Read between the lines of this article. This is not about 'debt forgiveness,' as the casual reader might probably assume. This is about more 'bailing out.' The Great Credit Card Bailout Push of 2008 Has Begun. Why Not? Everyone Else Is Getting 'Some.' Give tax dollars to everyone and anyone. Print, Baby, Print!!! http://money.cnn.com/2008/10/29/news/economy/creditcard_bailout.ap/index.htm?postversion=2008102921 Groups seek credit card debt forgiveness Consumers are defaulting at high levels on their credit cards, they contend, while banks bleed tens of billions in red ink from the losses. October 29, 2008: 9:47 PM ET WASHINGTON (AP) -- An alliance of financial industry interests and consumer advocates on Wednesday asked federal regulators to allow lenders to reduce by as much as 40 percent the amount of credit card debt owed by deeply indebted consumers in a special program. As the economic crisis has deepened and consumers increasingly are defaulting on their credit card debts, write-offs on the loans have mounted for banks and other lenders. The unusual joint request from the Financial Services Roundtable and the Consumer Federation of America highlighted the urgency of the situation: consumers - even those with strong credit records - defaulting at high levels on their credit cards, while banks battered by the credit crisis bleed tens of billions in red ink from the losses. "In this case we have a clear common interest," Travis Plunkett, legislative director for Consumer Federation, said in a telephone interview. Record debt The request came in a letter to U.S. Comptroller of the Currency John Dugan, whose Treasury Department agency oversees national banks. The groups asked him to approve a pilot project allowing major credit card companies to sharply reduce the amounts owed by heavily indebted consumers who don't qualify for the repayment plans that are currently available. "This proposal would make it financially feasible for credit card lenders to provide immediate financial assistance to American consumers who are carrying record levels of debt," the two groups said in a release. Nearly all the biggest credit card banks have agreed to a temporary pilot program in which lenders would forgive as much as 40 percent of the amount consumers owe, allowing them to pay back the remainder over time, they said. The amount of debt to be forgiven would be determined case by case, depending on the borrower's financial condition; those receiving close to the maximum forgiveness level would be nearing a personal bankruptcy filing. Current government rules don't allow lenders to offer repayment plans that reduce the amount of principal owed and borrowers to repay the balance over a period of several years. In cases where the principal can be reduced, under credit card settlements, borrowers normally are required to pay off the remainder over months rather than years. Robert Garsson, a spokesman for Dugan, said the agency's staff hadn't yet seen the letter and declined to comment on it. "The most important thing right now is to strike a balance between the lender and the consumer," Steve Bartlett, president and chief executive of the Roundtable, which represents more than 100 large banks, brokerage firms and insurance companies, said in a statement. "We are asking the (comptroller's office) to provide guidance to lenders that will in turn offer relief and stability to consumers." Five big financial companies - Discover Financial Services LLC (DFS), Bank of America Corp. (BAC, Fortune 500), Citigroup Inc., (C, Fortune 500) JPMorgan Chase & Co. (JPM, Fortune 500) and Capital One Financial Corp. (COF, Fortune 500) - issue around 80 percent of all U.S. credit cards. Americans now are weighed down by around $900 billion in credit card debt, according to Federal Reserve figures.