Susan Luzzaro 2:23 p.m., May 20
Banks are GREEDY. That is now a proven fact and many of the people with accounts lost a lot of money in the last financial crisis. And, the U.S. taxpayers then poured money into the banking system to allegedly keep the banks from failing. Some failed anyway, including brokerage firms, mortgage companies, Fannie Mae & Freddy Mac. But those that survived did nothing to change. It is 'business as usual' according to several economists. No oversight proved to be a disastrous decision. These GREEDY people then manage to spread the 'wealth' (bail-out money) and they handed out bonuses. It was the flaunting & devil may care attitude that showed their true nature.
Money Money Money Money Money
American Corporate GREED and legislative ineptness were the root causes. There was an economist on TV a few weeks ago. He said things would not improve until someone started doing their job. His meaning was that Congress needs to do their job and write meaningful regulation language into a bill with actual teeth. All the CEOs and upper management at the current institutions that received bail-out money should be looking for another line of work. He suggested (only half jokingly) that the public should take all their money out of banks & invest in Spam (Hormel). It is long lasting, immune to nuclear blasts, does not require any refrigeration!!!!
So, the lesson is watch out & be careful. The banks are still in a GREED position & will likely remain so until regulations are enforced and the huge 'banks too large to fail' are broken up, the consumer is, as usual, the loser. There is some confusion in talking about the BIG banks. Congress said many banks are just too big. So, once they had the bail-out, the biggest banks bought up the smaller ones (Chase bought WaMu). Goldman Sachs is the "gold" standard. OOPS, WAS. Now, they represent GREED. If you have seen Michael Moore's take on all this, he tries to put police tape around the Goldman Sachs building in NYC and when he tried to get into the building, there were plenty of guards to let him know he was not welcome. So, he left to go get a Brinks truck and some money bags. Again, the guards kept him out, but he was holding the money bags and shouting that they could just toss money out the windows!! That was unsuccessful. Goldman Sachs, Citicorp, etc. are the culprits, yet their upper management people are still working, still making money, still receiving bonuses. Their arrogance is amazing. It is like they are on a different planet.
As for how this mess affected smaller banks, smaller cities, etc. One of the first things banks did was change many of their accounts to include a monthly fee. They increased some, if not all of the fees. For instance, UBOC charges $25 for a Stop Payment; $22 for 1-2 items NSF whether paid or returned; $30 for 3-5 items; $34 for 6+; $6/day for every day your account is in overdraft, even if there is no activity on the account. These charges are computed as within the last 12 months. So, this is a rolling fee scale. What if you have NSF in December, 2009 ($22), then another in January, 2010 ($22). Then all is well until January, 2011, & the fee is $30. It is a racket. It seems that banks charge for everything. Use your debit card at another bank's ATM, you get charged $3 to $4 by that machine and then your own bank charges $2. Here is a good one. Someone wants to send you $100 via wire transfer. The initiating bank will charge $20 for that service. THEN, the receiving bank charges the customer $13. As previously stated, it is a racket. Most credit cards have programs for hardship, where you pay a flat monthly amount, less than the minimum, then after a certain period (probably based on how much you owe) you go back to the minimum. The card is not available for use! Since credit cards are issued by banks, why don't banks offer a hardship plan?
When I heard about the Credit Card legislation, I somehow hoped that the fees would be limited, but no. It is mostly about when bills are due, late fees, adjusting your card limit, etc.
Consider moving your money to a credit union, especially if you spend most of your time close to home. If you travel, you may want a bank with branches around the world!!! Although the credit unions have come a long way, baby!!!!!!
On another topic, I finally got a glimpse of affordable housing. Ten Fifty B is open and people are moving in. I asked some of the residents how they found out about it and got lots of differing answers. The main thing is to keep checking the SDHA (Housing Authority) and make sure your information is up to date. I did fill out the application, but I was told not to expect a call for about a year. The building is nice and non residents are not able to access the bldg or garage. The elevator requires a fob. If you want to go to the management office, the elevator will work to get you to that floor. Actual security. What a concept.