Changing Business Model

Wonder what the fallout here will be:

Bank of America, the nation’s biggest bank, said on Thursday that it planned to start charging customers a $5 monthly fee when they used their debit cards for purchases. It was just one of several new charges expected to hit consumers as new regulations crimp banks’ profits.

Wells Fargo and Chase are testing $3 monthly debit card fees. Regions Financial, based in Birmingham, Ala., plans to start charging a $4 fee next month, while SunTrust, another regional powerhouse, is charging a $5 fee.

The round of new charges stems from a rule, which takes effect on Saturday, that limits the fees that banks can levy on merchants every time a consumer uses a debit card to make a purchase. The rule, known as the Durbin amendment, after its sponsor Senator Richard J. Durbin, is a crucial part of the Dodd-Frank financial overhaul law.

Until now, the fees have been 44 cents a transaction, on average. The Federal Reserve in June agreed to cut the fees to a maximum of about 24 cents. While the fee amounts to pennies per swipe, it rapidly adds up across millions of transactions. The new limit is expected to cost the banks about $6.6 billion in revenue a year, beginning in 2012, according to Javelin Strategy and Research. That comes on top of another loss, of $5.6 billion, from new rules restricting overdraft fees, which went into effect in July 2010.

And even though retailer groups had argued that lower fees were important to keep prices in check, consumers were not likely to see substantial savings. In fact, they are simply going to end up paying from a different pot of money.

My gut instinct is to think that the first thing this will do is drive down unplanned consumption by smart consumers. Certainly, there will be a large group of people who won’t care, and will just use their debit card anyway, but I’m betting a bunch of savvy people will start using cash for purchases more frequently. The question then is how will the banks figure out how to screw them? Will they get rid of free atm withdrawals for customers? Start charging a fee every time you visit a teller?

Because one thing we know is true- they will find a way to screw you. There are too many bonuses and too much executive pay at stake for them to simply re-adjust their business model to live with slightly less profit.

261 replies
  1. 1
    cathyx says:

    Why would anyone continue to bank there. I don’t get it.

  2. 2
    dan says:

    Credit unions and neighborhood banks!!!!

  3. 3
    Meg says:

    Yves Smith thinks that this move will make us more like Australia, where bank fees can total as high as $25/mo.

    So glad I moved to a local credit union after Wachovia nuked itself. And they still have dum-dums in the lobby for the kids, which is a banking tradition.

  4. 4
    Zifnab says:

    Plenty of banks offer credit cards alongside debt cards. Credit cards charge their fees to the merchant rather than the customer, and only a few merchants (my local liquor store Specs) bother to pass that cost explicitly on to the customer.

    I suspect this is just the banks’ way of getting people back on to credit cards and away from check cards.

  5. 5
    eemom says:

    aw c’mon Cole — post something about al-Awlaki.

  6. 6
    BC in Illinois says:

    But you didn’t note the Wall Street Journal headline on this topic: “The nation’s beleaguered banking industry, which has been raising fees and doing away with free services, has a new target.”

    Beleagured: harrassed, beset, surrounded, beseiged

    The rest of the article isn’t worth reading, either.

  7. 7
    Windy City says:

    Unfortunately, Americans will probably blame Obama and Durbin and too many regulations and liberal overreach and blah blah blah. Republicans can and will run on this. And their message is simple: “See what happens when you balance the scales back toward working folk and away from the job creators? Vote for us and we promise to never help you. Our track record speaks for itself.” It’s all just too sad to think about.

  8. 8
    Rosalita says:

    maybe we should all start writing checks again – if we even can – and let them process all that paper. absolutely ridiculous how we have to pay to use our damn money. I hope the population goes ballistic. but as you say, there are plenty of dopes will continue to use their debit cards.

  9. 9
    G says:

    closed a wells fargo account this month, because they were thinking of adding this fee, and moving everything to a no-fee USAA account.

    If I wanted to keep it, I’d have started writing checks instead of using the card, because the check writing was free…

    And I hope that all the people who for whatever reason are stuck with BofA do just that, write checks.
    But the deal isn’t “per swipe” it’s five bucks a month to be able to swipe, and the stated reason for the fee is to make up for the lowered merchant fee they have to charge now.

  10. 10
    Shinobi says:

    Current BOA customer. I will be switching to either PNC or Charles Schwab in the next month or so.

  11. 11

    Emily Litella Rule

    That, and reverse osmosis

  12. 12
    singfoom says:

    BOA is going to die as a company. With a shareholder lawsuit for 50 billion and shit like this, they’re eventually going out of business.

    The bad deals they made in 07/08 are finally coming home to roost and when those deals are actually unwound, BOA won’t have the money to cover the losses. I hope Too Big To Fail isn’t invoked then, because shitty companies that charge their customers money to use their own money deserve to go the way of the dodo.

    I’m a huge fan of USAA, but there’s also credit unions that are much much friendlier to their customers.

    The big banks just have this assumed margin of profit and since they can’t make horrible over leveraged deals, they’ll try to suck it out of their customers. Really shameful behavior…

  13. 13
    David in NY says:

    Believe article says many big banks planning this, but not Citibank. I intend to use checks whenever possible, like in the old days. My guess is that that will cost the banks many times what a debit transaction would.

  14. 14
    Rosalita says:

    @Zifnab:

    I suspect this is just the banks’ way of getting people back on to credit cards and away from check cards

    this. and pay high interest rates.

  15. 15

    I’ve been with Bank of America for 15 years, and I mostly stayed with them because it was convenient. But this is the last straw. My local bank doesn’t charge for debit card fees and I will be moving my accounts over there.

  16. 16
    dan says:

    With interest rates near zero, you lose money when you keep it in a bank.

    I’ll tell my 10 year old to keep it in a shoe box.

  17. 17
    Culture of Truth says:

    If they started charging their customers per transaction, people would cut back. But a monthly fee is better – use it once, and bam! Wouldn’t be surprised if the fee shows up ‘by mistake’ even you didn’t use the card for purchases that month. Whoops! Our bad!

  18. 18
    cleek says:

    i never make debit card purchases, so SunTrust won’t be getting any of those fees from me.

  19. 19
    Bob says:

    Cole, banks are on the skids, soon we’ll be back at the temple dealing with money changers if banks can’t turn an excessive profit.

    http://www.thestreet.com/story.....-fdic.html

    Assholes.

  20. 20
    Mark S. says:

    We’re talking $3-5 a month, right? I know I’m not going to start carrying hundreds of dollars of cash on me just to save that much money a month.

    @Meg:

    I would have a problem with $25/month.

  21. 21
    Cacti says:

    Yet another reason I’ll never regret getting rid of my Wells Fargo account.

    Happy credit union customer here.

  22. 22
    cathyx says:

    Checks cost you money too. If you are idiotic enough to stay at a bank that charges you to use their cards, then go to the bank, see a teller, and get cash. Unless there’s a teller fee, which wouldn’t surprise me if there was.

  23. 23
    Shinobi says:

    Can I also just say how ridiculous it is for banks to be passing these fees on to their customers and risking their customer base?

    Sometimes you need to take a hit and make up the profits elsewhere for the good of your business as a whole. It isn’t even a matter of making up “costs” here. It doesn’t cost .45 to make a debit transaction. The smart banks will be the ones that eat the cost and keep their customers. Sure they may not be making as much profit right now, but they also wont alienate customers, and might actually survive in the long run.

    Oh wait, I forgot, no one cares what happens next year as long as they have all of the money right now.

  24. 24
    elmo says:

    Another BofA customer (going on ten years now) who will switch because of this. I have to say my experience with BofA has been mainly positive, especially after some yahoos in Memphis bought a bunch of stuff online using my bank account. They credited the money back within 24 hours of my notification, and didn’t require a lot of red tape. They’ve been damned convenient, too. But I called Navy Federal Credit Union yesterday, and everything that can be switched will be.

  25. 25
    Ugh says:

    @cleek:

    Me too. It’s either cash or credit, and the credit is paid off monthly.

  26. 26
    Alex S. says:

    Ah yes, the Ponzi scheme nature of capitalism.

  27. 27
    Belafon (formerly anonevent) says:

    1. Banks should not be allowed to be traded on the stock exchanges. More profit than last year should not be the motto of something that is borrowing my money to do their job.

    2. I will be looking at the bazillion banks here in the DFW area for one that doesn’t charge a fee.

  28. 28
    Grumpy Code Monkey says:

    Credit union++. Been with mine over 20 years now. They do charge some bullshit ATM fees, but nothing like what big banks do.

    What amazes me is how some “fiscally conservative” acquaintances will rail on and on about taxes being straight up theft, but endless bullshit bank fees are okie-dokie.

  29. 29
    PurpleGirl says:

    @David in NY: You should be receiving a letter shortly from Citibank with their plans… basically to require a balance kept in the checking account to maintain debit/checking without fees (other than current ATM usage fees for non-Citibank ATMs). (Balance will be something like $6,000.) I got the letter yesterday.

    I know lots of people talk about credit unions but sometimes there is isn’t one you can join. The one from my alma mater pays less interest than Citibank (as I remember the FAQs) and they limit the number of withdrawals you can make each month and the number of checks you can write. And they have only one physical location. It’s not bad if you work near the school but otherwise… not so good.

    It all depends on what your options are.

  30. 30
    ChrisB says:

    Why aren’t we blaming the New York Times the way we usually do? If they hadn’t put this article on the front page, nobody would know.

  31. 31

    I’ll likely stay with BoA after 12 years with them. They can be a pain in the ass sometimes, but other times they have gone out of their way to straighten out problems, and already provide free checking with direct deposit.

    As i understand it, the fee will include some perks like overdraft protection, but I will likely cease and desist using my debit card, and since most web merchants now have Paypal, I will use them for on line purchases.

    Banks, can’t live with em and can’t live without em.

  32. 32
    Zagloba says:

    @Shinobi: Current BOA customer. I will be switching to either PNC or Charles Schwab in the next month or so.

    Just curious: what do you need a bank that big for for your personal banking? As numerous people in this thread have remarked, credit unions and local banks are much better about not nickel-and-diming your ass to Nigeria and back.

  33. 33
    Spiffy McBang says:

    Hm.

    I have a Mastercard debit card. A lot of places I go, if I use the card they ask if I want to do debit or credit. I choose debit, and it draws the money from my account. Some places, like Fry’s, only let you use credit. So I do that… and it draws the money from my account.

    Is there anything to indicate that you would still be hit with the fee if you only ever choose “credit” when using your card? Obviously people with debit-only cards don’t have that option, but it would be a handy workaround for those with dual-use cards.

  34. 34
    Mary Jane says:

    @elmo: #23 That recently happened to me also and I think all banks and credit unions would have reacted the same as BofA. My credit union did anyway. They not only called me to advise me, but immediately caught the unauthorized charges and reversed them while letting mine go through.

  35. 35
    Zagloba says:

    @Belafon (formerly anonevent): 1. Banks should not be allowed to be traded on the stock exchanges. More profit than last year should not be the motto of something that is borrowing my money to do their job.

    Erm… you do realize that the entire premise of the stock market is what you just said? Stock is precisely borrowing the shareholder’s money to do their job.

  36. 36
    Kristine says:

    Over at the Atlantic, an associate editor is pretty much saying that sharks gotta swim and it’s Durbin’s fault if debit cards go away. The sense of entitlement is bitch-slappingly galling.

