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When the White House economic team met yesterday with top executives of several large card issuers and networks, Lawrence Summers, director of the National Economic Council, nodded off several times, at one point appearing to go to sleep. But Ed Yingling, president of the American Bankers Association, insisted the meeting was useful–at least for the card industry. The meeting gave the industry a chance to make its case about the dangers of continuing to rein in card practices, he says. The Federal Reserve Board and other regulators finalized rules that go into effect next year designed to curb several abuses, including double-cycle billing and universal default. But the uncertainty over what Congress may add to those rules is creating funding problems for many card issuers, which are unable to sell credit card receivables on the secondary market, Yingling says. "We understand there are consumer issues, but if we want credit available, we also have to understand there are funding issues," he says. As for President Obama, he appeared engaged, Yingling says. His message was similar to one he gave to several bank chief executives when he met with them a few weeks ago: people are angry at you. But the president also emphasized he did not want to curb access to credit and acknowledged he may be the first president to run a card balance during his early career.


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