Citibank, credit cards, and the local politics of national consumer finance, 1968-1991

Vanatta, S. H. (2016) Citibank, credit cards, and the local politics of national consumer finance, 1968-1991. Business History Review, 90(1), pp. 57-80. (doi: 10.1017/S0007680515001038)

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Within the postwar financial regulatory system, state-level regulations—particularly interest rate limits—constrained the profitability of bank credit card plans. But differences in law among the states allowed motivated institutions to circumvent local laws using these mobile financial instruments. Eventually, banks themselves became mobile, placing irresistible pressure on states to eliminate local restrictions on consumer finance. The critical moment came when Citibank relocated its credit card business to Sioux Falls, South Dakota, in 1981. By examining this move in its longer context, this essay provides a new perspective on the rise of consumer finance in the late twentieth century, one that emphasizes strategic manipulation of local law by firms pursuing a national customer base.

Item Type:Articles
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Vanatta, Dr Sean
Authors: Vanatta, S. H.
Subjects:F History United States, Canada, Latin America > F001 United States local history
H Social Sciences > HG Finance
K Law > KF United States Federal Law
College/School:College of Social Sciences > School of Social and Political Sciences
Journal Name:Business History Review
Publisher:Cambridge University Press
ISSN (Online):2044-768X
Published Online:26 October 2015

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