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Friday, July 23, 2010

Commenter Ben on Why Huge Banks Suck

Posted by on Fri, Jul 23, 2010 at 1:41 PM

On Lindy's hilarious post this morning about overdrafts, a commenter told her that she is an irresponsible baby who does not know how to manage her money and that she should thank the bank for being gracious enough to take her money. And then commenter Ben responded with the most amazing comment I have seen in many weeks, which I am going to re-run here in its entirety (bolds are mine), because everyone who has a bank account at one of the big banks should read it:

Look, the banks intentionally do everything in their power to screw you out of money. That's not hyperbole. They really do everything they can get away with to take your money without having to actually do anything.

They run debits before credits to make it harder to keep ahead of things. They run charges largest-to-smallest, to maximize the number of charges after you go into the negative. They do these things this way specifically to take your money. They make all the rules, and, in aggregate, they've been playing the game about a hundred thousand times as long as you have. Their only motivation is to take as much money from you as possible, as efficiently as possible, hopefully while blaming you for it.

Now, before you go all read-the-fine-print douchenozzle on me: YES. They are well within their legal rights to do whatever they can to try to screw everyone else out of all of their money without actually doing any work. Similarly, Lindy is well within her legal rights to say that they are fucking inhuman shitpiles for doing so.

And of course, you are well within your legal rights to say that she should just have a computer brain that can instantly cross-reference every event that occurs in her life with every word that has ever passed in front of her eyes, all while running a perfect tally of all her financial assets and obligations, updated in real-time, allowing for any sort of emergency situation with some kind of percentage safety margin as determined by an elaborate collection of actuarial data.

And I am perfectly within my legal rights to recurse down to this level, and call you a fucking asshole. You fucking asshole.

Thank you, Ben. You are awesome.

And I'd just like to say to everyone: Join a credit union. Seriously. I can't imagine the kind of broke-ass hell I'd be living in right now if Glenn Beck (allegedly) stole my old U.S. Bank debit card number instead of my credit union-linked credit card. My credit union made the whole awful situation relatively painless, and they provided friendly service the whole time. U.S. Bank would have milked my (possibly Glenn Beck-related) misfortune for every red cent.


Comments (68) RSS

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Packeteer 1
I just switched to BECU a few months ago and I love it. They give you a single sheet of paper when you sign up that describes all the BS fees they charge. They still have to charge some of them but they are upfront about it.

Literally the guy who helped me sign up pointed out that they have to make money like the other banks but they want to be super transparent. I wouldn't feel bad overdrafting a little bit to a credit union since the money is for their cause anyway.
Posted by Packeteer on July 23, 2010 at 1:46 PM · Report this
That's funny, I've had two credit cards, 5-6 different accounts with large banks for over 25 years and have never paid a penny in credit card interest or an overdraft fee. How you ask? By spending less than I make! Fucking miraculous isn't it!

So you fuckups keep living beyond your means, it's how I earn the points for 4 free flights a year.
Posted by Live within your means assholes on July 23, 2010 at 1:50 PM · Report this
I agree that there's a major benefit to credit union banking, but I disagree with you about US Bank. When I had my entire bank balance stolen from the ATM on Broadway and John, every employee I dealt with was kind, despite the fact that it was 100% my fault (I'd left my card in the machine). I had my balance restored within 10 days with no fees and very minimal paperwork.
Posted by Lo on July 23, 2010 at 1:53 PM · Report this
I live with in my means but sometimes your money doesn't switch from bank to bank fast enough. I keep my savings in one spot and my regular spending money in another. Obviously I should wait the whole damn week it takes to transfer the money fully, but I have over drafted one single time and that was because tax put me .35 over. Luckily I was able to call the bank and get them to remove the charge because the money was obviously on its way and I let them know it was very simply a miss calculation on my part.

That doesn't change that they specifically are trying to fuck you over at all times. Because of that I changed to BECU for my main banking needs. Also, their phone customer support is AMAZING. My internet crashed while I was signing up and some nice lady walked me right through it and got me up and running again.

One other great thing about BECU - If you have sprint then you can get 20% off your monthly bill from them by using becu. And they have a 6% interest rate on their savings account for under 500$.
Posted by tigntink on July 23, 2010 at 1:56 PM · Report this
stinkbug 5
Yes, banks are evil (duh) but that doesn't absolve someone from knowing the basic fee structures. People get nickled and dimed all sorts of ways (late video game rentals, etc.) and for the most part they don't seem to care what the fees are or that there are fees in the first place. They gladly fork over the extra money most of the time. With banks though the fees are more noticeable since the whole overdraft stuff can easily go haywire.

