CREDIT: For Everything

Some 1,800 bankers gathered last week at the annual National Instalment Credit Conference in Chicago searching for new prescriptions to satisfy the U.S. consumer's insatiable craving for credit. During the past decade, personal income has increased 69% to $354 billion, but consumer credit has bolted 201% to $43 billion. New installment loans in January hit an alltime peak of $3.8 billion.

"Instant Money." Every day banks are sprouting new gimmicks to lure credit customers. Taking a cue from the successful Diners' Club (TIME, Sept. 22), some 200 banks have shuffled themselves into the...

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