held j i t y with t e r hus dt onl hi bands. Creditors must also look a the record of any account held only i the t n husband’ name i a woman can show i also r f e t her own creditworthiness. I s f t elcs f the record i unfavorable — i an ex-husband was a bad c s f redit r s — she can t y t ik r o show that the record does not r f e t her own reputation. elc Here’ an example: s Mary Jones, when married to John Jones, always paid t e r credit-card hi b l son time and from her own checking account. But the card was issued il i John’ name, and the c e i bureau kept al records i John’ name. n s rdt l n s Now Mary i a widow and wants to take out a new card, but she’ told s s she has no c e i h s o y To benefit from the good c e i record already rdt itr. rdt on the books i John’ name, Mary should point out that she handled al n s l accounts properly when she was married and that b l s were paid by il checks from her own account. 26 Married women probably won’ have Mary’ problem i the futu e Under the t s n r. Equal Credit Opportunity Act, reports to c e i bureaus must now be made i the rdt n names of both husband and wife i both use an account or are responsible for re f paying the debt. Remember that a wife may also open her own account to be sure of s a t n her own credit h s o y trig itr. Mistakes on your credit record — sometimes mistaken i e t t e — can cloud dniis your c e it future. Your credit rating i important, so be sure c rd s redit bureau records are complete and accurate. The Fair Credit Reporting Act says that you may examine information i your n c e i fl and have any errors corrected. r d t ie N egative Inform ation. I a lender refuses you c e i because of unfavor f rdt able information i your credit report, ask for the name and address of the agency n that keeps your report. Then, you may either request information from the c e i rdt bureau by mail or i person. You w l not get an exact copy of the fl,but you w l a n il ie il t l a t get a summary of i.The law also says that the c e i bureau must help you es t rdt interpret the data — because i’ raw data that takes experience to analyze. I you’ ts f re challenging a cr d t refusal made within the past 30 days, the bureau may not ei charge a fee for giving you information. Any error of importance that you find must be investigated by the c e i rdt bureau with the creditor who supplied the data. The bureau w l remove from your il c e i fl any errors the creditor admits are there. I you disagree with the f ndings, r d t ie f i you can fl a short statement i your record giving your side of the s o y Future re ie n tr. ports to creditors must include t i statement or a summary of i. hs t O ld Inform ation. Sometimes c e i information i too old to give a good rdt s picture of your f nancial reputation. There i now a l m t on how long certain kinds i s ii of information may be kept i your fl: n ie — Bankruptcies must usually be removed from your c edit history a t r r fe 14 years. — Suits and judgments, tax l e s a r s records, and most other kinds of in, r e t unfavorable information must usually be removed a t r 7 years. fe Another important provision of the law i that you may withhold your c e i s rdt record from anyone who does not have a legitimate business need for i.Stores to t which you are applying f c e i or prospective employers may examine your or r d t record; curious neighbors may n t o. B illing M istakes. I the next chapter, you w l find the steps to take i there’ n il f s an error on your bl.By following these s il teps, you can protect your c e i r t n . rdt aig CORRECTING CREDIT MISTAKES The best way to keep up your credit standing i to repay al debts on time. But s l there may be complications. To protect your cred t — to save your time, your i money, and your future credit rating — you should learn how to correct the mis takes and misunderstandings that can tangle up your c e i accounts. rdt When there’ a snag, f rt t y to deal d r ctly with the c e i o . The c s is r ie rdtr redit laws can help you s t l your complaints without a hassle. ete — THE FAIR CREDIT BILLING A C T s t up a procedure for promptly es correcting b l i g mistakes; for refusing to make c edit card payments iln r on defective goods; and for promptly crediting your payments. — TRUTH IN LENDING gives you 3 days to change your mind about a second mortgage contract; i also l m t your r s on l s or stolen c e i t iis ik ot rdt cards. Month a t r month John Jones was b l e for a lawn mower he never ordered fe ild and never got. F n l y he tore up h s bl and mailed back the pieces — j s to t y t ial, i il ut r o explain things to a person instead of a computer. . There’ a more e f c i e easier way to straighten out these e r r . The Fair s