    I’ve been a happy credit union customer for over 20 years. My CU has a deal with other local CUs–we can use one another’s ATM’s free of charge. When some fraudulent charges showed up on my debit account, they contacted me before I realized what had happened (I was on vacation at the time). Top notch service. Very happy.

  37. 37
    Commenting at Ballon Juice since 1937 says:

    44 cents a transaction

    is not

    pennies per swipe

    Everyone is paying inflated prices because the merchant is paying these fees.

  38. 38
  39. 39
    David in NY says:

    @PurpleGirl: Interesting. I actually bank at Chase, for convenience. In NYC, they have ATM’s everywhere. I think even now, to avoid various fees, I have to keep a balance with them, but some retirement money (0% interest basically, but that’s better than -5% or -10%) there fulfills that purpose. On the other hand, there seem to be somewhat smaller banks that may have better fee structures that I am looking into.

  40. 40
    catclub says:

    I keep posting this and nobody appears to notice.
    Kasasa checking at some credit unions is paying 3- 3.5% interest on checking accounts up to $25k ( only 0.75% interest above that) for accounts that qualify.

    Money market funds are presently paying 0.01%
    The difference on $25k for a year? $750

  41. 41
    Gin & Tonic says:

    Another happy customer of a local credit union checking in. They have one of their grand total of two branch offices in my town, they know who I am, they smile and make small talk, and they all live in or near my town as well. No fees for anything, and a debit/ATM card that I’ve used all over the world with never a problem (nor any extra fees.)

    They’ve been in business for decades and they are profitable, so they’re doing something right.

  42. 42
    MattF says:

    The Big Banks have 1) swallowed up local and regional banks, 2) decreased customer service, 3) decreased customer credit, 4) set and then increased fees. This all works just fine if the customer doesn’t switch to a credit union or a customer-oriented local bank, and in the past this has held true. But I suspect that there’s a tipping point where a lot of people will say to themselves “I can do better than this.”

    What I’d really like to see is the smaller players getting out in front, actively greasing the skids and encouraging customers to make the jump. Hasn’t really happened yet, though.

  43. 43
    Fargus says:

    @Mark S.: Let’s say we’re talking $5 per month. Doesn’t seem like that much, right? But if you have a savings account at 1% APR (high for right now), that $5 wipes out the interest per month from $6,000 worth of savings. Obviously, if you’ve got $6,000 just lying around, you should probably put it somewhere with a higher return than just savings, but the point is that the banks are providing people with shit returns, and then instituting fees that more than cancel out even those shit returns.

  44. 44
    Dave says:

    Oh no! What will we ever do if unplanned consumption decreases?? Think of the economy here, people!

  45. 45

    On second thought, maybe I will check out some of our local community banks or credit unions. And see what they offer.

  46. 46
    Belafon (formerly anonevent) says:

    @Zagloba: Yes, that is what the stock market is for. Banks, on the other hand, should not be under pressure to keep increasing their profit. That’s not why I loaned them my money.

    But I guess since I stayed with them for so long, they might have gotten that impression.

  47. 47
    joes527 says:

    This is going to be bad for me.

    I use the credit card for everything except when I need cash back. I get cash back at the supermarket because the transaction fee at the ATM is insane.

    Old system ~ 2 Debit transactions / month @ $.44 = $.88
    New system ~ 2 Debit transactions / month @ $.24 + $5 = $5.48

    I may have to end up being the old lady in the checkout line who slows everything down by writing a physical check. (and then stands there and records the check in the register because those newfangled self-copying checks are too confusing)

  48. 48
    Karen in GA says:

    @Zagloba: I can’t speak for Shinobi, but I have a Schwab checking account. They don’t have any ATMs as far as I know, so they reimburse you for other banks’ ATM fees, and they don’t charge a currency conversion fee when you travel out of the country. I use it for my travel/play money.

    To appease my inner Luddite, though, I also want a bank with a physical branch nearby. It used to be Wells Fargo, until a couple of weeks ago. I ditched them for a credit union.

  49. 49
    Jon O. says:

    I use my debit card as often as possible. It’s the modern age, and I consider it ridiculous that I have to carry cash around with me at all times. (I still do, simply because I don’t think I’ve ever successfully remembered to close out a tab anywhere, but debit is generally much easier.) I need to move to a credit union.

  50. 50
    Cacti says:

    @joes527:

    You beat me to the punch. The banks aren’t doing this to make up for lost profits, they’re doing it to make additional profits.

    20 debit transactions per month under old rules = $8.80

    20 debit transactions under new rules + $5 monthly fee = $9.80

    It’s a straight up screw job.

  51. 51
    Nevgu says:

    “My gut instinct”. LOL! That’s rich.

    The same ‘gut instinct’ that told you to vote for G Dubya the texas dummy twice. That told you libertarians have some good ideas. That told you Greenwald is worth reading. That told you the Libyan intervention was a bad idea.

    Heck of a track record on that ‘gut instinct’ Wrong Way Cup Half Empty Cole.

  52. 52
    jsfox says:

    Moving to the Credit Union that holds our mortgage. No ATM fees even for ATMS out of the system nor fees for debit card purchase transactions.

  53. 53
    daveNYC says:

    @Zagloba: Bonds are borrowing money, stocks are purchasing ownership in the company.

    And banks need to just nut up and accept that they’re a mature industry that is going to grow not much faster than some amount related to GDP and population growth. That’s it. Of course if they do that, then the’ll also have to accept the coke and hookers bonus numbers go away.

  54. 54
    gttim says:

    I pay $12 a month for checking, which I do not mind. To add another $5 to use my debit card? I have been with I have had the same checking account for over 25 years- which ended up being BOA a long, long time ago. I will change, however.

    No local branches? Who cares. I went into a branch a few months ago to get a money order to pay a ticket. They had the ATM pads on the counter. I asked when they put those in. They told me years ago. Wow, I had not been in a physical bank in like 5 years. I guess it is not that important to me.

  55. 55
    Judas Escargot says:

    Speaking of which… I can’t seem to log on to the BofA site this morning. An hour ago the message was “online banking is slower than usual this morning” and a 404 message when you clicked through. Now it’s “Home page not available.”

    Bad planning, coincidence… or some mischievous denial-of-service attack in protest?

  56. 56
    aimai says:

    @Rosalita:

    This information is long out of date but I ran a restaurant for a terrible local businesswoman for a couple of weeks. That poor woman was being charged an ungodly fee to deposit checks from her customers into her own account–something like 50 cents a check on tiny checks (six dollars) for a dinner. It was a tiny, take out, middleastern restaurant and she was the world’s worst businesswoman but I had no idea that the banks were charging fees to deposit money into your account. That was fifteen years ago.

    aimai

  57. 57
    Jennifer says:

    @joes527: I still AM the old lady who slows down the line by writing a check.

    I never have gotten a debit card and never will, for the same reason I don’t have an ATM card – I forget to write things down, then I end up paying for overdrafts.

    In fact, I’m pretty sure that was one of the main reasons banks had for enticing customers over to the “convenience” of the debit card. It is vastly more convenient for the bank, whose processing costs went way, way down while their fees went way, way up. And every customer with overdraft “protection” who overdrafts his account using the debit card can then also be charged an overdraft fee. Ever wonder why “overdraft protection” showed up around the same time debit cards did? There’s your answer.

    Checks aren’t free, but if you order them online, they’re pretty cheap. And I have to admit – the other reason I’ve stuck with checks is because I know it costs the bank more to handle them, and they can’t offload the cost on merchants.

  58. 58
    cmorenc says:

    Here’s yet ANOTHER way many banks are screwing folks. My own banking accounts are with Wachovia/Wells Fargo, but many of the various schools I referee varsity soccer games for will pay me by check drawn on their own, different bank, e.g. BB&T. So one day I had a check with me for $55 I’d been paid from a local public high school written from their BB&T account, happened to be near a BB&T branch location, and decided to cash it. When I took it to the counter, the teller informed me that since I myself didn’t have an account with BB&T, they would charge me a fee of $6 to cash the check, even though the check was written on a BB&T account by an obviously soundly solvent account-holder of theirs!!! In other words, they refused to honor their own bank’s check unless they charged me a fee amounting to 11% of the value of the $55 check !!!!!

    Fortunately, Wachovia/Wells Fargo has not gotten around to (yet) trying to charge me a fee for cashing a different bank’s check, but it might be just a matter of time before they get the chutzpah to start tacking their own hefty fee to their own account customers for cashing other bank’s checks.

  59. 59

    @Judas Escargot:

    Yea, I had that problem too, but kept at it, and got rerouted through something like a cache copy to access my account. Weird timing, for sure.

  60. 60
    gene108 says:

    I can’t blame banks. If you lose a revenue stream, you have to find ways to make up for it.

    I don’t think Congress should’ve gotten into the middle of a pissing contest between retailers and banks on transaction fees.

    What will be interesting is what will retailers do with the extra profits?

    I’m guessing pay more dividends to shareholders and/or bigger bonuses to executives.

  61. 61
    LTL-FTC says:

    Two words: credit union.

  62. 62
    Cacti says:

    @cmorenc:

    When I took it to the counter, the teller informed me that since I myself didn’t have an account with BB&T, they would charge me a fee of $6 to cash the check, even though the check was written on a BB&T account by an obviously soundly solvent account-holder of theirs In other words, they refused to honor their own bank’s check unless they charged me a fee

    BofA does the same thing. My wife was given the mafia-style “option” of paying $6 to have her BofA-drawn payroll check cashed, or opening a new checking account with direct deposit.

  63. 63
    KXB says:

    The odd thing is, debit-card users tend to be more careful in their purchase making decisions than when using a credit-card. So, the reward for being careful with your money is to pay $5 a month. Given that they are firing thousands of lower-level employees, it suggests that their plans are based on an “executive bonus preservation” system.

  64. 64
    Jay in Oregon says:

    @Rosalita:

    I’ve seen a growing number of businesses that will not accept personal checks.

    At first, my theory was that more bad checks were being passed (either intentionally or unintentionally), but it never occurred to me that their bank might be charging them more to deposit checks.

  65. 65
    Cacti says:

    @gene108:

    I can’t blame banks.

    I can and do.

  66. 66
    gene108 says:

    @Cacti:

    As if retailers are some sort of saintly industry that goes out of its way to promote the public good.

    So whose pockets would you rather line: Sam Walton’s spawn or some bank executive?

    That’s the choice in this. Congress sided with Walton’s spawn.

    EDIT: Should read: The 111th Congress and President Obama sided with Walton’s spawn.

  67. 67
    Emma says:

    @General Stuck: Same here. My available credit union is not in my experience, customer friendly. I will, however, redo all my online payments because I use the debit card as a convenient way of not using checks for household bills.

  68. 68

    @dan: Bingo. Check out of the big banks.

  69. 69
    Jennifer says:

    @Jay in Oregon: I haven’t really encountered any businesses that won’t accept checks, but if they won’t, my solution would be to shop elsewhere.

    I don’t know who the banks are that are charging fees on depositing checks. I have a business and my bank doesn’t charge me to deposit customer checks.

  70. 70
    fortygeek says:

    BofA knows what they’re doing. Many will bolt to the local credit union, but there will be enough rubes sticking around to make the $5/month charge profitable.

    USAA has prior military requirements for their insurance, but their banking services are open to ANYONE. They reimburse ATM fees and were one of the first to offer checking deposits using scanners on either your home computer or mobile device. Absolutely the best bank on the planet to do business with.

