Conference on Consumer Credit Disclosures:

This summer the Payment Cards Center of the Philadelphia Federal Reserve organized an excellent program on "Federal Consumer Protection Regulation: Disclosures and Beyond." A summary of the program by Mark Furletti is available here. Yours truly was the keynote speaker for the panel on "Alternatives to Disclosure." Tom Durkin of the Federal Reserve Board headlined the morning panel. Given the long-simmering rumors of possible amendments to Reg Z, this was a timely and useful program on regulation of credit card use by consumers and disclosures and other regulatory approaches.

Here's the summary of recommendations from the program:

In general, these recomendations involve (1) making specific changes to current credit card disclosures, (2) improving the processes by which disclosures are implemented, (3) increasing reliance on technology for the purposes of making disclosures more useful and educating consumers, and (4) changing the "mix" of regulatory intervention in the industry. The paper concludes that while many participants do not expect significant improvements to existing federal consumer protections, there is evidence that standardized credit disclosures, when coupled with other regulatory tools, serve a segment of credit-card-using consuemrs well and could incrementally benefits from modification.

For those who are not familiar with it, the Payment Cards Center at the Philadelphia Federal Reserve is doing outstanding work in the area of payment cards research and this conference is a great example of their excellent research. Their materials are available here. While I'm at it, another great site for payment card research for those working in this area is