Press "Enter" to skip to content

Credit Card Execs Blameless, Says Corporate Media

Last updated on 2011.06.26

Has anyone else noticed that when KELO's anchorpeople step out from behind the Big News desk, they do the worst journalism?

First Angela Kennecke gags us with her puff piece on Kristi Noem's roast. (And seriously, Kristi: you get a rare chance for a family dinner at home, and you invite TV cameras? Can you say pimping the fam'?)

Then Don Jorgenson gives us this sop to the credit card industry, trying to tell us that usury doesn't cause problems:

Credit card companies are having a hard time weathering new federal regulations that were put in place last year.

Premier Bankcard is closing its Spearfish location meaning another 330 people will be looking for jobs. And one state official says the layoffs probably aren't done yet.

Premier Bankcard had found a niche in the banking industry by offering high-interest cards to people with bad credit. But the new regulations that were designed to protect consumers are now hurting companies like Premier.

"Credit card companies weren't part of the process that brought the economy down," South Dakota Chamber of Commerce Executive Director David Owen said [Don Jorgenson, "Credit Cards Didn't Create Economic Mess,", 2011.05.20].

This is industry spin at its worst. Jorgenson speaks to one person for this piece, state chamber exec Owen, who is out jawboning the media as usual to tell us business can do no wrong, that regulation is evil. Jorgenson seeks no comment from credit counselors or pastors or legislators who might point out that building a business model on usurious interest rates and penalties on people who shouldn't have credit cards is unsustainable and immoral. He doesn't seek out any Premier Bankcard victims (oops: customers) who could testify to the economic mess a high-interest credit card put them in.

Blaming regulations is a nice out for the Premier Bankcard execs. They can deny responsibility for fostering irresponsible borrowing. They can sidestep the question of why they can't come up with a better product to make money and create jobs in the changing business climate. And they can keep collecting their executive salaries (any layoffs in the board room yet?).

Yes, 330 jobs lost in Spearfish is a big hit. But Premier Bankcard needs to own up to its responsibility for those losses. Premier Bankcard chose to make money through exploitation. Society has rightly chosen to protect individuals from such exploitation. If Premier Bankcard's bosses can't find a way to create jobs and wealth without exploitation, then we are better off without them.


  1. mike 2011.05.21

    Cory, GREAT topic!

    It makes me sick to see T. Denny's name on everything around the state.

    The guy who got rich taking advantage of people and now he is a great philanthropist because he is giving organizations money. - I'd send it back.

  2. David Newquist 2011.05.21

    The war against working people is reaching the point where we can expect the kind of insurrections we like to think are limited to the Arab Spring. Unfortunately, many of our citizens side with the credit predators and blame the poor who have magna-usurious credit cards for making "poor choices." Except for a few business writers whose beat is the financial industry, no one examines the aggressive marketing, which sometimes is outright fraud, and punitive policies that attach to the cards. Aside from the logic of charging the poorest people the highest interest rates, the strategy for these high-interest cards is to define a market of people who need some financial relief and are desperate enough to take a chance on usury. The real question is who is making the bad choices? The desperate consumers or the predatory lenders, who have taken over the loan-sharking market.

    The Spearfish unit of Premiere was a debt collection unit. What the new federal regulations have done is to put in restraints against both borrowers and lenders from making bad choices. In effect, the result is not forcing lenders to obey a bunch cumbersome and oppressive regulations, but to prevent the lending of money to people who can't afford to borrow and pay the exorbitant interest. When you don't have people assuming bad debt, you have little need for debt collectors of bad debt.

    Duping and bilking the poor has been a lucrative business. Hardly anyone except a few deranged liberals questions business based upon dishonest and immoral practices. If it makes money, it is good.

  3. Guard 2011.05.21

    This burns me up too! As you noticed the one-sided show over at KELO on this topic, I too noticed how the Argus also conveniently left out the other side of the story on the subject. If they (Premier Bankcard and the credit card industry) think for one minute the public is going to forget the recent past of their predatory lending practices, then, they are sadly mistaken. Please keep on the subject because it is quite apparent that some of the media companies in this state are in the pockets of a particular person.

  4. john 2011.05.21

    Isn't Owens the one who headed up the anti union Bill that the Feds are during SD over? More tax money wasted fighting in court over right wing laws.

  5. Roger Elgersma 2011.05.21

    Very good story and very good comments. So just to add a little, I believe that good South Dakotans with good values and a belief in personal responsibility, should make better choices of where to find a job and what type of things there conscienses will allow for them to do on the job. A job should be more than just a place to make money. It should be a place to do a good worthwhile thing in the world. So good responsible people with values would not work there.
    However, South Dakotans do work there. Or at least, they did.

  6. caheidelberger Post author | 2011.05.21

    David's point that the Spearfish office was the a debt collection center makes Roger's point all the stronger: these were 330 jobs dedicated to making life really hard for fellow citizens. I wouldn't feel good doing such work. I'd do such work solely for the paycheck, and that's not good for the soul.

    But we don't all have the luxury of doing work that makes us happy or makes society better. As Roger notes, those 330 people are our neighbors, and I don't wish job searching on anyone (well, other than Kristi Noem). It's not easy putting principles into practice.