  71. 71
    Martin says:

    Credit union. Honest to god – why would anyone support a for-profit bank over a non-profit one? You’re giving them your money to hold and the ability to make money off of those savings – don’t let them then fuck you over on fees that they give instead to shareholders, rather than account holders. At the credit union, you are the shareholder.

  72. 72
    Paul in KY says:

    @General Stuck: I think that would be a good idea, General.

  73. 73
    artem1s says:

    Slightly OT but Occupy Wall Street may have just gotten their message focused.

    http://wearethe99percent.tumblr.com/

  74. 74
    WereBear says:

    My local bank waives fees for Direct Deposit, has good online banking support (crucial) and I can do instant phone transfers. We tried to move to a credit union, but the local one charged $25 a month for our preferred setup; so we had to bail on them.

    But honestly people, don’t put up with the crap! Find an alternative.

  75. 75
    rikryah says:

    I need to find a credit union

  76. 76
    Trinity says:

    This is why I will never leave my Credit Union.

  77. 77
    someofparts says:

    love my credit union, yes I do
    love my credit union, this is true
    local money honey, it’s such a boon
    keep your money in your ‘hood
    it’s quite a boon

    sorry – feelin’ silly today

  78. 78
    Felanius Kootea says:

    @Judas Escargot: Had the same experience. It may be a denial of service attack but who knows? I will probably stick with BofA for a bit since I get free checking with direct deposit. It’s funny, for the same account, I started out a Bank Boston customer then they got bought by Fleet Bank and later Bank of America. When I was in Boston I also had a checking account with a credit union but they weren’t competitive at all when I needed a mortgage; I have to investigate to figure out a good credit union for me in Los Angeles. Or expand my use of Electric Orange.

  79. 79
    someofparts says:

    also can’t write for crap, sorry y’all

  80. 80

    If they’re going to be charging fees, it’s better to charge them on the consumer side so they’re not hidden. Consumers are already being charged for using debit cards, they just don’t know it. In fact, I’m paying other peoples’ debit card fees because I don’t use debit cards and the retailers’ fees are factored into the prices they charge.

    With fees being up-front, they can opt to not use the debit card, or use one from a bank that doesn’t charge fees, or charges lower fees.

  81. 81
    Shinobi says:

    @Zagloba: I need a big bank that is national because I am lazy. I don’t want to go to the bank branch EVER. I want there to be an ATM I can use near where I am at all times. (Because I am uncomfortably carrying more than $100 in cash, and can blow through that pretty quick.) I want to do all of my banking online, and pay all my bills online, and check my balance online.

    I live in an urban area where it is a huge pain in the ass to get around, I am not interested in having to add an additional errand like going to the credit union a mile away to get some cash. And I don’t want to pay ATM fees all the time. That’s why I got BofA in the first place. I have had 3 different jobs and every one has had a BofA across the street or in the same building, which is EXTREMELY convenient when I need cash.

    Though I do occasionally cash savings bonds so I will probably need a nearby bank branch. I am open minded about what bank I move to, but mostly laziness is a key driver. I do not want banking to be something I have to think about.

    Free, and convenient, that is what I am looking for.

  82. 82
    Mary says:

    @fortygeek:

    USAA has prior military requirements for their insurance, but their banking services are open to ANYONE. They reimburse ATM fees and were one of the first to offer checking deposits using scanners on either your home computer or mobile device. Absolutely the best bank on the planet to do business with.

    I cannot emphasize this enough. My first job out of college was with a small company that did consulting for credit unions. On the first day the CEO asked the new hires (there were 4 of us) whether we banked with credit unions. I said, “no, I bank with USAA.” His response was an enthusiastic “OH! Good for you! That’s even better.”

    Heh.

    Seriously, everyone should go bank with them right away. And their customer service is so awesome that sometimes, when I’m feeling sad, I’m tempted to call them just to cheer me up. (Ok, not really, but they are SOOOOO cheerful and helpful on the phone.)

  83. 83
    Less Popular Tim says:

    sorry, but it’s dumb to hold a bank debit card (as opposed to an *ATM only* card). Go to your bank and tell them you want an ATM only card. They still have those. It won’t say Visa/MC on it, and you use it only at your ATM to transact with your bank.

    Get a *credit* card that gives a cash rebate (e.g. 1%), and pay that credit card off every month.

    It’s lunacy to use a debit card, your are then using your checking account funds to effect what is basically a credit card transaction, and you give up many of the protections the law gives you when you make credit card transactions. If a merchant screws you, or there is fraudulent use of your card, with a credit card you issue a chargeback and decline to pay the disputed amount. With a debit card the merchant already has your money and you are fighting to get it back.
    Debit cards are like merchant gift cards. Even if government regulation eliminated all the fees, it’s still really stupid to get one. Both of these mechanisms take the float/time-value-of-money between the purchase and the time the payment is due, and suck the money out of your pocket immediately, in the case of gift cards, long before you ever receive merchandise. And that’s assuming you do receive merchandise before the store goes under and gets your unsecured debt discharged in bankruptcy.

    Banks and retailers do this stuff because people are dumb enough to oblige them. And I always laugh when banks threaten to start charging annual fees to “convenience users” who pay their card off every month. I am out there making money for you every day whenever I use your card and you charge the retailer whatever % of the transaction, bringing you $1000s a year. You’re really going to kill that in an attempt to wring a $50 annual fee out of me. Ridiculous. And if you try it there are other card issuers that won’t go along.

  84. 84
    fasteddie9318 says:

    My laziness has been keeping me at BoA for two years now, but this morning I opened up a savings account at the local credit union, and I’ll be going back later today to open a checking account. Once I get my electronic bills and direct deposits switched over, I’m done with BoA. This bullshit was the last straw for me.

  85. 85
    JPL says:

    OT..The Pentagon has decided that military chaplains may perform same-sex unions, whether on or off a military installation. link

  86. 86
    R. Porrofatto says:

    ATM fees now in my neck of the woods are $2.75 on each side of the transaction. So if you withdraw $100 bucks you’re paying 5.5% interest just to access your own money. The one thing no one seems to mention is what that transaction might actually cost. Hard to believe it uses $5.50 worth of electricity, or even wear and tear on the gizmo.

  87. 87
    gex says:

    I’ll just go ahead and start writing paper checks which cost them a ton more to process than electronic transactions. If the bank can’t figure out how to make money using the funds I have in their coffers by investing, then maybe they shouldn’t be in the business. Or maybe they shouldn’t have volatilized the stock market so badly that even they can’t make money by buying and holding.

  88. 88
    MTiffany says:

    Of course BoA has to charge people a fee for using their ATM card: I bet it costs a lot of money to underwrite Rick Perry’s presidential bid, and they need some suckers to pay the tab…

  89. 89
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    @Grumpy Code Monkey:

    What amazes me is how some “fiscally conservative” acquaintances will rail on and on about taxes being straight up theft, but endless bullshit bank fees are okie-dokie.

    Paying a “fee” is not as terribly oppressive as paying a “tax”. Even if the “fee” is many times more, in actual dollar terms, than the “tax” would be.

    If it’s going to a private entity who uses the money to buy hookers and booze, it’s OK. If it’s going to a public entity that uses any faction of the money, no matter how small, to help brown people in any way, it’s NOT OK.

  90. 90
    Sloegin says:

    Electronic bill-pay charges. The next big revenue center for banks once the USPS is properly killed off.

    If you don’t see the link between what’s happening with the Post office now and this, you aren’t very bright.

  91. 91
    mazareth says:

    My local credit union is great. I’ve been with them since the mid-80s. No fees on anything and my debit card worked fine in the UK.

  92. 92
    joes527 says:

    @Less Popular Tim: It is lunacy to use ATMs. The fees on those thinks make Debit card fees look like chump change.

    When you need cash, buy a stick of gum with your debit card and get cash back. You can throw away the gum and you will STILL be ahead of where you would be with an ATM.

    Yes, I agree – it is best use a credit card with some sort of kickback in every instance where you could use either credit or debit card …. but that is easy to say.

    Poor folks can’t get no-fee credit cards with cash back as easily as they can get debit cards. We need to be careful with the “let them eat cake” type of advice.

  93. 93

    @elmo:

    My daughter banks with Navy Fed and is very pleased with them.

  94. 94
    burnspbesq says:

    @G:

    “no-fee USAA account”

    News flash: USAA incurs costs (including the cost of capital) in servicing that account. They are recovering those costs from you. It’s just buried inside something other than an explicit fee. I’m sure that intuitively you know this, but if you choose to cling to the fantasy that you’re getting something for nothing, that’s your affair.

    I prefer to know what I’m paying for what I’m getting.

  95. 95
    catclub says:

    @R. Porrofatto: Only use YOUR bank’s ATMs. If there is a fee then, you really have a scummy bank. Change banks.

  96. 96
    Perry Como says:

    Well, that’s it. I’ve had an account with, what is now, BofA since 1995. I just opened an account with USAA and will be transferring my direct deposit over there.

  97. 97
    joes527 says:

    @catclub: the downside of belonging to a local credit union is that they have exactly 1 ATM (right outside their office) I can ge money from just about any ATM, but the fees are nuts.

  98. 98
    Less Popular Tim says:

    @joes527: Oh, I would never use an ATM not owned by my bank, so there’s no fees there either.

    Your point is well-taken about the disparity in availability of all these options. I thought this site was for limousine liberals :-P

  99. 99
    singfoom says:

    @burnspbesq: I’m a USAA account holder as well, and I don’t know what fees you’re talking about.

    They refund my out of network ATM fees and I’ve never seen a charge on my account for the use of the account and I get a % on my checking balance.

    I’ll have to dig into my agreement to see if there’s something hidden, but I haven’t seen anything so far….

  100. 100
    PeakVT says:

    @artem1s: That’s awesome. And heartbreaking.

  101. 101
    Violet says:

    I have an account with BoA. I’ve had it since I was a kid and it was with our local bank. That got bought out a zillion times and is now BoA. I don’t use it very often. I keep it for a specific, family-related issue.

    I hadn’t used it for five months and they sent me a letter saying they were going to close it on me if I didn’t either fill out the enclosed form or make a deposit/withdrawal. So I went over there and made a $1 deposit and then spoke with an employee as to whether I also needed to fill out the form. She said that even though the letter said I did NOT need to fill out the form, and that it says the deposit should be enough, that in her experience I DEFINITELY needed to fill out the form to keep it from being closed on me and the funds being confiscated. So she took care of it for me.

    I haven’t been happy with BoA for awhile, and while I was sitting at her desk I muttered some comment about how this was just another attempt by BoA to steal our money. She looked at me with a knowing look and they said, “No comment.” LOL.

    I got the impression she completely agreed with me and it sounded like she hates BoA. She was really nice and helpful to me. I felt bad for her. Must suck to work there, but the economy isn’t good and a job is a job.

  102. 102
    contessakitty (AKA Karen) says:

    Have money in ING and Wachovia/Wells Fargo but the moment Wachovia became Wells Fargo officially and I heard about the debit card fees, I didn’t qualify for credit unions near me so I chose Capital One which as of now has no fee.

  103. 103
    Davis X. Machina says:

    Even if your credit union has a limited number of bricks-and-mortar branches, it may belong to a no-fee ATM network, extending your reach. Cross-branch ATM deposits are now quite common.

