I used to work debt collection for a bank back in '04. No names but at the time they were globally number 3 and trying to be the biggest.
Anyway...a couple of months in and I realised that the bank was doing it's utmost to deliberately market credit cards with astronomically high interest rates, to people that had no hope in hell of ever paying them off, and hiding the rates under a mountain fo jargon and overly complicated 'explanations' in the terms & conditions.
Not only that, but as debt collectors we were told that although we could harass people as much as the law would allow, we also had to encourage them to settle for paying the minimum amount each month, which was set so it wouldn't even cover the interest. Thereby ensuring that the debt would keep mounting.
I asked my supervisor about this, who asked the vp...and eventually a departmental email came down explaining that the debts owing to us were as good as money. I.e the more people owed us, the more our bank was worth on the stock market and this meant that debts could be traded on the commodity markets making even more money.
To quote: "one dollar owing to us for one year equals 10,000 dollars on the markets. Us being owed money is as good as us being able to print money."
All of which was based on the premise that Joe Schmoe who didn't quite grasp the concept that 'nothing to pay for the first year' wasn't the same as 'free money' and didn't have any money anyway.. would eventually pay up his share of all this virtual money instead of defaulting.
I was also reprimanded for a poor attitude when I tried to point out the flaw in this grand plan, and told it was the industry-wise standard so I had better not question it.
I started looking for new job the day after and wasn't all surprised when the financial house of cards the banks had built imploded, collapsing Wall street etc.