fetv, ros W hat Laws Apply? B illing E rrors Credit B l i g Act requires creditors to correct errors promptly and without damage iln to your credit r t n . aig A Case of Error? The law defines a b l i g error as any charge: iln — for something you didn’ buy or f a purchase made by someone not t or authorized to use your account; — that i not properly i e t s d n ified on your bl or i for an amount d f e e t il s ifrn from the actual purchase price or was entered on a date d fferent from i the purchase date; — for something that you did not accept on delivery or that was not de livered according to agreement. B l i g errors also include: iln — errors i arithmetic; n — f i u e to r f e t a payment or other c e i to your account; alr elc rdt — f i u e to mail the statement to your current address, provided you alr notified the creditor of an address change a l a t 10 days before the t es end of the b l i gperiod; iln — a questionable item, or an item for which you need additional infor mation. In C a s e o f E rror. I you think your bl i wrong, or want more information f il s about i,follow these s e s t tp: 1 Notify the creditor in writing within 60 days a t r the bl was mailed. Be . fe il sure to write to the address the creditor lss for b l i g inquiries and to tl the it iln el ceio: rdtr — your name and account number; — that you believe the bl contains an error and w hy you believe i i il ts wrong; — the suspected amount of the error or the item you want explained. 2 Pay al parts of the bl that are not i dispute. But, while waiting f r an . l il n o answer, you do not have to pay the amount i question ( h “disputed amount”)or n te any minimum payments or finance charges that apply to i. t The creditor must acknowledge your l t e within 30 days, unless your bl can etr il be corrected sooner. Within two b l i g periods — but i no case longer than 90 iln n days — either your account must be corrected or you must be told why the creditor believes the bl i correct. il s I the creditor made a mistake, you do not pay any finance charges on the dis f puted amount. Your account must be corrected, and you must be sent an explana tion of any amount you sil owe. You then have the time usually given on your tl type of account to pay any balance. I no error i found, the creditor must promptly send you a statement of what f s you owe, and may include any finance charges that have accumulated and any minimum payments you missed while you were questioning the bl. il 3 . I you sil are not s t s i d you should n f tl aife, otify the creditor within the time allowed to pay your bl. il M aintaining Y o u r C redit Rating. A creditor may not threaten your c e i rdt rating while you’e resolving a b l i g dispute. r iln Once you have written about a possible e r r a creditor i prohibited from ro, s giving out information to other creditors or c e i bureaus that would damage your rdt credit reputation. And, u t l your complaint i answered, the creditor also may not ni s take any action to c l e t the disputed amount. olc After the creditor has explained the bl,you may be reported as delinquent on il the amount i dispute, and the creditor may take action to c l e t i you do not pay n olc f i the time allowed. Even s , you can sildisagree i w i i g Then the creditor must n o tl n rtn. report that you have challenged your bl and give you the name and address of il each person who has received information about your account. When the matter i s s t l d the creditor must report the outcome to each person who has received in ete, formation. Remember that you may also place your own side of the story i your n c e i record. rdt Your new sofa arrives with only three l g . You t y to return i;no l c . You es r t uk ask the merchant to repair or replace i;silno luc . The Fair Credit B l i g Act pro t tl k iln vides that you may withhold payment on any damaged or shoddy goods or poor quality services purchased with a credit card, as long as you have made a r a at el tempt to solve the problem with the merchant. This r g t i limited i the card was a bank or travel and entertainment card or ih s f any card not issued by the store where you made your purchase. I such cases, the n sl: ae D efective G o o d s or Services — must have been fo more than $50; and r — must have taken place i your home State or within 100 miles of your n home address. I you can avoid finance charges on your account by paying within a certain f amount of time, i i obviously important that you get your bls and get c ts il, redit f r o paying them, promptly. Check your statements to make sure your creditor follows these r l s ue: Prom pt C redit for Paym ents and R efunds for O verpaym ents Prom pt Billing. Look a the date on the postmark. I your