  104. 104

    I think, banks will just start charging admission, to just enter the bank, followed by an assortment of charges for whatever you are doing once inside the bank …

  105. 105
    beergoggles says:

    @G: USAA is a big republican candidate supporter – just check the list on opensecrets.

    I really need to find a place that does remote deposit for checks – has anyone heard any good things about Everbank?

    Also IIRC Amalgamated Bank is owned by the afl-cio, so if ur a union supporter that might be one place to put your money.

  106. 106
    Martin says:

    @singfoom:

    They refund my out of network ATM fees and I’ve never seen a charge on my account for the use of the account and I get a % on my checking balance.

    His point is that the money USAA is refunding comes from somewhere. And that somewhere is from you, from some place that you are unaware.

    Burnsey may not fully understand how these fees work, though. I’m not sure if they still work this way, but there used to be two fee components to the ATM. One goes to the owner of the ATM and one goes to the servicer of the account. Those fees are designed to cover the cost to operate the ATM (owner) and to cover the back-end data network that the servicer belongs to (STAR, etc.)

    It turns out, the larger fee goes to the servicer, so if you pay $1 to use BofA’s ATM to reach your USAA account, part of that $1 is already going to USAA, and BofA is keeping the other part. USAA then ‘refunds’ the part they already received from BofA (which cost them nothing to do) and refunds the part that they didn’t receive (which costs them a something to do). That 2nd cost comes out of what they pay in interest, etc.

    Now, it turns out that a small credit union can turn profits on their ATMs by putting them in favorable locations and charging modest fees. The cost per transaction to maintain the ATM is quite small and if most of their ATM users are accessing non-credit union accounts, the fee the credit union charges on the ATM to non-account-holders can easily cover the cost of providing the ATM to their account holders *and* offset much of the costs of refunding their account holders out-of-network ATM usage.

    My dad was CoB of his credit union some years ago, and he instituted an ‘ATM everywhere’ approach when his branch office got moved to a less convenient location for most members and he rolled out a pile of ATMs to offset that (this was right around when fees started being introduced). They set the fees at just such a level that they could refund ATM fees to their members just off the fees they earned from non-member usage at their machines. So, there are ways of making this work that don’t take money out of members hands through higher loan rates or lower interest payments, etc.

    Just some other corner of weird shit that I know.

  107. 107
    artem1s says:

    never understood the appeal of debit cards anyway. I carry a small amount of cash withdrawn from ATMs and charge everything else to a credit card that I pay off in full every month. 30 days same as cash is a pretty good perk as well as the cash back bonus which can add up to a couple of hundred bucks a year.

    I have both a local bank account and credit union account.

  108. 108
    PeakVT says:

    @singfoom: If USAA doesn’t have a lot of fees, it likely recovers the costs in the form of lower interest payments (though lower overhead, profits, fraud losses, etc. could also factor in). For the 99% (or at least 90%), having lower fees and lower interest rates is better, because they just don’t have enough idle cash that’s earning interest to make up for higher fees.

  109. 109
    Stogz says:

    “I Hate Banks” by Mojo Nixon circa mid-80’s. Pretty much galvanized my view of financial institutions ever since.

    “Banks I like? Well I like Ernie Banks.”

    eyup

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BTFASpNOpHw

  110. 110
    Martin says:

    But, I’ve got accounts with my local credit union, with USAA (grandma was a decorated officer in WWII), and I dumped BofA 18 years ago this Sunday when they put a double hold on our account for a cashiers check to pay for our wedding and we wound up bouncing checks to most of the wedding services and all across our honeymoon.

    Chewed the branch manager out from the front door, just to make sure everyone in the branch knew what BofA did. Had a cashiers check for my account balance in 15 minutes and never looked back.

  111. 111
    singfoom says:

    @PeakVT: That may be true. I think one of the things that allows them to keep costs down is their physical branches AFAIK only exist in Texas, and they are minimal….

  112. 112
    The Republic of Stupidity says:

    It was just one of several new charges expected to hit consumers as new regulations crimp banks’ profits.

    Not to mention the lawsuits piling up around BofA like cord wood…

    Last time I checked, BofA was not only being sued over bad mortgages, they were also being sued over bad CDOs based on those bad mortgages…

  113. 113
    beergoggles says:

    From http://thehill.com/business-a-.....hind-perry

    Brian Conklin, a lobbyist for USAA, a financial service company that serves military families, will likely be a fundraiser for Perry. Conklin was a senior aide to President George W. Bush during his time in the White House.

    Anyone got a list of progressive/liberal or even neutral banks/CUs?

  114. 114
    Rafer Janders says:

    @fortygeek:

    You can also use USAA’s insurance products if a close family member, not only yourself, was in the military.

  115. 115
    FDRLincoln says:

    Most of my money is with a local bank, XXX County Bank. They are locally-owned, have resisted all attempts by larger banks to buy them out, have several branches in the city, have excellent customer service, and are quite profitable, having avoided overinvestment in the real estate bust.

    My only beef with them is that their interest rate on savings accounts is virtually zero…of course, that is true for most banks these days. Accordingly, I have my savings account with ING, which at least pays 1%.

    One thing I would do if you are considering moving to a local bank: do some research and make sure the bank you are considering is not on the “problem list” of banks that you see over at Calculated Risk every week or so. While FDIC will protect your deposit in the event of bank failure, it would suck to move everything to a local bank and then seem them bought out by one of the goliaths.

  116. 116

    @dan: This.

    Also too: CASH. Use it.

  117. 117
    Beth says:

    I just love this meme that everyone has about “having to pay to use my own money”. Look, you don’t have to pay to use cash. There’s no charge to take cash out of the ATM. You are paying to have a more convenient way to carry your money with you and pay at a store. And no one is making you use a bank – you can certainly get your paycheck cashed at a check cashing establishment and use your money however you damn well please. What you are paying for is CONVENIENCE. Why is that so difficult to understand?!?!

  118. 118
    comrade scott's agenda of rage says:

    @gene108:

    As if retailers are some sort of saintly industry that goes out of its way to promote the public good. So whose pockets would you rather line: Sam Walton’s spawn or some bank executive?

    How about my wife, small bidness owner? Before we all start spouting off about how Congress shouldn’t have gotten involved, OOPS TOO LATE FOR THAT, walk a mile in the small retailer’s shows.

    When you settle with one processing company, they jerk your rates up after 6 months. They take money straight out of your account since you have to set it up that way before they’ll let you accept credit cards. Thus, if you have a problem with them over fees, they’re still sucking from your account.

    So, you go to find another processor. That takes a shitload of time, many are literally bait and switch artists and most offer sucky service if you ever need it.

    Believe me, my saintly, non-violent wife would line up credit card processing company execs against a wall and personally slit their throats and gloat over them as they bled to death.

    What you’re seeing here are the banksters doing what they’ve always done. Mojo Nixon says it best in “I Hate Banks”:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BTFASpNOpHw

  119. 119
    trollhattan says:

    Seconded on much of the above–local bank and credit union provide all the banking services I require, although we do have a BofA mortgage. That may go bye-bye soon as well.

    And yeah, I use cash, checks and CCs, never debit cards.

  120. 120
    trollhattan says:

    Anybody else hear the NPR bit on the Homer, Alaska Chamber quitting the national Chamber because of their politics? Loved it!

  121. 121
    Belafon (formerly anonevent) says:

    @artem1s: I don’t go near ATMs. BOA ones are rarely where I need them, and in a lot of cases, I get double feed if I use them. I also don’t usually buy groceries, so I’m not often at a place where I can get cask back after a transaction. And I hate carrying money.

  122. 122
    pete says:

    Not entirely OT: Radiohead are apparently going to play Wall Street this afternoon.

    See https://occupywallst.org/article/radiohead-4pm/ for some reactions: some say it’s a distraction, others that it will draw attention to the protests. I’m with the second camp.

  123. 123
    burnspbesq says:

    @ singfoom:

    What PeakVT said. Compare your interest rate to what you could get elsewhere. Wouldn’t be a bit surprised to learn that it’s a bit on the low side.

  124. 124
    Sasha says:

    There’s a reason most of my business is through credit unions.

  125. 125
    Belafon (formerly anonevent) says:

    @Beth: But, Beth, the banks are already making money off of the money I put in them. And this convenience is also convenient for them. If I use an ATM rather than seeing a teller, they don’t have to hire that teller. If I use my debit card rather than going to an ATM, they don’t have to maintain the ATM or keep the money around. The convenience in this case is just as much in their favor as mine. With direct deposit, I rarely need a bank. Heck, for 98% of the things I do, BOA could just be a computer server somewhere in South Dakota.

  126. 126
    adolphus says:

    @Beth

    And no one is making you use a bank – you can certainly get your paycheck cashed at a check cashing establishment and use your money however you damn well please. What you are paying for is CONVENIENCE.

    I agree with a lot of your post and think this is less than meets the eye. But I do have a problem with this idea. Every employer I have had for over 10 years has required automatic deposit and will not, or charge, for cutting an actual check. (And those check cashing places will charge more not less than BofA) The problem with a rant like yours, and it was spot on in many ways, is that it assumes a simple, pre-21st century relationship with banks and the economy. For example, as I read the new BofA policy, their fee includes electronic withdrawals so every automatic bill pay I have set up over the last 15 years, including PayPal, will trigger the fee. If you want to participate in the 21st Century economy, you have to deal with a bank or bank-like institution and none of them are free.

    My biggest worry is that I am currently underemployed and will be lucky to make over $15K this year. Having once been a richer man, I know for a fact I pay more for the same services now than when I had a full job. I fear, with good reason, that future developments in the financial industry will be even more regressive. I am starting to pick out cardboard boxes in Florida now.

  127. 127
    handsmile says:

    @pete: (#121)

    I don’t think I can support this, coz I don’t know what their playlist is going to be, so it may not be a success. And that Thom Yorke is very scruffy. Maybe if more classic rock groups were to join in.

  128. 128
    Rathskeller says:

    My spouse and I have been using USAA for years, very happy.

    However, I strongly recommend cash budgeting for everyone. We withdraw cash each weekend, and it put it in labeled envelopes: house, me, you, baby, whatever you like. An empty envelope means you don’t buy from that category for the remainder of the week. Plan better next week.

    This simple scheme works well for most normal weeks (no visitors, vacation, medical issues). We have saved adequately using this.

  129. 129
    Beth says:

    @Belafon Yes, they are making money off the money you put in but unless you are depositing large sums of money, they aren’t making that much.

    There are costs associated with the debit card. Here’s what is involved:

    Creating relationships with merchants so that they can take your debit card, monitoring your transactions and balancing them with the merchant. This involves communicating with the merchant. There has to be a customer service group to support the merchant if something goes wrong. Also, people to negotiate and maintain the contracts with the merchants for their payment devices.
    Monitoring for fraud, alerting you when it happens, dealing with the fraud (investigating, resolving, sending you communications) issuing you a new plastic
    Tracking your transactions and posting them to your account. If you use online banking or mobile or text, those applications need to be maintained and updated.
    Customer service people available to help you if you have a question with a transaction, online banking or mobile banking.
    A customer service line for you to call into and check your balance if you don’t use online banking
    A group to create and distribute your checking account statement
    (I’m sure there are more, but I think this is a pretty good list)

    It takes a lot of resources to provide this regardless of whether you use a teller, an ATM or a debit card.

    Beth

  130. 130
    catclub says:

    was it Mr McCawber who said: Income 20 pounds, expenses, 19 pounds 9 shillings. Result: happiness.