More jr/high schools need to put students through required financial education classes. Some of the financial irresponsibility I see in otherwise smart adults nowadays is always pretty amazing. (No, I'm not blaming them for the screwing that certain institutions are giving to them.)

Posted by stinkbug on July 23, 2010 at 1:59 PM · Report this
I need to figure out how to work the phrase "before you go all read-the-fine-print douchenozzle on me ... " into my next argument.
Posted by Kalakalot on July 23, 2010 at 2:02 PM · Report this
Yeah, Lindy's post WAS hilarious. When Carlos Mencia made the same joke 5 years ago.

You'd think, with all the drugs I assume to be floating around The Stranger's office, you'd be able to come up with something more original.

Can't wait for the next lolcats post, or maybe you'll entertain us with a witty takedown of Dan Quayle.
Posted by Poor Ain't No Excuse for Irresponsible on July 23, 2010 at 2:03 PM · Report this
Hover Dog 8
@7: If anyone deserves to have his jokes stolen, it's Carlos Mencia.
Posted by Hover Dog on July 23, 2010 at 2:05 PM · Report this
If you're thinking of switching to a credit union, which I would highly recommend - I did about seven years ago and will never go back - consider Verity Credit Union. Small, local, lovely. I have nothing but wonderful things to say about them. FUCK the big banks and their mountain-top mining agenda.
Posted by LDW on July 23, 2010 at 2:05 PM · Report this
Have you tried to contact BECU lately? I applied for a mortgage there 3 weeks ago, paid the $550 application fee and have had nothing but the run around ever since. I probably have accumulated several hours of hold time and have yet to talk to a person who can actually help me. I know rates are low and everyone is busy, but they have proven themselves completely unable to handle the influx of new customers. I had WAY better customer service from Wells Fargo. I am currently trying to get my money back.

If you are going to try to switch to BECU, my advice is to wait a while.
Posted by tshicks on July 23, 2010 at 2:07 PM · Report this
sorry for the cross pointing. i figured this would probably be seen on this thread than the original one.

I hate to say this but save save save and plan plan plan. I automatically deposit 25% of my take home into a money market/savings account. The rest of it goes towards bills, living, and what not. I might think about moving in the next few months. So I'm starting to already plan for that and siphon some of my paycheck into a different savings account for moving expenses. My point is that the best way to fuck the banks over is to be forward thinkers. Banks make most of their money off people that are present-thinkers and just react to what's happening now than what'll happen in the future. In my early 20s I used to get dinged with overdraft fees because I wasn't making that much and I just wanted to try to enjoy my life. I wasn't that diligent about paying bills and got dinged on that as well on my credit record. Basically, I wanted to keep up with the young adult Jones. Now I've gotten older, gotten higher paying jobs, and started taking more responsibility of my finances. I do know that if I was making 15K more at 23 than what I was making then, I probably wouldn't have gotten so behind in my finances. Since then, my finances have become easily manageable and my credit score reflects it.
Posted by apres_moi on July 23, 2010 at 2:09 PM · Report this
I agree, switching to BECU was one of the best choices I have ever made with respect to my finances.
Posted by Reg on July 23, 2010 at 2:14 PM · Report this
And to elaborate on that topic, I am well within my rights to tell banks to eat a dick and take my money elswehere. I would rather keep my money in my underwear drawer, insured by a Smith and Wesson, than give it back to the big six.
Posted by Reg on July 23, 2010 at 2:19 PM · Report this

I am counting the days until banksimple launches.
Posted by Bill Nordwall on July 23, 2010 at 2:20 PM · Report this
Will in Seattle 15
Ben is correct, and if you've ever been an investor - as I have - in BofA or other banks, you'll see that they intentionally do this. Go for BECU.
Posted by Will in Seattle on July 23, 2010 at 2:21 PM · Report this
@9: Totally agree (which was sort of the point). Anything that was or even may have been fodder for that hack should be avoided at all costs. Comedians/writers should always ask WWCMD? Then do the opposite.

