More credit card issuers are considering softening the terms of credit card loans for certain customers in extreme hardship during the economic crisis, credit-counseling experts say. The nonprofit Washington, D.C.-based National Foundation for Credit Counseling, which provides services to approximately 2.5 million consumers annually through 900 offices nationwide, is urging card issuers to waive late and over-credit-limit penalties for consumers receiving its credit counseling and agree to set troubled borrowers' monthly payments at 2% of their existing balances (or 1.75% in cases of extreme hardship). The foundation spearheaded an effort last September to get the nation's largest issuers to comply with its recommendations (CardLine, 11/17/08). That effort is getting results, says Susan Keating, the foundation's president and CEO, tells CardLine sister publication Cards&Payments. Bank of America Corp. and JPMorgan Chase & Co. already are operating under the foundation's recommended guidelines, and Keating says she is hopeful that by March 31 most of the nation's largest card issuers will fall in line with its recommendations. "Different card issuers have different concession policies, and many of them say they won't make changes until they know their competitors are doing so," Keating. "But we are seeing some positive signs that more issuers will provide meaningful concessions to people drowning in debt."

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