    Income 19 pounds 9 shillings, expenses 20 pounds. Result: misery.

  131. 131
    Beth says:

    By the way, I am not defending big banks in any way. I see firsthand the greed and stupid decisions being made. There are people that work there though that care and want to do the right thing. Those are the people in danger of losing their jobs in the cuts Bank of America has planned.

  132. 132
    catclub says:

    Speaking of Business models. Wasn’t there a feature on banking through cell phones in both Africa and Haiti after the earthquake? For people who have very little money, plus no banks.

  133. 133
    Scott says:

    Quite frankly, never quite understood the use for debit cards. Just use credit cards, pay them off monthly, and they give me money back. Regardless, been with credit union or USAA for 30 years now. Never needed the big banks.

  134. 134
    Belafon (formerly anonevent) says:

    @Scott: I don’t have to bother with step two. I am spending the money I own. Like gambling, some people should just stay away from credit cards.

  135. 135
    trollhattan says:

    @pete:

    They’ve got some additional cred, having ditched their record company and gone it alone very successfully. They’re Job Creators(tm), damnit!

  136. 136
    handsmile says:

    @catclub: (#129)

    MIGOD! You’re invoking Dickens, Charles Dickens, to make your metaphorical point!?

    Around these parts, I suspect the preferred author is not the one who wrote “David Copperfield,” but rather the “famous Dutch author Charles Dikkens who wrote “A Sale of Two Titties.” [h/t Messrs. Cleese,Gilliam,Idle,Jones &Palin]

    (also, it’s “Micawber)

  137. 137
    Rafer Janders says:

    @handsmile:

    Win.

  138. 138
    Mary Jane says:

    @Sloegin:

    Electronic bill-pay charges. The next big revenue center for banks once the USPS is properly killed off. If you don’t see the link between what’s happening with the Post office now and this, you aren’t very bright.

    So what’s our choice? Credit card companies conveniently “don’t receive” checks. My husband and I have both been victims of that fraud during that past 4 years. In my case, CitiCard claimed they didn’t get my payment although I mailed it the day after receiving the statement. So I had to pay off a $4,000 balance at 29.9%, plus the $35 late charge. I only do online payments now, through my credit union’s Bill Pay rather than the cc company’s. And I”ll never again carry a balance larger than I can pay off on a moment’s notice.

  139. 139
    Samara Morgan says:

    BoA needs to make back the hundred million it paid Daniel DomscheitBerg to delete the data Wikileaks had on them.
    :)

  140. 140
    handsmile says:

    @catclub: (#129)

    My apologies for neglecting to add thanks for the lovely and apposite quotation!

  141. 141
    drkrick says:

    No we know who else is working with the marketing consultants to Netflix.

  142. 142
    efgoldman says:

    @General Stuck:

    I will likely cease and desist using my debit card, and since most web merchants now have Paypal, I will use them for on line purchases.

    Ummm…
    And what card number does PayPal have?
    Or does that show as a credit-card transaction?

  143. 143

    @burnspbesq: Union is going down tonight. I predict a Kelly Terry hat trick.

  144. 144
    catclub says:

    @handsmile: Does that mean I was right on the source? huzzah for a mind like a sieve.

    and thank you for thinking I had some metaphorical point in mind. I was just typing.

  145. 145
    efgoldman says:

    @Zagloba:

    Erm… you do realize that the entire premise of the stock market is what you just said? Stock is precisely borrowing the shareholder’s money to do their job.

    No, that’s the bond market.
    Initial offerings of stock raise non-refundable (usually) capital for the company. The shares are traded in the open market, but the issuing company doesn’t get more money from them.
    Companies and other entities (governments) issue bonds, which are loans, which have to be paid back when they mature.

  146. 146
    Scott P. says:

    Why would anyone continue to bank there. I don’t get it.

    In my case a couple of reasons. First, convenience — I have moved around a lot and BOA is present across most of the country. Second, there have been a couple of instances when I have had unbelievable customer service from them. One time I was overseas and had all of my credit cards as well as my debit card stolen. I called BOA international customer service, and they were able to cancel my cards, issue a temporary debit card, and fly it to my hotel overnight by private courier, all without charging me a dime. That bought a lot of loyalty on my end, although not an infinite amount.

  147. 147
    Ajay says:

    I use credit card only and pay off every month. I hardly ever deal with cash and never with Debit card.

    Regardless, this is a joke. Now, with mature capitalism that we have ere, a new/existing bank will provide free transactions to lure business away from its competitors.

  148. 148
    PeakVT says:

    Drum’s take on this is worth reading.

  149. 149
    Geeno says:

    Small local Savings Bank for me. Has an agreement with HSBC so I can use their ATMs for free, too.

  150. 150
    Wag says:

    No where else to post this, but its too cool to ignore. From the official Chinese News website, an animation of the launch of their huge new rocket, set to the strains of ….

    Just go see it before they change the music. As an American, it makes me feel warm and fuzzy. In fact, it make me want to drive to the summit of Pike’s Peak, if you know what I mean.

  151. 151
    handsmile says:

    @catclub: (#143)

    Would that a few more around here were “just typing” with such imagination and range of reference.

    Pedant Alert: FTR, the exact quote from Mr. Micawber in Chapter 12 of “Copperfield”:
    “Annual income twenty pounds, annual expenditure nineteen nineteen six, result happiness. Annual income twenty pounds, annual expenditure twenty pounds ought and six, result misery.”

    Cheers!

  152. 152
    PeakVT says:

    @Wag: Well, it’s nice of them to honor America’s pioneer role in space. A Russian patriotic song would have been more appropriate, though, since their whole program is derived from Soviet designs.

  153. 153
    Steve says:

    “Anyone got a list of progressive/liberal or even neutral banks/CUs?”

    You don’t much about this industry, do you?

  154. 154
    Legalize says:

    Can non-military folks sign up with USAA, and receive the same kind of services? That looks pretty good to me.

  155. 155
    David in NY says:

    @Scott P.:

    unbelievable customer service

    . It’s really not so unbelievable — I think it’s common among the big banks, at least. This is one point at which service is actually cheaper than no service, given the rule that they pay if there’s fraud. I recently got something like this kind of treatment from Chase when my credit card began paying for highway tolls in England.

    @PeakVT: Yes, Drum was pretty good on this.

  156. 156
    Rome Again says:

    I think I’m in moderation. I just made a post and it completely disappeared. Hmmm. :(

  157. 157
    David in NY says:

    a new/existing bank will provide free transactions to lure business away from its competitors

    It will now that the fees are paid by the customer and are visible — wouldn’t have worked before, which is a virtue of the new legislation.

  158. 158

    I moved my checking account to a local bank about 3 weeks ago. Had been meaning to do it forever but you know, we travel a lot, convenience, etc. But when I was in Canada and suddenly couldn’t find an ATM machine because BofA is no longer on the Cirrus network, I said fuckit. So, buh-bye. My account is free, ATM is free.

    In other news, BofA has got to be pretty nervous about all of the protests at their doorsteps. There’s something happening here … what it is, well, it’s pretty fucking clear ….

  159. 159
    JD Rhoades says:

    I know two people who’ve changed their accounts from Wells Fargo/Wachovia to credit unions because they started charging for debit card transactions and imposing further fees if the average balance in your accounts dropped below a certain amount.

    And that’s just today. One of them has been a Wachovia customer for over 30 years.

    I really hope this bites those bastards in the ass, hard. Because you know what? I don’t believe for a minute they needed to do this to make up for anything. Their standard line is “regulate us, and we’ll jack prices up on consumers.” The fuckers are just shooting the hostages.

    It’s enough to make a man want to take up bank robbery.

  160. 160
    Rome Again says:

    For those who think they have no alternative to B of A – check out AccountNow dot com. I changed over two years ago due to overdraft disputes (they were charging me twice for the same transaction, I ended up paying about $70 for a $5 purchase.

    This is a debit card issued by a company that is completely online. They do nothing but debit card service. They will not be raising their rates along with the other banks, they wouldn’t survive if they did. I’m sure they are expecting a huge influx of people to switch after this announcement of people being charged to merely USE our cards which are linked to OUR individual small (miniscule in my case) piles of money.

  161. 161
    Rome Again says:

    @JD Rhoades:

    People robbing banks is illegal; banks robbing people not so much!

  162. 162

    Good news, looks like the Republicans have a new great wide, er white hope for 2012! It’s Huckabee!

  163. 163

    @Rome Again:

    Everything in moderation. Including moderation.

  164. 164
    Rome Again says:

    What I don’t get is why so many financial/commercial institutions are acting as if they refuse to help anyone. They NEED us to survive… unless the big boys are all tired of just holding the world hostage and are ready to end the game and count up the toys. He who dies with the most wins, I hear. Of course, there will be disagreements about that, I guess the end phase is Highlander, where they go out and shoot each other to claim more toys. After all, there can be only ONE.

  165. 165
    Sanka says:

    Boy that Dodd-Frank bill really stuck it to them greedy ATM users. Heckuva job, Democrats. That’ll show ’em…

  166. 166
    Mac G says:

    Why didnt we nationalize these ass holes again?

  167. 167

    @Rome Again:

    They NEED us to survive…

    No they don’t. They’re making so much money speculating in the stock market on things like oil futures. We’re just in their way.

  168. 168
    catclub says:

    @Rome Again: See my post # 40.
    I am getting over 2.5% interest on a checking account.
    Beats (by a factor of 250) the 0.01% that Fidelity Cash reserves was paying.

    Search for KASASA Checking. It is a really good deal.

  169. 169
    Rome Again says:

    @Southern Beale:

    If they want to actually do business, they need people. If all they want to do is speculate, they still need people to purchase oil. If we all no longer exist – we all die off due to having no jobs, not food, no shelter, etc… or perhaps we all become battery juice for The Matrix – nobody buys anything and oil will have no future(s). I realize I’m talking in absolutes here, but the fact is more and more people are losing more and more income/security/jobs/shelter everyday. If this keeps up, there will be few of us to purchase anything.

  170. 170
    Rome Again says:

    @catclub:

    I don’t want a checking account, but thanks. I like my debit card and I will continue to use my debit card because I’m aligned with a company that will not be adding in these fees. They will instead be taking in a whole bunch of new customers who are pissed about other banks adding in these fees. :P

  171. 171
    PeakVT says:

    @Mac G: In varying degrees: too big, too complex, no legal framework sufficient to encompass all of their parts, they weren’t technically bankrupt under generous accounting rules, and too many banker-friendly people in the Obama administration. I think Dodd-Frank addressed the legal problems but obviously it didn’t do much to whittle down the 4 big banks and their power.

  172. 172
    The Spy Who Loved Me says:

    I don’t pay a checking account service fee. Because of the type of account I have, the bank gives me my checks for free. I also have access to free on-line checking. I will gladly pay $5 a month to use my debit card to make purchases, rather than constantly running to an ATM for cash or hauling a bunch of cash around, or taking the time to write a check and then pulling out ID, etc. Five dollars is a small fee to pay for the convenience of continuing to use my debit card to pay for groceries, small household purchases and pumping gas.

  173. 173

    @Rome Again:

    They NEED us to survive

    No, they don’t, and for different reasons than Southern Beale listed. Frankly, large banks hate small account holders and would actually be happy if they drove them away. All of the various expenses involved in maintaining accounts means that they lose money on small accounts unless they charge fees. The amount of interest they can get on an account that averages a $6,000 balance amounts to less then $100 a year, given where interest rates and investment opportunities are, and quite possibly a lot less. It costs them more than that to do compliance and and maintenance.