account i t f s one on which no finance charge i added before a certain due date, s 33 then creditors must mail t e r statements a l a t 14 days before pay hi t es ment i due. s P ro m p t Crediting. Look a the payment date entered on the state t ment. Creditors must c edit payments on the day they a r v . r rie Stores often give you a c e i on your bl instead of cash when you return a rdt il purchase. I t i r s l s i an overpayment on your account, a store must make a f hs e u t n refund i cash, a your request. n t C an cellin g a S econd M ortgage 34 Truth i Lending gives you a chance to change your mind on one important n kind of transaction — when you use your home as security f a c or redit transaction. For example, when you are financing a major repair or remodeling, you have three business days to think about the transaction and to cancel i i you wish. The t f creditor must give you written notice of your r g t to cancel, and, i you decide to ih f cancel, you must notify the creditor i writing within the 30 day period. No con n tractor may s a t work on your home, and no lender may pay you or the contractor tr u t l the three days are up. I you want work started immediately f health or ni f or safety reasons, you may give up your r g t to cancel by providing a written explana ih tion of the circumstances. This r g t to cancel ( r r g t of “rescission”) was provided to protect you ih o ih against hasty decisions — or decisions made under pressure — that might endanger your continued homeownership. The law does not apply to a frt mortgage to is finance the purchase of your home; fo t a , you commit yourself as soon as you r ht sign the mortgage contract. “Who st a s my purse. . j s might be a t r the c e i card i i. But, your el ut fe rdt n t greatest cost may be inconvenience, because your l a i i y on l s or stolen c iblt ot redit cards i limited under Truth i Lending. s n You do not have to pay for any unauthorized charges made after you n otify the card company of loss or t e t of your card. So keep a ls of your c hf it redit card numbers and notify card issuers immediately i your card i l s of s o e . The most f s ot tln you w l have to pay for unauthorized charges i $50 on each card — even i some il s f one runs up several hundred dollars worth of charges before you report a card missing. To protect you f r her, card companies may not c l e t from you for any l s ut olc os unless they can prove four things: 1 that they issued you the card at your request or that you used i a l a t . t t es once before i was l s or s olen; t ot t 2 that they provided some means, such as a l n for your signature or a . ie photo, for stores that accept the card to i e d ntify you as the person authorized to use i; t 3 that they notified you of your potential $50 l a i i y . iblt; 4 that they provided you with a self-addressed stamped form to n . otify them of loss or t e t hf. Lost or Stolen C redit C ard s 35 U nsolicited C ard s I i i l g lfor card issuers to send you a c e i card unless you request i.H o w t s lea rdt t ever, a card issuer may send you, without your request, a new card to replace an expired one. Discounts for Cash Payments I i i l g l for credit-card companies to prohibit stores from offering discounts t s lea to people who pay by cash or check. Stores that do o fer cash discounts must make f t i f c clear to al buyers. They may not add an extra charge (above the regular hs at l pr c ) f r those customers choosing t use c e i cards. ie o o rdt For example, suppose you want to buy an item regularly priced a $50. The t store offers a cash discount of 5 per cent. I you pay i cash, your price should be: f n $50.00 -2.50 (5% of $50) $47.50 36 I you use a cred t card, the price i $50. f i s COMPLAINING ABOUT CREDIT COMPLAINT DESK J* Always t y to solve your problem d r c l with a c e i o . Only then should you r iety rdtr bring more formal complaint procedures. Here’ the way to fl a complaint with the s ie Federal agencies responsible for administering consumer c e i protection laws. rdt C om plaints about B anks. I you have a complaint about a bank i con f n nection with any of the Federal credit laws — or i you think any part of your busi f ness with a bank has been handled i an unfair or deceptive way — you may get n advice and help from the Federal Reserve. You should submit your complaint — i writing whenever possible — to the n Director of the Division of Consumer A f i s Board of Governors of the Federal far, Reserve System, Washington, D.C. 20551, or to the Reserve Bank for your d s r c , itit as l s e on page 45 of t i handbook. Be sure to describe the bank practice to itd hs which you object and give the name and address of the bank involved. The Federal Reserve w l