Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Banking's Brave New World

Image from freefoto.com
I just received this email from my husband. It's about our bank, Citizen's Bank.

"They sent notices that they are going to start charging $30 annual fee for an overdraft line of credit and an additional $5 fee for each use of the overdraft line. Then, they closed my personal checking account without telling me because it had a $0 balance. Do you have a preference for a new bank?"

Now, I've left out the expletives. He is so @#!!*#! mad right now. The banks just can't seem to squeeze us enough can they? My husband took over our bills about a year ago. He decided to do online banking which I'd always refused to do because I didn't trust doing anything monetary online. He made me get a debit card, etc. The upshot of all this was, even though the bank advises you to set the timing of the bill pay 7 days prior to due date, they STILL miss the deadlines from time to time,
incurring late fees which we then have to call the bank and ask them to pay, etc. etc. They now assess $29 or more for ISF. They sock it to you for every damn item they pushed on you in the first place, such as credit card annual fees. Even Wells Fargo Bank, whom I once considered to be one of the best banks in the West (before they went national) charges a higher interest rate on their credit card and wants an annual fee. They got rid of their reward points plans or made them so crappy it isn't worth the effort. I used to love the free RT airline ticket with every 25,000 pts accrued. Banks now charge a 3% fee for a balance transfer. Used to be zero, 3% or a maximum of $75, whichever was higher. I mean, they're getting our money and charging us interest. I played that transfer game pretty well; going from zero transfer fee to zero transfer fee. It took them longer than I ever imagined to demolish that.

Now, if I had crap credit, I wouldn't complain. But my husband and I have credit ratings in the high 700s and have even been in the low 800s. Doesn't matter. Nothing matters to these greedy SOBs who used our savings to invest in high risk mortgages, junk bonds, etc., continued to award bonus money for bad investments and golden parachutes to CEOs who could manage a pay toilet until the feds wised up and put a stop to it, albeit too late to attach strings to the original TARP money.

So, I'm going to find a new bank, probably our credit union. I'm going where the fees are non-existent and the service is what I vaguely recall from the old days. When I find one, I'll let you know.

9 comments:

Lover of Life/ Nancy said...

Good luck with that.

California Girl said...

Nancy: I've wondered what your name is. :)

Baino said...

Oh Cali . .same here.If I use an ATM that isn't supported by my bank I pay $2.00 for the transaction. If a cheque is drawn on THE VERY DAY they know my pay is going in and I don't have the funds they charge $39 . .I pay a fee for my credit card, a fee for my debit card and bugger me if I don't pay a fee to talk to someone at the counter . .credit unions are the way to go . .I'm just 'steeling' myself for the transition. All that rearranging direct debits et all. . .I need a lie down and a glass of chardy!

Brian Miller said...

Ach. hard for me to believe i worked for one for years. it's a racket, especially the big boys. oh what i would give for a good local bank, but them i guess i would hit the ATM fees Baino is talking about. we have those as well...

Susan said...

Oh, I am with you, sister! Our kids have had so much trouble with bank fees that they have stopped having checking accounts entirely. Our one son and daughter-in-law racked up $900 in overdraft fees before they told me about it. We had to help them pay it, but when they got in over their heads again, they had to just close it down. Then, of course, they send it do debt collection. Our daughter has had the same problems.

Credit unions are a lot more honest, IMO, and as soon as hubby retires next year, we're going to switch our account to his CU. Right now it's just a huge hassle because of all the automatic withdrawals we have.

subtorp77 said...

It's even worse when you put a "stop payment" on a check, that they later send out "somehow". As I like to deal in person, I found myself leaving under the watchful eye of security, after a failed attempt ( and a few choice words )to rectify the problem ( which they instigated ). And the on-line thing, I'm done with. You get hacked-robbed once....no more credit or debit cards for me...

Pardon my ranting but I can really relate to this...

Mrsupole said...

We have B of A and have not noticed any of the problems you seem to list. One daughter has it too and no problems. Other daughter has a credit union and loves it. So I say try either one and check them out to see what you do or do not get.

God bless.

California Girl said...

Hi Baino, the fees are ludicrous. The financial institution create "services" and then charge for them. Banks and insurance cos should never have been allowed to compete in the financial arena. Deregulation is a joke when the institutions are asked to regulate themselves.

Brian: you must know quite a bit about the inner workings. I used to think of my local bank as "friendly". I remember when we could get free checking for life by joining a new branch of an existing bank. Those days are long gone.

Susan: I just stopped by my bank to find out when the new fees go into effect. They said August 1 so we will begin scrambling to find something better.

Subby: rant all you want. that's why I wrote this. a continuing rant! As for the bank "mistaken" paying on a stopped check or being hacked into, I agree. I would never have set up on line banking in the first place. My husband figured he'd save himself time writing checks and postage and all the BS but he still has to assign payment 7 work days in advance and, oh you know the drill...

Mrsupole: Once upon a time, I too believed in BofA. That was before they swallowed Sovereign Bank in charlotte, NC and were forced to buy Merrill Lynch and so forth. BofA was an incredible institution for many years. Anybody remember their symphony conductor character and the music he played?

books,coffee,etc.... said...

Hi! California Girl,
What a very descriptive story to accompany your very beautiful photographs of the beach, lake and your children.
Thanks, for sharing!
Take care!
DeeDee ;-D
p.s. I'am running a little late!
because I'am little under the weather!