    No matter what their customer service representatives say, they want you to go away. They make their money on large accounts, particularly businesses. They accept small end consumer accounts mostly for PR reasons. The rest of the reason is exactly the fees that they charge. If you aren’t willing to pay them, you’ll save them money by going elsewhere.

    Credit unions thrive in large part because they don’t have the same regulatory requirements that banks do. Their operating expenses are lower, and so they can make their services cheaper than a bank can. This is also true of a small local bank, though not to the extent of credit unions.

    I agree with Kevin Drum that it is a good thing that fees are out in the open. At $5 a month, I don’t think that the banks are gouging anyone.

  174. 174
    David in NY says:

    @J. Michael Neal:

    They accept small end consumer accounts mostly for PR reasons.

    So, the poor banks keep opening (expensive-to-run) branches on every goddam corner not occupied by a drug store just as a PR move? Permit me to be skeptical of your reasoning.

  175. 175
    Rome Again says:

    @J. Michael Neal:

    I’m talking about a business model. If people are not using their services, they go out of business. Apparently though, you’re under the impression that enough people are going to be financially solvent in the next few decades and keep these businesses going. People are in dire straits now, and many of them don’t have an income at all. These businesses are treating people as if they don’t matter, but, without people purchasing goods, businesses shut down. You are talking to the wrong person about continued prosperity. I’m in the sector that is on the verge of collapse. I am underemployed (I did it for my own reasons, by choice, but I’m watching others who are in this situation NOT by choice) and these people are being targeted for extinction. They are denied access to healthcare, they are denied jobs (if they’ve been out of work for more than six months, most of those who ARE hiring will not even consider them). You are under the impression that this country is still doing business as usual, and it’s NOT. I don’t know about where you live, but, where I am there are a HUGE number of abandoned homes. People have moved into their families basements or their cars to survive. They are not bringing in paychecks. This isn’t just some blip on the screen, man! This is a serious decline and nobody is doing anything to fix it (Thanks Republicans in Congress!). You seem to think we’re just in a slow season, and you have no clue what you’re talking about.

  176. 176
    Rome Again says:

    @David in NY:

    I wish I could “Like” that comment. LOL

  177. 177
    catclub says:

    @Rome Again: It includes a debit card.

  178. 178
    catclub says:

    @Ben Cisco: “Today’s xkcd, last panel about sums it up.”

    A slight twist on the invisible hand giving you the finger.

  179. 179
    Melissa says:

    My husband and I have been banking with a credit union since 2003, including one home purchase, one home equity loan, and two used cars (all paid off). I will never bank with a for-profit bank again if I can help it. We just bought another house self-financed by extended family (we were very lucky) last year and are making monthly payments to relatives. Our only conventional banking vestige is a United Chase credit card, for frequent flyer miles. Not all states make it easy to use a credit union but it makes a huge difference knowing the bank is working for YOU. I would be okay paying a fee to my credit union. But never B of A. I think they’ve been scamming people for the past 30 years.

  180. 180
    Darkrose says:

    I’ve been with B of A since moving to California because it was convenient. They have just made it not convenient.

    I already have a secondary account with Golden One; I just changed my payroll direct deposit to go there and will be shifting things over as soon as possible.

    If I didn’t know he wouldn’t open it, I’d use my debit card to scoop out the cat box and mail it to Brian Moynihan.

  181. 181
    Belafon (formerly anonevent) says:

    @Sanka: Actually, I think a number of people will finally realize that staying with their bank is a bad thing. It used to be that you stayed with BOA because you could get to an ATM anywhere. Now, you don’t need the ATM

  182. 182
    Rome Again says:

    @catclub:

    I’m happy where I am but thank you. My previous experience with B of A ended up with me being played on ChexSystems which is WHY I ended up going with this other company. I can pay to get off the list, but honestly, I don’t want to give those people another dime*. I am just fine with remaining on the list and using the company I have now.

    *It’s the principal – they charged me twice for an overcharge on one transaction and I refuse to pay it. There is currently a class action lawsuit which I’ve been considering joining for people who have been severely charged for overdrafts.

  183. 183
    Satanicpanic says:

    I’m lower middle class at best, but $5 a month for something I consider pretty convenient just doesn’t make me that upset. Not a BofA customer, but still, I wouldn’t be all that bothered by this if I were.

  184. 184

    @David in NY: For starters, please note that I never said that retail banking loses money. I said that small accounts are losing money. Opening more branches increases the revenue from those, too.

    Another reason is that many of the highest value services require a physical presence and not just an ATM. Financial planning is a large revenue source for banks – Physical presence required. Banks offer mortgages – Physical presence required. Businesses have needs like making large deposits, taking out small business loans and getting coins and small bills to make change – Physical presence required.

    I will amend my previous post slightly, though. I wanted to make it clear that small accounts *have been* profitable for the banks, but only because of the outrageous fees that they charge. If they can’t collect these fees any longer, small accounts won’t be profitable. If you don’t ring up debit card transactions at $0.44 apiece or overdraft fees, you have been losing them money as it is.

    Look, I agree with the Durbin bill. It makes fees more transparent and starts the process of preventing banks from making more money off of poor users than it does those that are better off. However, it will most likely cause banks to start losing money on small accounts in aggregate and not just on some of them. You’re going to see those fees move rather than going away, and I would bet that they start making small accounts harder to have, such as by requiring higher minimum balances and such.

  185. 185
    Scott P. says:

    . It’s really not so unbelievable—I think it’s common among the big banks, at least.

    Not in my case — my other credit cards required me to wait 4-6 weeks, and that was to get them at home, not overseas.

  186. 186
    Rome Again says:

    @Southern Beale:

    I thought Huckabee and Palin both had agreements with Fox News that they wouldn’t be entering the race? Apparently that is no longer important? So they get to act like they are just commenting on the political campaign and then step into the ring? Seems like there’s something wrong with that approach, but, I have certain scruples which I think you are probably missing.

    Also, if putting a theocrat in the White House is good news, I think we’re done here.

  187. 187
    Rome Again says:

    @J. Michael Neal:

    Could you just get the crying towel out already, for God’s sake? I can hear your undying sympathy for the bankers over here. Geez!

  188. 188
    Shinobi says:

    @The Spy Who Loved Me: @Satanicpanic: This is what you just said: I am happy to pay $5 for the ability to spend my money.

    If amazon charged a $5 per monthly service charge whenever you bought something there, would you still shop there? This would not include any perks, you’d still have to pay shipping, just an extra $5 to order things off their website? What about Walgreen’s? $5 for you to be able to get your prescriptions once a month?

    Sure, it’s only about $60 a year. That’s really not terrible, but it is a fee of $60 a year to use your own money.

    You have every right to choose to pay it if you like I guess.

  189. 189

    @Rome Again:

    If people are not using their services, they go out of business. Apparently though, you’re under the impression that enough people are going to be financially solvent in the next few decades and keep these businesses going.

    Yes, I do. Banks like wealth concentration. It means that they can hold the same amount of deposits with fewer accounts and less overhead. The things that you are predicting won’t really hurt them.

    You are talking to the wrong person about continued prosperity. I’m in the sector that is on the verge of collapse. I am underemployed (I did it for my own reasons, by choice, but I’m watching others who are in this situation NOT by choice) and these people are being targeted for extinction.

    It isn’t that I’m not sympathetic, but I’ve been unemployed for six years. Quoting your current situation doesn’t add credibility to your arguments.

    They are denied access to healthcare, they are denied jobs (if they’ve been out of work for more than six months, most of those who ARE hiring will not even consider them).

    Neither of which really strike at the banks’ profitability. My argument is that small accounts are money losers for banks. You can’t counter that by saying that there aren’t going to be any small accounts for them to hold. That’s a good thing for the big banks.

    You are under the impression that this country is still doing business as usual, and it’s NOT.

    You should probably let me figure out what my impressions are. I’m a lot more likely to figure out what they are than you. Based upon this quote, I’d guess I’m 100% more likely to figure them out, though that’s better stated as infinitely more likely, since it’s 0%/%100.

    This is a serious decline and nobody is doing anything to fix it (Thanks Republicans in Congress!). You seem to think we’re just in a slow season, and you have no clue what you’re talking about.

    More likely, you haven’t bothered to figure out the plain meaning of what I said. There is nothing in your post that rebuts any claim I have made. Whether or not we are in a slow season or a permanent meltdown is irrelevant to the claim I made, which is exclusively that small accounts are money losers for the banks under a legal regime that caps fees where they are.

    The profitable business lines that banks will lose are things like mortgages and small business accounts. They will more than make that up elsewhere. Commercial banking was among the most profitable businesses around during the Great Depression, though investment banking suffered heavily. There were extended panics during the second half of the 19th century, but they certainly didn’t prevent banks from being both profitable an powerful.

  190. 190

    @Rome Again: You are still batting .000 in figuring out what I think.

  191. 191
    waratah says:

    Will our new consumer watchdog weigh in this?

    Sigh, just when I finally I have switched to a small wallet with my credit check card with one check carried for an emergency.

  192. 192
    les says:

    @burnspbesq:
    When you find a bank that can hide a fee in a checking account, let me know. I’m investing, ’cause they’re too clever to fail.

  193. 193

    @les:

    When you find a bank that can hide a fee in a checking account, let me know.

    This was already discussed above. For instance, they can charge the merchant that deposits your check a fee, either by the check or simply increasing the fee. They could require higher minimum balances, which is a sort of fee.

  194. 194
    Rome Again says:

    @J. Michael Neal:

    So, you’re telling me there are going to be enough people spending enough money to keep businesses running after the larger part of the bottom 99% are too destitute to spend a dime, if they are even still alive? You seem to think that there is no war on the bottom 99% and you are wrong.

    You can’t make money if nobody is paying. At that point, all they are doing is shoving their own piles into new stacks. Or did you believe that money really does grow on trees?

    Your reality is totally different from mine, but, I hear your sympathy for the bankers. I can see you think the best years are still ahead of us. (I want them to be, but unless the wealth redistribution that happened since the 80’s is reversed, it ain’t gonna happen!)

  195. 195
    electricgrendel says:

    I am so glad that I ditched these bottom feeding scumbags last year and went with a credit union. My only complaint is that the wait at the drive thru is a little long. But it’s a little long because they’re providing the same thorough and courtesy service to the customers ahead of me that they extend to me when it’s my turn.

  196. 196
    les says:

    @Martin:

    His point is that the money USAA is refunding comes from somewhere. And that somewhere is from you, from some place that you are unaware.

    Uh, no. Sorry, but anybody smart enough to type can see if money is coming out of their checking account. Of course USAA makes money–just not directly from their account holders. Any amount of money they pay interest on is available to them to invest; and they get more than they pay. They get transaction fees and servicing fees from merchants, on use of debit and credit cards. Etc. The notion that there’s a secret hidden fee on a checking account is ludicrous, unless none of their account holders can add or subtract.

  197. 197
    Rome Again says:

    @J. Michael Neal:

    There’s a huge difference between the Great Depression and now. We had a congress that passed the Works Program and got America back to work. Having a very nasty enemy in Japan certainly didn’t hurt either.