Really, I get what Lindy's saying, just didn't find it as HILARIOUS as suggested. Yeah, we know banks suck. How about we stop enabling their ridiculous practices and pretending the onus is entirely on them to keep our finances straight? That would be really funny.
Posted by Poor Ain't No Excuse for Irresponsible on July 23, 2010 at 2:25 PM · Report this
Whoa, what? 20% off my Sprint bill by banking with BECU? Someone fill in the details, please.
Posted by ser on July 23, 2010 at 2:26 PM · Report this
@16: Whoops, meant @8.

Now I'm the hack.
Posted by Poor Ain't No Excuse for Irresponsible on July 23, 2010 at 2:27 PM · Report this
michael strangeways 19
I Heart Ben.

Posted by michael strangeways on July 23, 2010 at 2:34 PM · Report this
@7 I cannot believe you claim that Carlos Mencia is the original "HOW CAN YOU TAKE MY MONEY WHEN YOU KNOW I HAVE NO MONEY" joke teller.
@8 Yes, yes he does.

KeyBank just sent me a thingy saying that unless I tell them they're allowed to they won't "pay charges exceeding my account amount" anymore. Thank you, guys. Especially since all means I have to check my account balance (ATM, online) without going into the bank are almost always behind or some shit. When I call and say they are behind they say "Duh, don't you keep a spreadsheet?" No, I do not. I am under the age of 25 and YOU ARE THE GODDAMN BANK, YOU'RE SUPPOSED TO CORRECTLY INFORM ME OF HOW MUCH MONEY I HAVE.

I will never forget the time I had $32.00ish in my bank account. I deposited my paycheck, $100 of which always posts before the check is cleared NOPE. I paid a single bill for $50.00 then went and charged $40ish via random amounts with my debit/credit card. They made sure to stack the charges BEFORE my deposit, which is not how it happened and then the $100credit AFTER the next business day to help pay for the four $35 overdraft fees I had accumulated.

Posted by funkathrusta on July 23, 2010 at 2:40 PM · Report this
I've strongly suport credit unions since my credit was fucked and the only bank that would give me a checking acct was WECU in B'ham. 3 macro level reasons for you to do the same:

1) Credit unions do not invest in CDO's, which crashed the national economy.

2) Credit unions loan to local businesses and consumers, which strengthens and stimulates the local economy.

3) Credit unions have been historically much more circumspect, generally speaking, about investing in local commercial and residential real estate speculation than local commercial banks, so they are more stable and supported more stability in the local economy.

4) CU's are non profit. Their interest rates and fee structures reflect this to your benefit.
Posted by Randy Beaver on July 23, 2010 at 2:43 PM · Report this
I screwed up one major deposit, and then put lots of small items on my debit card all weekend -- and on Monday found out that I had a $25 fee added onto each one. $25 extra for coffee, $25 extra for donuts, etc.

The teller at my credit union gave me a stern look and motherly talking-to, then waived all the fees, without even having to call a manager or anything. And then told me how I could reduce my monthly account fee.

No way in hell a for-profit bank does that.
Posted by Moag on July 23, 2010 at 2:43 PM · Report this
@20: That was a joke. See 16.
Posted by Poor Ain't No Excuse for Irresponsible on July 23, 2010 at 2:46 PM · Report this
internet_jen 24
cross posted from other thread

I don't understand why poor peeps don't check their balance often, like 4 times a week. Back when I had BoA I think I was able to do it via: automated phone robots, live person during business hrs, ATM, mobile and regular Internet. I was able to transfer funds via auto-robots too. Never had a lot of $$ but my balance was never troublesome.

Everything was fine and dandy when all my stuff was automated. Then jobs changed and I had to deposit in person. The incompetence overflowed and I changed to BECU and learned of the wonderful world of interest rates
Posted by internet_jen on July 23, 2010 at 2:50 PM · Report this
@17 I recently switched from ATT to sprint because my company's discount gave 27% off. When I was getting my new plan up and running they also mentioned that BECU accounts also received 20% off.

I think all they require is proof that you bank or have a credit card with them. Like a debit or credit card current and in your name. I'd go into a Sprint store and ask about it.

Also to all you privledged fucks who have apparently never lived paycheck to paycheck - go fuck yourself. Shit happens and not all of us have always been able to put 25% of our pay into savings, Especially straight out of college or in college.
Posted by tigntink on July 23, 2010 at 2:53 PM · Report this
When my nice local bank got bought out by Bank of Satan I switched all my money to my credit union account. I appreciate the no-fee checking and the friendly tellers but I have to say things are a little rough around the edges. They can't seem to let me use my debit card to buy anything in Europe, which made for an exciting trip to Spain last summer. They've never heard of Verified by Visa. And they're maddeningly unreachable on weekends and holidays, like the one last year in which my card was canceled for fraud on the last day of my beach trip--good thing I had enough gas to get home.

