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From the early forms of loans to farmers up to present day credit cards, consumer credit has always been part of human life; however, ever since the Bible, controversy has reigned as to its legitimacy. It is the history of this controversy that is presented here. Outlining significant developments in different aspects of consumer credit from the Hammurabi Code through to current questions such as household overindebtedness, the authors shed historical light on modern debates.
Rosa-Maria Gelpi is Vice President and Francois Julien-Labruyere is CEO of the International Department, both at Cetelem, the first European group which specializes in consumer credit.