By Jenn Weinshenker
I was watching a program about the banking industry and all of the fees and courtesy charges they apply when people make a mistake in their account and overdraw. About their computer programs that determine which checks to pay, not based on when things were received but by how much the check was. Paying the larger sums first and instead of returning a check, forcing you to take out loans that arent really loans, which would be subject to the Truth in Lending laws but are called Courtesy Fees.
I know lots of people who have tried to get their banks to stop this but the banks wont. So a two dollar overdraft, by the time a person finds out about it, which could take more than ten days, and by the time all of those courtesy fees add up, could wind up costing you over a hundred dollars. And if you get paid every other week, like many do, by the time you get paid again to take care of this small oversight you could owe the bank more than you earn.
The bank reps chant Free Market Enterprise, but there are a few other things they might try to keep in mind. The punishment should fit the crime. People who have the resources, authority and power are not supposed to stack the deck. I get that they need to earn money. But how much is fair? Im pretty sure slavery was abolished. But ask anyone who has gotten stuck in this quagmire what they felt like when they tried to reason with a banker to get them to stop this practice and they will tell you it felt exactly like being chained to system that was profiting from their labor and leaving them with nothing.
I say to the folks in DC, if anyone is listening to this poor mouse, wise up. You cant have free market anything if people are left so strapped that they cant afford to spend the money they worked so hard to earn. Between overdraft fees and outrageous parking tickets its a wonder anyone can buy a cup of coffee!
Enough debate, the only people who have been tying all of us into a state of financial depression, on so many levels, are those who have used our tax resources to fund this miserable war, those who hiked up the gas prices that people had to take their possessions to the pawn shop so they could afford to work, the insurance companies who took another huge slice and the government which took nearly all the rest. So I have an idea, these industries are feeding off the backs of those who are still working and it really needs to stop. Those who think they are clever and smart are running down our country, but they’re really only profiteers.
Maybe Atlas can hold up the whole world but Ill tell ya, the average Joe and Josephine cant.
Contact the author at JWeinshenker@ltsaloon.org
2010 Jenn Weinshenker. All Rights Reserved.
Great to have you back, Jenn. I wonder if moving our money (such as it is) to a smaller local bank or credit union will make a difference in these exorbitant fees, besides denying our business to the big banks?
Banks have gone from banking into being loan sharks. This isn’t “free enterprise,” unless your definition of such is “theft and scams.”
Anyone else notice when the free marketeers took full control of the reins of gov that the flurry of scam artists of all types exploded: especially the “we’ll help you pay off/negotiate your debts” type?
At our local community bank which is in many ways a good bank they have instituted a new policy. When you use their Bill Pay service, they do not deduct the amount of the payment from your account when you set the payment to go out as they used to, nor do they deduct it when the receiver cashes the check. They use a computer generator to determine a “probable date” that the check will clear. So let’s say my pension check goes in the 1st of the month, so I set up my payments to go out the 5th of the month. On the 8th I check my account at an ATM (even their ATM) to see if I have enough to buy groceries and the balance says I do. But that balance is wrong because they have not deducted all of my payments.
When the choice to use Bill Pay was made they deducted the money right away because in effect you were making a payment to the bank that went into their account. Then they wrote a check to the electric, phone or whatever company. But lo and behold people weren’t bouncing enough checks then and the bank was losing money.
Hence the use of creative new computer programs.