I'm happy to fight the power but at times I wish I could believe the grownups were in charge.
Posted by Prettybetsy on July 23, 2010 at 3:01 PM · Report this
@24 - I am wondering that too. When overdrafting was a distinct possibility on a regular basis, I was checking my balance over the phone every single day.

I do agree that the banks deliberatly set their fee structure so that low income folks will get trapped into paying a bunch of fees. And once you start bouncing checks and accumulating overdraft fees, it can be really hard to dig out of it. It sucks. I applaud and encourage everyone to move their money to a credit union.

But blaming the bank if you're not 100% watching your money isn't going to accomplish anything. You can be all "blah blah fine print", but a lot of people do float cash they don't have. A friend of mine was livid about getting hit with overdrafts a while back because the parking fees she'd paid hadn't cleared her bank for over a week. She was furious at her bank and yelled "WHAT DO THEY EXPECT ME TO DO, WRITE THIS SHIT DOWN?!?" (insert stompy foot action). I just looked at her and said "well, yeah."
Posted by genevieve on July 23, 2010 at 3:10 PM · Report this
@25 I have lived paycheck to paycheck, no paycheck to no paycheck, and been way over my head in debt. But as bad as it was, you know who's fault it ultimately wasn't? The bank's.
Posted by stop blaming the man, hippies on July 23, 2010 at 3:10 PM · Report this
@28 the bank doesn't have to make a bad situation as worse as it could possibly be by setting up their fee structure to try as hard as they can to completely and utterly fuck the consumer. I have seen banks completely screw up.

It is a stupid anecdote but, BoA, some years ago, wouldn't accept a military payroll check and my partners mother had to figure out how to feed 4 children while her husband was out to sea. They also threatened to take the house. They randomly did this. Their family had been using BoA for years and had never had a problem with them accepting military payroll checks before this instance. They wouldn't admit their mistake and made a bad situation far worse.

So fuck you for calling people who don't agree with the practices of big banks hippies - because apparently military folks get fucked too.
Posted by tigntink on July 23, 2010 at 3:21 PM · Report this
@ 10

Similar experience with BECU: great for checking and regular banking, but woefully inadequate with processing loan applications. After 6 - 8 weeks and still not getting to the approval letter stage I went with another loan offer.
Posted by I am your Mother on July 23, 2010 at 3:25 PM · Report this
The bankers are evil. I know this and I use this fact when managing my money. When I buy something on my credit card, I always, ALWAYS pay it off before any interest is charged. I haven't paid a penny in CC interest in 5 years. I don't let my balance dip below $100. I don't use ATMs that charge a fee. I run Quicken on my Mac every Sunday to record charges and balance my check book.

Sorry, Lindy. The bank is right - you are irresponsible and they have every right to take advantage of you. You'll get no sympathy from me.
Posted by montex on July 23, 2010 at 3:26 PM · Report this
@29 Honestly, I would not classify your anecdote as stupid--that's a messed up situation--but I wouldn't say it's the same as what most people here are complaining about (overdraft fees, not watching their balances, floating payments). Nor am I here to defend banks.

Glad to see you're consistent with the "fuck you" sentiment, though. Sort of a militant hippie theme to your posts, and I appreciate that, even if the folks you probably speak to that way on a regular basis do not.

Posted by stop blaming the man, hippies on July 23, 2010 at 3:32 PM · Report this
Overdrafts fucking suck, especially when you're in college and paying out-of-state tuition and don't have a family that can provide some financial cushioning. When I was in my early 20s, I went to my local Wells Fargo Bank and spoke to a banker who listened to me explain how I had gotten the overdraft fees. She canceled them and I got my money back. She helped me out 2 more times regarding overdraft fees. Point of the story, I learned the hard way.
Posted by apres_moi on July 23, 2010 at 3:35 PM · Report this
stinkbug 34
A friend messed up their WAMU account and basically abandoned it (owing $400 or so).

Eventually they created a Chase account, one of those restricted/limited accounts for people in Chex, etc. They had the account for about six month or so without troubles (pretty much impossible to go negative with those types of accounts).