    The enemies of today are not so cut and dried, and we have no WPA to get us out of this. You’re the one who is lost in space, pal!

  198. 198
    Rome Again says:

    But, J. Michael Neal, I really do hear what you’re saying – you’re saying “I’m not in that class of people and so those things aren’t really happening and I don’t have to pay attention to it. It’s not real!”

    I hear you loud and clear!

  199. 199
    les says:

    @waratah:
    If so, I hope positively. We’re paying for all this shit and more; it’s better to have the cost out in the open, where we can make decisions and have actual competition, than buried in the transaction fees we can’t see, but add to the cost of everything we buy.

  200. 200
    les says:

    @J. Michael Neal:
    None of which is a fee on your checking account. Of course there are transaction costs–the f’ing thread is about limiting them, which is forcing banks to put their charges out where we can bitch about, or better, avoid them.

  201. 201

    @Rome Again:

    But, J. Michael Neal, I really do hear what you’re saying – you’re saying “I’m not in that class of people and so those things aren’t really happening and I don’t have to pay attention to it. It’s not real!”

    You caught the part where I said I’ve been unemployed for six years now, right?

    I hear you loud and clear!

    Those are the voices in your head. I’d go get my medications checked if I were you.

  202. 202
    Rome Again says:

    Neither of which really strike at the banks’ profitability. My argument is that small accounts are money losers for banks. You can’t counter that by saying that there aren’t going to be any small accounts for them to hold. That’s a good thing for the big banks.

    J. Michael Neal, have you considered the drag on the economy that a huge number of unemployed and homeless people are beginning to and will continue to create? Have you considered that these people used to be consumers? I’m not just talking about bankers. I’m talking about all businesses. American businesses will go broke if Americans cannot buy their goods and use their services… and it isn’t just the people at the bottom of the totem pole. Tack on the fact that Europe is going through their own economic nightmare and both continents also become a drag on each other. This will drag others down with them, someday perhaps even you. Get your head out of your ass!

  203. 203
    Rome Again says:

    @J. Michael Neal:

    Fuck off. I’m not on any medications. You are in denial though. Perhaps one day you’ll realize it.

  204. 204

    @les:

    None of which is a fee on your checking account.

    I see. What you are trying to do is to miss the point burnspesq was trying to make and instead split hairs on what constitutes a fee on your checking account and what is just a fee on the price you pay a merchant for his goods.

    I didn’t realize this was a semantic debate, so if you’ll excuse me, I’m leaving it alone.

  205. 205
    Rome Again says:

    You caught the part where I said I’ve been unemployed for six years now, right?

    Some people are unemployed because they want to be. That sounds like you. You’re obviously not hurting, and if you were, you certainly wouldn’t be concerned more about bankers profits than actual human lives being torn apart.

    ETA: Well, not unless you are just psychotic.

  206. 206

    @Rome Again:

    J. Michael Neal, have you considered the drag on the economy that a huge number of unemployed and homeless people are beginning to and will continue to create?

    Yes, I have. I’ve written about it explicitly several times in this very thread. Will mass unemployment by itself affect bank profits? Probably not. If the unemployment is a symptom of an economy that is not growing, then it will, but almost certainly not enough to make them unprofitable. While FDR may have introduced programs that tried, with varying degrees of success (the WPA, for instance, probably didn’t help much, though some of the other public works programs did) the banks were still profitable when unemployment was greater than 20%.

    The implicit part of my argument is not that banks won’t be less profitable under such conditions. It’s that the reason they will be less profitable has nothing to do with losing lots of small accounts. That part will actually help them. It’s drops in all sorts of other business lines that will hurt them.

    You seem to be incapable of disaggregating a trend in its component parts. I am talking about one very specific thing about how banks make money. Ranting over and over again that macro conditions will affect banks’ profits over their entire operation says nothing about any particular line of that business. If you follow baseball, the equivalent is that the Red Sox falling apart in September was useless for predicting that production of Jacoby Ellsbury, who actually stepped it up.

  207. 207
    wrb says:

    @electricgrendel:

    I am so glad that I ditched these bottom feeding scumbags last year and went with a credit union.

    The Feds took over our credit union last Friday

  208. 208
    les says:

    @J. Michael Neal:
    Sorry; if this semantics, it hardly seems like splitting hairs. My assumption is we’re all smart enough to know that banks make money. Burnsie;s response to the statement “I don’t pay fees on my checking account” was “sure you do, you just can’t see it.” Where I learned English, there’s no semantics there, it’s just wrong. If your point is we all pay the bank costs through transaction fees, service costs, etc., well duh. If your point is that transaction costs are equivalent to a direct fee for having an account, I think that’s not semantics, it’s inaccurate.

    We all pay the transaction fees, because they are in retailer and merchant overhead. Some folks also pay direct fees, and some of us don’t; and are smart enough to know which one it is.

  209. 209
    Rome Again says:

    There were extended panics during the second half of the 19th century, but they certainly didn’t prevent banks from being both profitable an powerful.

    It ain’t over yet. Banks can fall down just as quickly as they were propped up. Look at how quickly Lehman went down.

  210. 210

    @Rome Again:

    Some people are unemployed because they want to be. That sounds like you. You’re obviously not hurting,

    And you’re STILL batting .000 in analyzing me. I’d stop trying to make guesses about my situation if I were you.

    and if you were, you certainly wouldn’t be concerned more about bankers profits than actual human lives being torn apart.

    Where have I expressed any concerns about the profitability of banks? What I actually said is that I approve of the Durbin bill despite the effects it will have.

    Much like disaggregation, you seem confused over the difference between saying that something is true and wanting that thing to be true. Do not assume that you understand my opinions by my statements expressing a factual claim. I’d stop making assumptions about those if I were you, too.

  211. 211

    @les:

    If your point is we all pay the bank costs through transaction fees, service costs, etc., well duh.

    Yes, that is exactly what burnspesq was saying. It was pretty obvious if you put that one phrase into its context.

  212. 212

    @Rome Again:

    It ain’t over yet. Banks can fall down just as quickly as they were propped up. Look at how quickly Lehman went down.

    You do realize that Lehman wasn’t a commercial bank at all, don’t you? It was purely an investment bank. Individual accounts of any sort were not a part of their business model, which makes it pretty hard to claim that a lot of small account holders leaving them hurt their profitability.

    That’s largely beside the point, though. I never claimed that *a* *bank* wouldn’t fail. I claimed that banks *as an industry* would continue to make profits.

  213. 213
    les says:

    @J. Michael Neal:

    Where have I expressed any concerns about the profitability of banks? What I actually said is that I approve of the Durbin bill despite the effects it will have.

    Well spoke. One thing the Durbin bill will start to do is get bank money making out where we can see it, and put the burden on folks who need or want the service, where it should be–instead of buried in the cost of everything, and paid by all of us willy-nilly. I think upstream somebody said the reduction in transaction fees will cost the banks $6 billion–whatever the number is, that’s a cost that now doesn’t have to be added to all the goods and services we purchase–assuming, of course, our galtian overlords in the rest of the business community pass the savings along.

  214. 214
    les says:

    @J. Michael Neal:
    Well, I confess that I don’t always find Burns a model of clarity or logic; I still say, as a response to a simple “I don’t pay fees on my account,” it’s piss poor support for the answer “yes you do.”

  215. 215
    PeakVT says:

    @wrb: Credit unions fail from time to time, just like (small, politically-unimportant) banks. There are deposit insurance programs for both.

  216. 216
    Rome Again says:

    @J. Michael Neal:

    Continue for how long? You do realize that there is both a beginning and and end to things, correct? We are currently in a financial situation in this country that is not getting better and you seem to be saying all is well and will always be well.

    I realize that I’m not taking the component pieces and pulling them apart. I’m a member of the bottomest 10% and I am concerned about people. I don’t see you being concerned for people, I see you being concerned for banks. So, perhaps I am wrong, but you give the impression that you’re more concerned that the machinery continues to be well oiled and continues to run. I personally am less concerned about the how well the machine is run and more focused on the idea that people are not pushed out of their homes and jobs.

    Your note about being unemployed for six years and how you’re apparently not doing as well as I thought – what are you eating, air? Obviously you had some financial savings to tide you over during that period, or a check from the government. You can’t live without any income, unless you’re robbing banks or tourists and to do that for six years? Obviously you didn’t go homeless or without food.

  217. 217

    @les:

    Well, I confess that I don’t always find Burns a model of clarity or logic; I still say, as a response to a simple “I don’t pay fees on my account,” it’s piss poor support for the answer “yes you do.”

    Why? Checks are a more expensive way for merchants to collect payment. There are the processing fees, plus the fact that when I ran parking ramps, about 10% of the checks we accepted bounced.

    Using checks causes costs to be higher for you than other forms of payment. Sure, it’s a common goods problem, as you pay a lot less than the full amount extra that your checks cost. It’s still a fee on your checking account, just one that the rest of us help you pay.

  218. 218
    Rome Again says:

    @J. Michael Neal:

    I was talking about any bank. It doesn’t matter if it was a commercial bank or just about any other type of bank (with the exception of a blood bank). I’m saying that a weak economy will eventually drag everything else down – and at the moment we have a weak economy and no serious jobs legislation and it doesn’t look like one is coming anytime soon.

    Your point about small accounts is not what I’m arguing. My point was that without people, businesses don’t thrive (any business). It is a Domino Effect. I am not saying that the loss of small accounts is going to topple a bank, or system of banking institutions – I am saying that with the very large majority of money in this country currently going into the pockets of fatcats who sit on it and warm their asses while working class people go jobless and homeless, the continuation of that situation will create a collapse.

    You are the one who started getting all freaked about small accounts. Your point was not my point at all. You tried to dismantle my point to make your own point. Well, la-de-da! Get your own fucking point! Mine was walked all over and then I was dragged into a premise that I wasn’t even discussing. My point still stands though, even if you did try to dismantle it, because until this economy changes, that is currently projected to be the end result. People don’t use services, business collapses. That was ALL I was saying.

  219. 219
    Julie says:

    @Linda Featheringill: I’ve had Navy Federal and USAA almost my entire life and have been nothing but pleased with both. I also have a local credit union membership and they’ve been excellent, too. I briefly had a Washington Mutual account (before they were absorbed) because the branch was walking distance from my house — and couldn’t get away fast enough after a few months.

  220. 220
    Satanicpanic says:

    @Shinobi: I’m happy to pay $5 a month to not have to carry cash.

  221. 221
    les says:

    @J. Michael Neal:
    Jebus, talk about semantics. This is simple: I have a checking account. Unless I overdraw, the bank does not assess a fee; I don’t pay for checks (which is good, as I rarely use ’em); I don’t pay ATM fees to my bank, and any fees to other banks are reimbursed to me; ergo, I don’t pay fees on my account. The balance in my account is the money I put in it, less the money I take out of it, plus a pittance of interest. This is a fact, a truism, a reality. The fact that the general costs of running our financial system, including costs associated with debit and credit transactions, are embedded in retail transactions that I engage in, does not change the prior fact.
    Therefor, I find Burns’ answer to not involve semantics, but to be simply sloppy, illogical and inaccurate. It conflates the question of what it costs an individual to maintain a checking account, with what it costs all of us to have a modern financial system. As an attempt to highlight the fact that we all pay for buried transaction fees, it’s lame and distracting by reason of being factually inaccurate. And as is often the case with Burns, it’s condescending and annoying.