acknowledge your l t e and t y to respond i f l il etr r n ul within 15 days. I that i not possible, our reply w l s t a reasonable date for furnish f s il e ing you with complete information. The Board has supervisory responsibility only f r State-chartered banks that o are members of the Federal Reserve System. I w l refer complaints about other t il C om plaining to F ed eral Enforcem ent A gen cies i s i u i n to the appropriate Federal bank regulatory agency and l t you know to ntttos e whom your complaint has been referred. Or you may use the l s i g on page 44 of itn t i booklet to write d r c l to the appropriate agency. hs iety The practice you wish to complain about does not have to be subject to Federal regulation. Furthermore, you don’ have to be a customer of the bank to fl t ie a complaint. Complaints about Other Businesses. On page 44 of t i booklet, you hs w l also find the names of the regulatory agencies for businesses other than banks. il Many of these agencies do not handle individual complaints; however, they w l use il information about your c redit experiences to help enforce the c e i laws. rdt Pen alties U n d er the L aw s You may also take l gal action against a c e i o . I you decide to bring a law e rdtr f s i ,here are the penalties a creditor must pay i you win. ut f 38 Truth in Lending and C on sum er L easin g A ct. I any creditor f i s to f al disclose information required under Truth i Lending or Truth i Leasing, or gives n n inaccurate information, or does not comply with the rules about c e i cards or the rdt r g t to cancel, you as an individual may sue for actual damages — any money l s ih os you s f e . I addition, you can sue for twice the finance charge i the case of a ufr n n c redit transaction, o , i a lease i concerned, 25 per cent of t t l monthly payments. r f s oa I either case, the l a t the court may award you i $100, and the most i $1,000. I n es s s n any successful la suit, you are e t t e to court costs and attorney’ f e . w nild s es Class action s i s are also permitted. A c ass action s i i one f l d on behalf of ut l ut s ie a group of people with similar claims. Equal Credit Opportunity Act. I you think you can prove that a creditor f f a discriminated against you for any reason prohibited by the Act, you as an in is dividual may sue for actual damages plus punitive damages — that i,damages for s the f c that the law has been violated — of up to $10,000 i the violation i proved at f s to have been intentional. I a successful lawsuit, the court w l award you court costs n il and a reasonable amount for attorney’ f e . Class action s i s are also permitted. s es ut Fair C redit Billing. A creditor who f i s to comply with rules applying to al the correction of b l i g errors automatically f r e t the amount owed on the item i iln ofis n question and any finance charges on i,up to a combined t t l of $50 — even i the t oa f bl was c il orrect. You as an individual may also sue for actual damages plus twice the amount of any finance charges, but i any case not l s than $100 nor more than n es $1,000. You are also ehtitled to court costs and attorney’ fees i a successful law s n s i . Class action s i s are also permitted. ut ut Fair C redit R eporting. You may sue any c e i reporting agency or rdt creditor fo violating the rules about who may have access to your c r redit records and correcting errors i your fl. Again, you are e t t e to actual damages, plus n ie nild punitive damages as the court may allow i the violation i proved to have been in f s te t onal. I any successful lawsuit, you w l also be awarded court costs and at ni n il torney’ f e . An unauthorized person who secures a c e i report — or any e m s es rdt ployee of a credit reporting agency who supplies a c e i report to unauthorized rdt persons — may be fined up to $5,000 or imprisoned for one year, or both. GLOSSARY* Annual Percentage Rate Appraisal Fee Asset Balloon Payment B l i g Error iln Collateral Co-signer Credit Credit Bureau Credit Card 40 Credit History The cost of a loan over a f l year expressed as a per ul centage. _ The charge for estimating the value of property offered as s c r t . euiy , Property that can be used to repay debt, such as stocks and bonds or a c r a. A large extra payment that may be charged a the end of t a loan or l a e es. Any mistake i your monthly statement as defined by the n Fai Credit B l i g Act. r iln Property offered to support a loan and subject to seizure i you d f u t f eal. Another person who signs your loan and assumes equal l a i i yf r i. iblt o t The promise to pay i the future i order to buy or bor n n row i the present; a sum of money due a person or a n business. An agency that keeps your credit record. Any