Then one day Chase automatically took out $100. Apparently Chase's system found a reference to the WAMU account (Chase took over WAMU) which still had that balance owed. No warning. No notification. They had to speak with people at the bank to find out what was going on. I'm sure legally Chase could take the money out, but it was still "rude" for Chase to just yank it out like that, especially since the person went ~6 months without Chase mentioning anything about the possibility.
Posted by stinkbug on July 23, 2010 at 3:37 PM · Report this
tim 35
BECU also sponsored this year's pride parade and took over sponsorship of ZooTunes after WaMu died.
Posted by tim on July 23, 2010 at 4:20 PM · Report this

I too am pretty OCD when it comes to keeping track of my bank accounts (and I agree with @3: I've been with U.S. Bank since they bought out Rainier Bank in the mid '90's, which had bought out Pacific Bank, where I had my original account, about five years or so before that - and for the most part they've actually been pretty decent for a major bank), but even I've been dinged a couple of times because of the way U.S. Bank records transactions, such as posting withdrawals before deposits, even if the deposit was made beforehand - sometimes days before, as other commenters have noted. Once, they actually tried to charge me an overdraft fee for transferring funds into my savings account after I'd just just made a deposit into my checking account, even though I still had a positive balance AND overdraft protection! And again, this is a bank for which I otherwise have generally high regard.

Frankly, the big banks depend on people not being scrupulous about tracking their accounts, and they will do everything within the bounds of the flaccid regulatory oversight under which they operate to separate customers from their cash, no matter how much attention they pay.

After all, you can't watch your account 24/7, but the bank's computers CAN, so they're always going to find little ways to finesse the transactions in their favor; in that sense they're not all that different from casinos...
Posted by COMTE on July 23, 2010 at 4:24 PM · Report this
Banna 37
Was I the asshole who called her a baby? I hope not; my point was merely that there are alternatives, lie those mentioned in the post above (credit unions), and not spending more than you have. Apparently only assholes track their spending, or think that it's a good idea for other people too.
Posted by Banna on July 23, 2010 at 4:33 PM · Report this
No, @37, it's just that even if you DO track your spending, some banks will STILL find ways to try to make you pay extra fees. So, attempting to occupy some sort of moral high-ground over people who are even a tad less scrupulous about it than yourself is what smacks of assholery.
Posted by COMTE on July 23, 2010 at 4:37 PM · Report this
@27: Nobody is blaming the banks for their own mistakes. They're blaming the banks for intentionally making it harder to avoid making mistakes in the first place.

If I overdraw my checking account trying to pay my electric bill because I didn't bother to keep track of my account, yeah, that's my fault. But if I overdraw my account because when I checked the bank's website, they gave me out-of-date information, I'm going to get upset about that. If I overdraw my account because I had made a deposit big enough to cover the bill a few days ago, but I didn't realize that the bank would intentionally process the payment faster than the deposit, I'm going to get upset about that.

I will also grant, however, that complaining about the bank being assholes won't make money magically appear in your bank account. But it can make the complainer feel better. It can let other people know to watch out for the assholery being complained about. And it can spark off a conversation about how to avoid such assholery in the first place.

Now, complaining about complaining? That really doesn't accomplish much of anything. Although complaining about complaining about complaining apparently gets you a Slog post.
Posted by Ben on July 23, 2010 at 4:40 PM · Report this
Will in Seattle 40
@35 ftw! Can't argue with that one.
Posted by Will in Seattle on July 23, 2010 at 4:41 PM · Report this
Will in Seattle 41
Ben's one of those guys who thinks everyone's a "fellow traveler" and we all don't need government because the unregulated market will take care of everything.

You know, the fucks who crash their car into yours and then leave.
Posted by Will in Seattle on July 23, 2010 at 4:42 PM · Report this
@39 - yes, if one makes a deposit and it isn't recognized right away, that's the bank's fault, and if overdraft fees are assessed because they fucked up, of course you (or anyone) should be upset. I would be. That makes sense. I wasn't arguing against that. But in the example I cited about my friend, SHE is the one who forgot the money that she already spent. It's not the bank's fault that she didn't write it down (and for the record, I think the problem there wasn't the bank but the parking company who didn't submit the payment information to the merchant services).

