After the Financial Services Revolution: Deregulation, Bankruptcy Reform and Consumer Debt Crisis

Date of Event



February 8, 2007

Speaker: Robert D. Manning, PhD, Research Professor and Director, Center for Consumer Financial Services, Rochester Institute of Technology

The Frank J. Battisti Memorial Lecture Banking deregulation has profoundly changed the financial services offered to consumers and the institutions that offer them. How has the dramatic erosion of federal and state regulation affected consumer usury laws, marketing policies, and consumer education? What are the factors that have shifted the focus of banks from corporate to consumer lending? How has the profitability of the industry changed and what does it mean to local banks? What factors are responsible to diluted loan underwriting standards? What role have credit cards played in this "revolution"? How have these changes influenced attitudes toward credit and debt now that America has a negative savings rate (first time since 1933)? The financial services industry argued that consumer defaults on loans cost the average American over $400 simply because people are exploiting the bankruptcy law to avoid paying their debts. What are the economic realities to the industry? Can consumers expect lower cost products now that the bill was enacted? What are the most important changes in the law for consumers? What impact has the law had on bankruptcy filings? Who is responsible for soaring consumer bankruptcy rates? What role does homeownership play in the process of consumer bankruptcy? Finally, how do we explain the dramatic change in social attitudes toward saving and consumer debt? When and why are Americans assuming record levels of debt? What are the implications of rising consumer debt to the future of American society? What are the near term consequences of consumer debt on retirement and social inequality? Is inheritance or rising property values the solution to the debt problem? Dr. Manning's lecture will explore all of these questions and conclude with a prediction that American society has about 10-15 years to reverse the consumer debt crisis or the U.S. will face a sharp decline in its standard of living and serious financial crises in 20-25 years — independent of the financial pressures of the retiring baby boomer "bulge." Also, the failure to rapidly reverse the consumer debt crisis has enormous implications to the future global economic power of the U.S. as our dependence on cheap credit dwarfs our dependence on cheap energy.

Lecture Series

Frank J. Battisti Memorial Lecture

Subject Headings

Richard D. Manning; financial services; consumer debt crisis; deregulation; banking; financial industry; bankruptcy; cheap credit; usury laws; consumer protection

Document Type