card, p a e or coupon book used from time to time lt, or over and over again up to a certain l m t to borrow ii money or buy services on c e i . rdt The record of how you’ borrowed and repaid debts. . ve Creditor A person or business from whom you borrow or to whom you owe money. Credit-related Insurance Health, lf, or accident insurance designed to pay the ie outstanding balance of debt. Credit Scoring System A s a i t c l system used to rate c e i applicants ac ttsia rdt cording to various characteristics relevant to credit worthiness. Creditworthiness Past and future a i i yto repay debts. blt Default Failure to meet the terms of your c e i agreement. rdt Disclosure Information that must be given to consumers before they sign a credit contract. Elderly Applicant As defined i the Equal Credit Opportunity Act, a person n 62 or older. Finance Charge The t t l dollar amount paid to get a loan. oa Joint Account A cre i account signed by two or more people so that al dt l can use the account and alassume l a i i yto repay. l iblt Judgmental System A nonstatistical system for evaluating creditworthiness. Late Payment A payment made l t r than agreed upon i a c e i con ae n rdt t a t and on which additional i t r s may be charged. rc neet Lessee A person who signs a lease to get temporary use of property. Lessor A company that provides temporary use of property usually i return for periodic payment. n Liability on an Account Legal responsibility to repay debt. Open End Credit A l n of c e i that may be used over and over again tp ie rdt to a certain borrowing l m t also called a charge account ii, or revolving c e i . rdt Open End Lease A lease which may involve a balloon payment based on the value of the property when i i returned. ts Overdraft Checking Account A l n of c e i that allows you to write checks f more ie rdt or than your actual balance, with an i t r s charge on the neet overdraft. Points Some extra per cent of the amount borrowed, included as part of your loan f e Finance charges paid a the be e. t ginning of a frtmortgage i addition to monthly i t r s ; is n neet each point equals one per cent of the amount financed. Punitive Damages Damages awarded by a court above actual damages as punishment f r a violation of law. o Rescission The cancellation of a contract. Security Property pledged to the creditor i case of a default on a n loan; see c l a e a . oltrl Security I t r s neet The creditor’ r g t to take property or a portion of prop s ih erty offered as s c r t . euiy Service Charge A component of some finance charges, such as the fee f triggering an overdraft checking account i t use. or no ‘The regulations contain l g l definitions of many of these terms. ea Subject Index P a ge A dvertising .................................................................... . . . . 12 A g e ......................................................... ____ 16 A P R ....................................................... . . . . 6 Balloon Paym ent.................................... . . . . 11 Billing Errors ................................................................. . . . . 33 Cancellation (Rescission).................................... ______ 34 Cash Discounts...................................... . . . . 36 Com plaints............................................ . . . . 37 Credit A pplications................................ . . . . 13 Credit B u reau s...................................... . . 24, 27 Credit C a rd s .......................................... . . . . 35 Crediting of Paym ents .......................................... . . . . 33 Credit Laws Consumer Leasing ............................................. ........ 5 Equal Credit Opportunity................... ........ 13 Fair Credit Billing................................ . . . . 29 Fair Credit Reporting......................... ........ 25 Home Mortgage Disclosure....................... 18 12 Real Estate Settlement Procedures . . . . . Truth in L e n d in g ............................... . . . . 5 Credit Records Confidentiality.................................. ............. 28 CorrectingErrors.......................................... 27 Time Limits on Inform ation....................... 28 W o m e n ....................................................... 26 Credit Scoring...................................... ........ 15 Creditworthiness.................................. ........ 14 Defective Merchandise.......................... ........ 33 Denials of C re d it .................................................... ........ 23 Discrimination ...................................................... . . . 13,19 Division of Consumer A ffairs............... ........ 37 Enforcement Agencies......................... ........ 