not sure why you've latched onto my post, since I essentially agree with you that banks are out to capitalize on those most vulnerable to overdraft, and they have a vested interest in keeping low income folks trapped in the cycle of accruing fees.
Posted by genevieve on July 23, 2010 at 4:52 PM · Report this
The time of the day that the deposit's made matters. If you deposit via ATM before 4 pm at Wells Fargo, it'll post for that day. If you go into the bank and deal with the teller before a certain cut-off time, then it'll post for that day. Anytime afterward for either situations, then it'll post the next business day.
Posted by apres_moi on July 23, 2010 at 5:02 PM · Report this
To continue, I personally believe the way the banks have their deposit schedule established hurts people who prefer to hand deposit their checks rather than using automatic deposits set-up through your employer. The banks know this and basically want to punish those who like the "old fashioned" system.
Posted by apres_moi on July 23, 2010 at 5:05 PM · Report this
Original Andrew 45
Hate to be Captain Obvious here, but has anyone thought to just decline overdraft protection?

Most banks used to add it automatically, but you can refuse this "convenience." It means that you might get into a shit-ton of trouble with a merchant, or might not be able to buy what you want, but no danger of bank overdraft fees (merchant fees/leg breaking may apply).
Posted by Original Andrew on July 23, 2010 at 5:06 PM · Report this
@45 - Does anyone remember when your savings account was tied to your checking account as a line of overdraft protection? I remember that was the case 13 years ago when I was 18 and the banks strongly advised you to set-up a savings account as a fallback for overdraft protection.
Posted by apres_moi on July 23, 2010 at 5:10 PM · Report this
@42: Sorry, I latched onto yours because I wanted to say that thing about complaining, I think. Or maybe about blaming the bank? But then I said a whole bunch of other shit first, and it became really not directed at what you said. I don't know, I guess I wanted to say some shit, and then I fucked up the Fourier transform of your comment and picked it to reply to? I don't know.

Also, @41: What?
Posted by Ben on July 23, 2010 at 5:15 PM · Report this
Will in Seattle 48
@47 let me restate in clear Engrish: Fock the Banks. Period.
Posted by Will in Seattle on July 23, 2010 at 5:37 PM · Report this
Banna 49
@38 it's not "moral high ground". FFS, if you complain about something and someone offers advice, it's not some moral bondage power trip.

You can join a credit union, or you can decline overdraft protection, or you can pay cash for stuff. That's not moral superiority, its a list of suggestions to avoid fees. Banks can "try to find" as many ways to screw you with fees as they want, but if you don't overdraft, they can't do jack about it. Banks are, and always will be greedy. You can bitch about it every time they get you, or take steps to make sure they can't get you. Only one of these things keeps the money in your pocket.
Posted by Banna on July 23, 2010 at 5:49 PM · Report this
McGee 50
Ben, don't worry about Will. He is a shit-for-brains with a low level of reading comprehension who somehow seems to think you are saying the opposite of what you are actually saying.

I had a problem with Key once. They took a Netflix monthly deduction and "set it aside" to make sure the transaction would process. Then I made another purchase. When all these transactions processed I was over-drawn. How could this be? I had more than enough money to cover both. It would seem when they "set the funds aside" they lowered my balance without processing the transaction then the second purchase processed. When the "set aside" transaction processed it used a ledger balance as if the two had processed. Effectively the Netflix transaction went through twice though technically their records showed it did not. They would not admit to it and I ended up fucked out of the fees. Generally I have been pretty happy with Key before that but that there is some bullshit.
Posted by McGee on July 23, 2010 at 6:11 PM · Report this
loe 51
I accidentally deposited a post-dated check for $100. It was all the money I had in my account. Not only did Seattle Metro refund the $25 returned check fee, they also reversed 2 overdraft fees. I love my credit union!!
Posted by loe on July 23, 2010 at 6:30 PM · Report this
icouldliveinhope 52
I just switched to becu! It is awesome! And they don't try to get out of the overdraft legislation with "chase overdraft protection," which they call me about monthly!
Posted by icouldliveinhope on July 23, 2010 at 6:56 PM · Report this
Yonson 53
the Twilight is offering free dinner for anyone who brings proof that they closed a chase account and opened an account with a credit union.
Posted by Yonson on July 23, 2010 at 8:34 PM · Report this
Curmudgeon 54
The big banks have developed sophisticated "fee harvesting" software to maximize the amount of fees and cash advance interest they can charge.…
Posted by Curmudgeon on July 23, 2010 at 9:27 PM · Report this
Exactly, @54. Even if you do everything perfectly correctly, that software is always on the lookout for even the slightest erring on your part; even when you don't know (because the bank doesn't tell you until after the fact) that what you're doing will trigger a fee.

