Robert D. Manning, author of the widely acclaimed book, Credit Card Nation: America's Dangerous Addiction to Credit, predicts that American society has about 10 to 15 years to reverse the consumer debt crisis. In Manning's view, the United States will face a sharp decline in its standard of living and serious financial crises in 20 to 25 years—independent of the financial pressures of the retiring baby boomer "bulge."
Manning, research professor and director of the Center for Consumer Financial Services at the Rochester Institute of Technology, will discuss issues surrounding the financial services industry at the Case Western Reserve University School of Law's Frank J. Battisti Memorial Lecture, Thursday, Feb. 8 at 6 p.m. The free, public talk will be held in the law school's Moot Courtroom (A59), 11075 East Boulevard. A reception follows the lecture.
Manning is a frequently invited expert at U.S. Congressional hearings, and his consumer credit research has influenced public policy debate on consumer debt issues. He has become one of the most outspoken critics of the nation's consumer spending habits and lending practices. According to Manning, "the failure to rapidly reverse the consumer debt crisis has enormous implications to the future global economic power of the U.S. as our dependence on cheap credit dwarfs our dependence on cheap energy."
Manning will explore issues surrounding banking deregulation, which has profoundly changed the financial services offered to consumers and the institutions that offer them. He also will pose several questions to the audience: How has the dramatic erosion of federal and state regulation affected consumer usury laws, marketing policies, and consumer education? What the factors are that have shifted the focus of banks from corporate to consumer lending? How has the profitability of the industry changed and what does it mean to local banks? What factors are responsible for diluted loan underwriting standards? What role have credit cards played in this "revolution?" He also will try to answer the question of how these changes influenced attitudes toward credit and debt now that America has a negative savings rate for first time since 1933.
"We're excited to have such a distinguished author and scholar as Robert Manning to share his insight and wisdom with us on the volatile financial services industry," said Jonathan L. Entin, associate dean for academic affairs and professor of law. "Our students and the local financial and business law community will benefit greatly from his knowledge and expertise."
Prior to Manning's lecture, there will be a showing of the documentary "In Debt We Trust." That film provides great insight into the impact debt is having on young people and our society. It also offers ways to empower the public with information on avoiding the traps of debt and dependency. The film will be shown at 4 p.m. in Room 157 at the School of Law.
One hour of free CLE credit will be available to lawyers who attend the lecture in person. For more information, call (216) 368-0394 or visit http://law.case.edu/lectures. The lecture will be webcast live and available for viewing on demand afterward at http://law.case.edu/lectures.
Case Western Reserve University is committed to the free exchange of ideas, reasoned debate and intellectual dialogue. Speakers and scholars with a diversity of opinions and perspectives are invited to the campus to provide the community with important points of view, some of which may be deemed controversial. The views and opinions of those invited to speak on the campus do not necessarily reflect the views of the university administration or any other segment of the university community.