One of the biggest problems facing window salespeople these days is not getting the sale … it is the inability of the consumer to obtain financing. During recent discussions surrounding window industry sales meetings that I have attended, both dealers and factory direct sales personnel are quite frustrated about the lack of credit. As one salesman put it, “Closing the sale is easy. The hard part is getting paid!”Various finance companies have historically worked quite successfully with the window industry. However, availability of credit has become a problem and some real creativity is needed to fix it! The most recent piece of “fix our credit woes” legislation signed into law by the President once again is aimed at protecting irresponsible consumers from themselves. It will not serve to help our credit situation, and may possibly exacerbate the situation.

Obama is trying to rescue the consumer of what he feels are unfair practices by credit card companies. He recently signed this new bill that will overhaul the credit card industry by placing new restrictions on interest rate hikes and penalty fees that consumers face. Once again, big government is coming to the rescue of us poor consumers who are being taken advantage by the big credit card companies. But where is free enterprise? We, as consumers, can shop for credit just like we shop for anything else, and make our decisions based upon what works for us. Remember the ad, “What’s in your wallet?”

There are cards that still offer great deals and there are credit card companies that one could justifiably classify as loan sharks, but we do get to choose. If we have poor credit, then our choices are usually limited to cards with higher usage rates. But once again, if we don’t want these cards, or any card for that matter, then we don’t have to have one! Critics of the legislation, such as Edward Yingling, president of the American Bankers Association, argue that some of the new provisions will “undermine the availability of credit,” and will alter the “entire business model of credit by restricting the ability to price credit for risk.”

The new legislation means well, but may also be bad for our recovery. The credit card companies have nine months before the new laws take effect so many are using this time period to their advantage by hiking up interest rates and adding fees now while they still can. During a recent trip abroad, I was surprised when I returned to find a “foreign transaction fee” of $30 on my Visa bill. “Oh, didn’t you read the extra page that was tacked on behind your last statement?” Meanwhile, lenders are tightening credit card lending standards. Even stellar customers are being informed that their credit lines are being reduced. All of this will surely limit the trajectory of any bounce back in our economy!

Isn’t it time for Congress to quit worrying about protecting everybody and instead focus upon stimulating our free enterprise system to do what it does best? The energy-efficient tax credits were a great start. We just need more of the same!

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