44 6 Finance C harge.................................... ........ Housing L o a n s .................................... ........ 18 Leasing................................................. ........ 10 Open End C redit.................................. ............. 8 Penalties............................................... ............. 38 Public Assistance .................................................... ............. 17 Reserve Banks.......................................................... ............. 45 Settlement C osts.................................. ........ 12 Women Alimony and Support Payments. . . . ........ 20 . . . . 22 Change in Marital S ta tu s ................ ........ 21 Credit Histories fo r ........................... . . . . 26 Information About Spouse............... . . . . 21 Separate Accounts ....................................... ........ 21 Federal Enforcement Agencies National Banks Comptroller of the Currency Consumer Affairs Division Washington, D.C. 20219 State M em ber Banks Federal Reserve Bank serving the district in which the State member bank is located. N onm em ber Insured Banks Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation Re gional Director for the region in which the nonmember insured bank is located. Savings Institutions Insured by the FSLIC and M em bers of the FH LB System (ex cept for Savings Banks insured by F D IC ) The Federal Home Loan Bank Board Super visory Agent in the district in which the insti tution is located. Federal Credit U nions Regional Office of the National Credit Union Administration serving the area in which the Federal Credit Union is located. 44 Creditors Subject to Civil Aeronautics Board Director, Bureau of Enforcement Civil Aeronautics Board 1825 Connecticut Avenue, N.W. Washington, D.C. 20428 Creditors Subject to Interstate m erce C om m ission Office of Proceedings Interstate Commerce Commission Washington, D.C. 20523 Com • Creditors Subject to Pack ers and Stock yards Act Nearest Packers and Stockyards Administra tion area supervisor. Sm all Business Investment Com panies U.S. Small Business Administration 1441 L Street, N.W. Washington, D.C. 20416 Brokers and Dealers Securities and Exchange Commission Washington, D.C. 20549 Federal Land Banks, Federal Land Bank A s s o c ia t io n s , F e d e ra l In te rm e d ia te Credit Banks and Production Credit A ssociation Farm Credit Administration 490 L'Enfant Plaza, S.W. Washington, D.C. 20578 Mortgage Bankers, C onsum er Finance Com panies, and A ll Other Creditors FTC Regional Office for region in which the creditor operates or Federal Trade Commission Equal Credit Opportunity Washington, D.C. 20580 . Any complaints may be referred to the Civil Rights Division of the Department of Justice, Washington, D.C. 20530. Federal Reserve Banks BOARD OF G OVERNORS OF THE FEDERAL RESERVE SYSTEM 20th and Constitution Avenue, N.W. Washington, D.C. 20551 (202) 452-3000 D A LLAS, Texas 400 South Akard Street Station K ZIP 75222 (214) 651-6111 RICHMOND, Virginia 701 East Byrd Street P.O. Box 27622 ZIP 23261 (804) 643-1250 A T L A N T A , Georgia 104 Marietta Street, N.W. ZIP 30303 (404) 586-8500 K A N S A S CITY, Missouri 925 Grand Avenue Federal Reserve Station ZIP 64198 (816) 881-2000 SA N FRANCISCO, California 400 Sansome Street P.O. Box 7702 ZIP 94120 (415) 544-2000 M INNEAPOLIS, Minnesota 250 Marquette Avenue ZIP 55480 (612) 340-2345 ST. LOUIS, Missouri 411 Locust Street P.O. Box 442 ZIP 63166 (314) 444-8444 BOSTON, Massachusetts 600 Atlantic Avenue ZIP 02106 (617)973-3000 CH ICAG O , Illinois 230 South LaSalle Street P.O. Box 834 ZIP 60690 (312) 322 5322 NEW YORK, New York 33 Liberty Street Federal Reserve P.O. Station ZIP 10045 (212) 791-5000 CLEVELAND, Ohio 1455 East Sixth Street P.O. Box 6387 ZIP 44101 (2J 6) 241-2800 PH ILAD ELPH IA, Pennsylvania 100 North Sixth Street P.O. Box 66 ZIP 19105 (215) 574-6000 45 Other Consumer Pamphlets Available What Truth I Lending Means to You n I You Borrow To Buy Stock f How To F l a Consumer Credit Complaint ie The Equal Credit Opportunity Actand . . Age . The Equal Credit Opportunity Actand . . Women . The Equal Credit Opportunity Actand . .Doctors,Lawyers, Small Retailers . The Equal Credit Opportunity Actand . . Credit Rightsi . n Housing Fair Credit B l i g iln Truth i Leasing n A Guide to Federal Reserve Regulations Annual Percentage Rate Tables Government i the Sunshine/A Guide to Meetings of the Board of Governors of n the Federal Reserve System I You Use a Credit Card f 46 Copies of t i handbook and other consumer pamphlets are available upon request hs from Publications Services, Division of Administrative Services, Board of Gover nors of the Federal Reserve System, Washington, D.C. 20551. .