  7. mike 2011.05.21

    I'd really like to see Thune, Noem, Johnson and Daugaard take this issue on... Crazy that this happens in SD

  8. Guard 2011.05.21


    Not to change or go off-topic, but, what happened down in Yankton yesterday with Rep. Noem's education press conference because once again KELO's story sounded like another press release from her office. That newsteam has really gone down the crapper.

  9. Guard 2011.05.21

    KELO's headline for the story on Rep. Noem's Education Press Conference was to quote her saying that education "was a bright spot?" Huh? I swear they must have Joshua Shields writing some of their content. Please post a story so I don't keep butting into this one and remaining off-topic. I'm tired of reading Noem Press Releases on Keloland and in the Argus.

  10. RGoeman 2011.05.21

    Cory, you predicted there would be no damage to South Dakota jobs following the new credit reform act, but everyone knew what was coming down the pike. Thousands of jobs have been lost already in South Dakota due to these restrictive regulations. Some of the new regulations help consumers, but when the government starts telling companies how much they can charge, how much they can earn, competition goes away, consumers pay more and jobs are lost. The government has never run anything efficiently.

    The media promoted Premier Bankcard's 70% credit card issued in California, but what is worse? Paying an unrestricted PayDay Loan company 600% interest on a 2-week loan or qualifying for a credit card with a high interest rate that reflects the borrower's irresponsible past credit history? Credit card companies simply fill a need as do PayDay Loan outlets. The risk the companies take is directly reflected in the rates they charge.

    To those who complain about Sanford being plastered all over everything, we should remember that T. Denny Sanford could have spent his millions anywhere in the world, but he chose South Dakota for a half-billion dollar investment in medicine and research. I'd say "thank you".

  11. Guard 2011.05.21

    Say "thank you?" Well, depends on your perspective of how he made the millions he gave away. Since I do not believe he made all of that money in the best interests of people through predatory lending practices, I am quite reserved in giving him any credit. The fact of the matter is that Premier Bankcard engaged in predatory lending practices and that they share the responsiblity for their irresponsiblity in promoting bad debt. So much so, that Congress had to step in with a very moral law and I also believe they need to shut down these pay day loan places as well. After all, we wouldn't need these places if we returned to a nation that promoted a fair wage for a fair day's work and not a government bought and influenced by corporate lobbyist efforts that has resulted in low paying jobs for the profit of people like Denny Sanford.

  12. Guard 2011.05.21

    And I say thank you to all hard working South Dakotans who actually do the work to get things done in the state.

  13. Stan Gibilisco 2011.05.21

    High interest rates for individuals with bad credit? Does anyone see the irony? The entire country might "default on its debt" this summer or fall, resulting in -- one guess! -- higher interest rates for all of us.

    As the plankton go, there goes the whale.

    Maybe China, Canada, Brazil, Germany and others can create global regulations to keep the world from charging the USA higher interest rates when our collective credit rating plummets. Then they can deal with the resulting unemployment. Gibilisconomics at its finest. Ha, ha!

    [CAH: "plankton... whale... Gibilisconomics"—Stan gets extra credit for snappy writing!]

  14. RGoeman 2011.05.22

    Guard...The reality of our society is that everyone is not paid a proper wage and not everyone handles money properly. If we eliminate high interest credit cards for individuals with poor credit performance and shut down the PayDay Loan stores, where will people get short term money for their needs? We certainly don't want them going to back alley rooms to get cash. Until those things change that you're hoping for, these businesses do serve a purpose, although I disagree with the hyper rates people are forced to pay.

  15. troy jones 2011.05.22

    The regulations that led to this layoff is another example of outright hatred of those less economically fortunate.

    Have bad credit problems because you were laid off or had hours reduced and want a chance to rehabilitate your credit rating? Tough.

    Need credit for an emergency? Tough

    Don't want to use Pay Day Lenders? Tough.

    Can't rent a car, buy a plane ticket, or rent a hotel because you don't have a credit card? Tough.

    You liberals might feel good about yourselves and your sanctimony but your actions are hateful to the poor.

  16. Charlie Johnson 2011.05.22


    Usury--especially high rates is abusing people. I don't think anybody goes to church on Sunday praising Premier Bankd and Denny S. or Miles Beacom for the wrath and destruction they bring to people's lives. Justify all you want and lay the liberal tag but sorry that doesn't fit. What they are doing is immoral-period.

  17. Guard 2011.05.22

    That is the biggest load of crap and you know it. LOL

  18. mike 2011.05.22

    I tend to be conservative most of the time but phonies really bug me. Sure the loans help some people but they also really take advantage of a lot of people. It's probably a 10% good and 90% bad.

    Sanford isn't in the business of helping people he's in the business of making money and Premiere is making it off of taking advantage of people in need.

  19. moses 2011.05.22


  20. Guard 2011.05.23

    What Troy is really saying in his latest response (scroll up)...TRANSLATION: Is that credit card companies like Premier Bankcard like to lure in people with bad credit and take advantage of them with high interest rates. This is taking advantage of the most disadvanted in our society and exploitating the poor for profit. This is not helping them, but, putting them further behind by encouraging them to dig their debt hole deeper and deeper.