Some people simply don't have the luxury of using CU's (which I also highly recommend whenever possible), simply because they either don't exist where they live, or if they do, they don't have anywhere near the number of branches, and it's really kind of a pain in the ass to have to drive 10 miles to the nearest one.

We're lucky that way here, so obviously, we have more choice in the matter. But, it should be kept in mind not everyone everywhere has the same degree of choice in the matter we do when it comes to banking.
Posted by COMTE on July 23, 2010 at 9:47 PM · Report this
vooodooo84 56
Much of this could simply be solved by amending the UCC article 4 and federal regs. to require the banks to process transactions either chronologically, or in the order that most benefits their clients, rather than the order that most benefits rent-seeking fees as is allowed currently.
Posted by vooodooo84 on July 23, 2010 at 10:02 PM · Report this
Nobody is blaming the banks for their own mistakes.
I am. Ever notice how every single time the bank makes a "mistake," it's in their favor? For example, they never pay you too much in interest, or charge you too little for an overdraft. No, somehow their "accidents" always seem to work out to their benefit.
Posted by Furcifer on July 23, 2010 at 10:08 PM · Report this
@57: No, I mean you're not blaming the banks for mistakes you made. You'll blame them for mistakes they make, naturally.

My point was that people aren't blaming the banks for mistakes that people make. They blame the banks for making those mistakes as hard to avoid as possible.
Posted by Ben on July 24, 2010 at 12:42 AM · Report this
Leslie N. 59
I bank with 5/3 in the Midwest; I don't know if you guys have 5/3 out there, but I didn't see a single one past Chicago when I traveled west. They're a major bank, but I've never had a change worthy issue with them. I know a lot of people who have though. I'm still contemplating a return to the local credit union because they were amazing when I had them (and they have free checks and a Visa card, not Mastercard). 5/3 has a $300 per day card limit on my account, which is my major irritant.
Posted by Leslie N. on July 24, 2010 at 8:32 AM · Report this
Hi all,

I work at a bank and I'm an avid Stranger reader. This thread makes me sad.

Retail banks make their money by lending out your deposits. They pay you a little of the interest they make and then keep the rest. This business model was quite stable until lending regulations got loosened and well, you know the rest. Retail banks, as opposed to investment banks you read so much about, are not doing so well. If you don't have any money to put in deposit, you're really just a burden. First there's the administrative cost of keeping track of every dollar or lack there of, second, because of the Patriot Act, banks literally have to check to make sure you're not a terrorist or a money launderer every single time they have an interaction with you. All this paperwork cost time and money.

Yes, since they are desperate, they really bring the pain every time you have an overdraft. The new financial regulations might cure what ails you in this department.

Lindy, sorry about your bad bank experience. Might I suggest that if you seriously have less than $500, just leave it in a box in your apartment, then you don't have to pay anyone anything. But you might want to get that crazy lock of yours fixed first. Or you can try a credit union as many have suggested or an internet bank, which pay better interest and have a minimum balance of $1 usually. I have an internet bank account and have received money for doing nothing.

To Ben, you need some anger management classes.
Posted by Fan of Dan on July 24, 2010 at 6:48 PM · Report this
Apparently you guys need better paying jobs, 99% of Sloggers must have les than $1k in their accounts. No wonder it's such low end advertising here.

I've never paid a penny in interest or an overdraft fee in 25 yrs. I do get 4 free flights a year though so as long as you fuckups can't keep a bank balance, I'll keep enjoying my free flights.
Posted by Asian1981 on July 25, 2010 at 7:01 AM · Report this
"I accidentally deposited a post-dated check for $100. It was all the money I had in my account. "

LMAO...... seriously SLoggers, get real jobs. Stop embarrassing your parents who lavished a white, middle class lifestyle and college education on you.
Posted by Asian1981 on July 25, 2010 at 7:05 AM · Report this
Why do I need anger management classes? Because I wrote some swears?