  21. Troy Jones 2011.05.23

    Rather than trying to distance yourselves from the lay-offs, you should be embracing them. The intent of the legislation was to reduce access of those to with bad credit ratings to high cost credit. It is working.

    But to think the legislation wouldn't impact employment at companies that provide high cost credit is unrealistic and naive. And have the courage to say to those laid off that what they were doing was wrong and they need to go find work you find more "morally redeeming." You can't assert the company and its business model is immoral without also saying the work done by these employees is immoral.

  22. Guard 2011.05.23

    Oh yes you can and I've known people who have worked for Premier Bankcard in Spearfish and most of them took the job as temporary because they did not care for the company, but, needed something until they found something else. Troy, you are not going to win on this one. Most people realize that this is the company that had to settle with the state of New York when the AG threatened to sue them for predatory lending practices a couple years ago.

  23. Troy Jones 2011.05.23

    And Guard, I laugh when people like you sanctimoniously claim to be protecting people from themselves. These people have had their credit rating damaged (for reasons in their control or outside their control), they know the cost of this credit, they know they can't rehabilitate their credit without someone extending them credit and unless someone is willing to extend credit to them, they are stuck forever without access to credit. It is condescending you think so little of them to assert they are lured and taken advantage of without ever considering they know what they are doing.

  24. Guard 2011.05.23

    The feeling is mutual. I'm tired of your sanctimonious posts as well. If you would not be so condescending yourself and actually listen to people with other viewpoints, you might learn something. I've read your posts and comments for the past few years and you come off like your viewpoint is the only one that counts while other views fall on deaf ears with you.

  25. Joseph G Thompson 2011.05.23

    Tell you what I am tired of. People,who when it serves their purpose, support immoral acts or immoral people by saying its none of our business, don't judge people, or it's not against the law. Then when some one does something that is perfectly legal, but it does not support their purpose or goal, claim it is immoral.

    Most(an assumption on my part) posters here claim to want to live in a society governed by laws and not morality.
    Well, thats is what you have, laws not morality hope you are happy. Me, I'll take a moral society any day over what we have now.

    You all may call me sanctimonious and condescending all day long, but I do listen to what people say and write and it is truly amazing what you learn about people, their character, and their thought process, even when they try to hide it.
    Joseph G Thompson

  26. Anne 2011.05.23


    With fools forbear to argue--better strive to wake the dead.


  27. caheidelberger Post author | 2011.05.23

    No problem, Troy. I'll embrace the layoffs. I'll say the work was bad for the soul and for society.

  28. Troy Jones 2011.05.23

    Then, why are you so reluctant to accept the "bank execs" explanation the lay-offs are the result of the change in the law?

  29. caheidelberger Post author | 2011.05.23

    ...because they're not a result of the law. They're a result of the execs' inability or unwillingness to come up with a more moral, sustainable business model. We all make choices.

  30. kwn 2011.05.23

    So if we "choose" not to pay our bills, and our credit is ruined (by our own choices) should the bank give us another chance w/o penalty? If your kid brings home the car w/o filling it up with gas we should just smile and say "thanks"? No, I didn't think so. It's the same theroy!
    What happened to "owning" our bad choices and "paying the price" to re-establish your credit? Geesh -- how much more should we just give folks w/o them working for it?

  31. caheidelberger Post author | 2011.05.23

    No, the bank should not give the deadbeat another chance with no penalty. The bank should not give the deadbeat a credit card, period. I'm fine with that. How's that for owning our bad choices and paying the price?

  32. kwn 2011.05.23

    Wow -- something else we agree on. I think we're up to 2. :)

  33. Troy Jones 2011.05.24

    Cory, sounds like you are imposing your views of morality on both the poor who have bad credit but want to rehabilitate their credit and those who desire to satisfy their choice. Hmmm.

  34. caheidelberger Post author | 2011.05.24

    I impose my morality with the same impunity you do, Troy. We appear to agree there is absolute truth, and we appear to agree that we have the right to preach that truth and castigate those who reject it.

    And Premier Bankcard is not offered with the intent of rehabilitating credit. If it did that, if every customer read all the terms, paid off his/her balance each month, and spent money wisely, Premier Bankcard would go broke.

  35. Guard 2011.05.24

    Once again I have to agree with Cory on this one. Credit card companies encouraging a charge it society for the past few decades was not wise at all, in fact, if we are going to continue throwing around the "morality" card Troy, living in debt that one can not pay off is not very ethical, An economic system, such as ours, that has dug itself a huge unpayble debt hole is not only immoral but unsustainable.

  36. larry kurtz 2011.05.24

    Nothing a D10 can't fix, Troy. Expurgation is the logical next step for Lawrence County where obesity and entitlement have overtaken its mauvehaired residents. Exit 14 looks like it was air-dropped into Antarctica. With luck, False Bottom Creek will purge, then cleanse the entire floodway. Spearditch should book its reservations at Rose Hill Cemetery now.

Comments are closed.