But that's how I manage my anger.
Posted by Ben on July 25, 2010 at 2:39 PM · Report this
@46 That's a good idea--really it is--although I remember those not-so-distant days (like six months ago) when I didn't have any more money in my savings account than my checking account. Both were hovering somewhere between 50 and -300.
Posted by mitchmitchmitch on July 25, 2010 at 10:23 PM · Report this
I get the consternation about banks doing everything in their power to screw people out of money, I really do. But the big banks do have some serious benefits. Chase has stood up for me on 3 occasions when creditors and utility companies accused me of not paying my bill or paying it late, through their guaranteed on time online payment program. As an individual consumer, BoA or Pepco wouldn't listen to me for a hoot. But, doing battle with Chase, well, things tend to get resolved. Also, when I was stuck in rural Vietnam with a company credit card that, unbeknownst to me, had a ridiculously low limit for the number of daily cash ATM withdrawals (and since you can only withdraw about USD 100 from an ATM in Vietnam at a time)...Chase was able to immediately increase the limits on my personal account so that I could pay my expenses. In short, big banks also have the power to make our lives a lot easier.

Solutions range from using a credit union for everyday banking and a big bank for travel and paying other evil empires, to using a credit card when you're not 100% sure a deposit has posted (then, of course, paying off the credit card immediately upon posting of the deposit), to declining overdraft allowances, to living below your means. Sure, you can never overdraft and still fall victim to an overzealous computer looking for some funds, so you'll probably end up making some calls about a bogus fee at some point in your life, but the other posters who say that banks can't take your money if you don't give it to them are correct. I know someone in credit counseling and the first thing the counseling company told them to do was to start balancing their checkbook, like, the old fashioned way, with a pen and paper and a ledger (the people in counseling started to say they had a spreadsheet app on their smartphone, until they saw the look of "you have $30,000 in credit card debt and own a $200 cell phone which requires an extra $30/mo. in usage fees?" LOL).

Also, Chase will stop calling you about accepting "convenience overdrafts" if you write them a letter asking them not to contact you about the service ever, ever, ever again or you'll take your business to some place that *doesn't* have such a clearly burning desire to charge you $35 for a mathematical error.
Posted by Ms. D on July 26, 2010 at 7:56 AM · Report this
I can't stand banks, I can't stand credit unions. Ultimately, they make their biggest profits from those that live on the margins. Unfortunately most of us are there. We need banks, we need credit unions. So many of funds are done electronically, it's getting more and more of a headache.

To those that say, well of course I should I have been aware from the day I signed up for this account. Bank of America used to be Fleet bank which bought many many banks and consolidated banks in the northeast. During that time, when you had a small bank and were satisfied and had some great deals. They would have been acquired and thrown into a hodge podge electronic mess, where they would start to literally make up new banking agreements monthly. So you go to another bank, which would get acquired by fleet, and the process starts new. This was back in ... 1998-2002? During the next 6 years, I was with a credit union, and I still like it ... I guess. But they really do make up new rules and fees as they go? We don't sign anything, we don't agree to anything. But short of pulling my money out and keeping it in a mattress under the fridge, I can't think of anything better to do? or find a better means to move my money (or lack thereof) around.

Seriously, every other month they come up with new and more awesome ways to nickel and dime your accounts. There is no money to be made anymore in investing. Hell, I can think of only 2 maybe 3 people I know of who have even gotten loans these days. I can't even remember the last time I knew someone who bought a car ... maybe my dad, 2-3 years ago, before he got laid off.

I just want to go back to the days when banks made their dime by contributing (more) positively to our world as opposed to nickel and diming us.
Posted by former tri-state on July 26, 2010 at 10:35 AM · Report this
Fenrox 67
I just left my favorite bank for stupid Chase, becasue I have to.

I used to bank with Park Avenue Bank in NYC (RIP) The CEO stole a bunch of TARP money and now the bank failed and was absorbed by Vally National Bank.

Park Avenue had no ATM FEES and they REIMBURSED you of any ATM fees an ATM would charge. They didnt have overdrafts, they would just lend you the money and when you brought your account back up, charge you the interest on the loan. They didn't have 24 hr support, they had 9-5, maybe 50 total people that could help, basically you get an employee who actually knows you and the best perk, THEY PROCESS DIRECT DEPOSIT 2 DAYS EARLY BECAUSE THEY KNOW THE CHECK IS "GOOD".

Valley by contrast has pay checking, ATM fees, fees when you use your card as a credit card, late deposits, NO WITHDRAWAL SLIPS (YOU HAVE TO WRITE A CHECK!?!)
Posted by Fenrox on July 26, 2010 at 3:03 PM · Report this
Geni 68
@66 - Credit unions are non-profit. Any profits they make go back to their members in the form of interest on savings and checking accounts, etc.
Posted by Geni on July 26, 2010 at 4:00 PM · Report this

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