  222. 222
    WaterGirl says:

    Quite frankly, never quite understood the use for debit cards. Just use credit cards, pay them off monthly, and they give me money back.

    Wow. This statement, and several other statements here seem to ignore the fact that many, many people have issues around money. For many people, that’s the equivalent of telling the alcoholic that the first drink is okay.

    If you are a person who is not good with credit cards, charging everything and then paying it off every month is just not possible – this option is a recipe for disaster.

    If you are a person who is not good with cash – it just runs through their fingers, then going with a cash approach is a recipe for disaster.

    The approach that works best for you (charge everything & pay it off at the end of the month, pay everything in cash, write checks for everything, use the debit card for everything) works best for you because of your particular relationship with money. That does not mean it would work well for someone else.

    This new charge will be a big problem for those people who can only control their spending by using a debit card for everything, so the money comes out right away in a very visible way – if you check your account balance on-line.

  223. 223
    Rome Again says:

    Oh yeah, I wanted to add: my style of discussion is mostly general. I have never worked in a bank. I don’t pick apart banking because honestly, I leave it for others to understand. I was making a generalized statement. You decided that because I wasn’t being specific enough that my argument didn’t count. That makes you seem like an elistist snob, or my new name for you, a clA$$hole – have a great day!

  224. 224
    Brachiator says:

    My gut instinct is to think that the first thing this will do is drive down unplanned consumption by smart consumers. Certainly, there will be a large group of people who won’t care, and will just use their debit card anyway, but I’m betting a bunch of savvy people will start using cash for purchases more frequently.

    “Using cash” becomes problematic, since people would either have to use the debit card to get cash, or waste time standing in line at a bank to get cash from a teller window. Talk about returning to 19th century business practices.

    I’m sure that other banks will follow suit with this practice.

    Crap like this makes me more incensed that Obama’s attempt to get Elizabeth Warren in to guide financial institution regulation got stopped.

    Anyhow, with any luck, competition may come in the form of smart phone and other applications, perhaps with alternate banking arrangements. With electronic communication, smartphones and e-commerce, perhaps traditional banks are no longer necessary.

    In many areas, credit unions have been hammered, especially with the bad economy and high levels of unemployment. Still, I wonder if we might see the rise of banking co-ops.

  225. 225
    Rome Again says:

    @WaterGirl:

    Wow. This statement, and several other statements here seem to ignore the fact that many, many people have issues around money.

    Yeah, really. I noticed that too. Apparently some people seem to think that everyone is just like them.

    I have issues with money, I never learned to manage it. I don’t have a lifestyle where it needs managing, nor do I want one. I have a debit card and when I run out they stop giving me money. End of story – keeps me out of trouble.

  226. 226
    wrb says:

    Quite frankly, never quite understood the use for debit cards. Just use credit cards, pay them off monthly, and they give me money back.

    A whole lotta people, after this meltdown, won’t and probably never again will qualify for a credit card.

  227. 227

    @Rome Again:

    We are currently in a financial situation in this country that is not getting better and you seem to be saying all is well and will always be well.

    Please provide a quote where I ever implied this. I suspect that you won’t be able to find one.

    I don’t see you being concerned for people, I see you being concerned for banks

    Actually, this specific instance was prompted by a concern for the truth. Someone was making the claim that the banks need all of the small account holders in order to survive. That’s simply not true. On that specific question, they would be happier *not* to have your business unless they can collect fees from you.

    So, perhaps I am wrong, but you give the impression that you’re more concerned that the machinery continues to be well oiled and continues to run. I personally am less concerned about the how well the machine is run and more focused on the idea that people are not pushed out of their homes and jobs.

    Still batting .000. I would strongly suggest that you pause long enough to read what I actually write rather than relying on what you imagine that I write.

    However, to address the specific claim that you make here, it actually is important to job creation to run smoothly. A healthy banking system is a prerequisite for a growing economy.

    Now, since you seem to like reading things into what I write rather than relying upon the actual words, I will preemptively clarify that this does not mean that I believe that it is important to protect bank profits from small account holders. I will AGAIN say that I support the law that led to this, despite the fact that it will reduce bank profits in this particular business line.

    I will also AGAIN suggest that you stop trying to infer my opinions on something based upon factual claims that I make. I have suggested this over and over, and yet you continue to do it. I will make this as clear as I possibly can:

    I DO NOT HOLD THE BELIEFS THAT YOU HAVE REPEATEDLY CLAIMED THAT I HOLD. WHAT YOU CONTINUE TO SAY CONSTITUTES A LIE. IF YOU VALUE THE TRUTH, YOU WILL DESIST FROM THESE CLAIMS IMMEDIATELY.

    There. Is that sufficiently clear for you?

    Obviously you had some financial savings to tide you over during that period, or a check from the government.

    For 18 months I collected disability insurance, since I left my last job because of a nervous breakdown. Since that’s the limit on how long such policies will pay due to mental health issues, my parents have been supporting me since then. I do not qualify for social security disability since that is for people who can’t work, not for those who no one will hire. I never qualified for unemployment, since I did not lose my job, I was just unable to perform it.

    Since then, my parents have supported me out of their retirement funds.

  228. 228
    les says:

    @WaterGirl:
    Nicely said. And to the larger point under discussion here, credit card transactions ain’t free any more than debit transactions are.

  229. 229
    burnspbesq says:

    @J. Michael Neal:

    You’d better hope so. Union is, year in and year out, arguably the worst team in D1 women’s hockey. 2-29-3 last year. If it’s less than a four-goal margin, that should scare the bejeebers out of you.

    The men are another story.

  230. 230

    @Rome Again:

    I don’t pick apart banking because honestly, I leave it for others to understand.

    Then I would suggest not trying to contradict someone on something you don’t understand. I made a very specific claim: banks don’t need you as a customer. They don’t WANT you as a customer.

    They don’t really need you to be buying anything, either. Having a bunch of super rich customers while the majority of us suffer will still allow them to be profitable. They’ll survive. The bank shareholders will probably be better off. What they lose in the form of profits at the bank level will probably be made up in the form of lower tax rates on the distributions they receive.

    Further, I would argue that the banks are helping people, albeit not nearly as much as they could, or as much as they would (on net) under a better and stronger regulatory regime. Giving people the opportunity to have a checking account helps them. Giving people a debit card helps a lot of people, including several that have posted on this thread, even with a $5 a month charge. Allowing people to borrow money to buy a house is providing a service that helps people in most instances. There are other examples.

    I would then refer to your post at #187, where you started your litany of attacks on based upon an entirely imaginary set of beliefs that I hold. That, it should be noted, referred to a specific claim made by David in NY, to which you expressed a desire to indicate that you liked it.

  231. 231
    burnspbesq says:

    @Rome Again:

    As through this life you travel, you’ll meet some funny men.
    Some rob you with a six-gun, and some with a fountain pen.

  232. 232
    Rome Again says:

    Nevermind J. Michael Neal, it was simply due to the fact that I was making a generalized argument and you had to be more specific. You seemed overly concerned about whether banks needed small account holders while I was more concerned about whether a business owner of any type was going to be happy if he had nobody to do business with. When you were making your point (which you hijacked from my point) you sounded like you were overly concerned about the needs of the banks rather than the people. End of discussion. I’m done.

  233. 233
    WaterGirl says:

    @Rome Again: No kidding!

    For the last 18 months I have been working with a sibling who was having a lot of financial issues. For years they had been paying 1,000 in minimum monthly credit card payments by taking money out of their retirement accounts AND also taking additional money for living expenses.

    When I sat down with them to take a look at their finances, they swore they didn’t spend even one penny more than they needed to. We made a budget, opened multiple checking accounts for different kinds of expenses (one for fixed expenses, one for variable stuff like medical, pets, etc) one for gifts (they were taking money out of retirement accounts to spend 4,000 in gifts every year) and a discretionary account for my sibling and one for the spouse.

    No using a credit card at all, debit for everything, and automatic bill pay for standard bills. When one flavor of money runs out, that’s it, they can’t take money from another account. In the first 12 months they paid off 15,000 in loans and credit cards. After 8 months they had paid down enough loans that they are now living within their means with a plan to pay off credit cards in 4 years. They are not good with managing their money with either cash or checks, but this works for them.

    They have 5 checking accounts and have debit cards for all of them. They each carry a debit card – with a different number, so they might end up being charged 5 bucks * 5 accounts * 2 debit cards for each account. They bank with BoA are completely fucked if this fee goes into effect.

    People who are not good with money need to be able to use the method that works for them.

    I agree with those upthread who said that the small accounts are not profitable with the banks. That is exactly what BoA told me when I phoned them about the fees they put in place in jan 2011 – monthly charge for each account if no direct deposit. i was calling as my sister to let them know that we would leave BoA if they insisted on that fee, and the person on the phone actually said that “we” were small customers with a low balance and that they lose money on us anyway, so they didn’t care if we went elsewhere. I thought they should move to a credit union, but they instead called the manager of the local BoA and reported what we were told over the phone, and he helped them get around that problem through 3 jobs and splitting paychecks into multiple direct deposits.

    I was really shocked that the BoA person actually said – out loud – that we were little fish and they were losing BoA money anyway, and they didn’t care that they had been customers for 40 years. I hate the big banks. I need to go find the link to the “JUMP! You Fuckers! sign on-line and then take a deep breath.

    Edit: I suspect no one will actually make it all the way through my rant, but it was therapeutic to write, anyway.

  234. 234
    LanceThruster says:

    A fee for his land, a fee for his bed, a fee for the table at which he’s fed.
    A fee for his tractor, a fee for his mule, Teach him a fee for is the rule.
    A fee for his work, a fee for his pay, He works for peanuts Anyway!
    A fee for his cow, a fee for his goat, a fee for his pants, a fee for his coat.
    A fee for his ties, a fee for his shirt, a fee for his work, a fee for his dirt.
    A fee for his tobacco, a fee for his drink, a fee for him if he tries to think.
    A fee for his cigars, a fee for his beers, If he cries, then a fee for his tears.
    A fee for his car, a fee for his gas, Find other ways to impose a fee for his ass.
    A fee for all he has then let him know, That you won’t be done till he has no dough.
    When he screams and hollers then a fee for him more,
    A fee for him till he’s good and sore.

    Then a fee for his coffin, a fee for his grave, a fee for the sod in Which he’s laid.
    Put these words Upon his tomb, ‘”A fee for” drove me to my doom.. . ‘
    When he’s gone, Don’t think that’s all there’ll be, It’s time to apply The inheritance fee.

  235. 235

    @WaterGirl: I made it all the way through your rant, but I do have some questions. Well, one basic one. Why should BoA be expected to provide you a service on which they lose money?

    This isn’t about a worry about their profits. It’s a more general philosophical question. Are companies required (let’s say ethically required) to provide something on which they lose money?

    Then, in this case, the question becomes whether or not they are required to offer that money losing service five times. Your sibling and family had one account with BoA on which the bank was losing money, and you are requesting that they quintuple the expenses they face without being able to generate any more revenue.

  236. 236
    Thymezone says:

    @J. Michael Neal:

    Why are the banks constantly and relentlessly bombarding small account holders with campaigns to enlist new accounts, paying depositors to get their friends to open accounts, offering spiffs and premiums for the accounts … the torrent of advertising and promotion is constant and expensive. And there is no indication that they are looking for the Koch Brothers’ accounts. They are soliciting Ma and Pa Kettle America. That doesn’t seem to fit with your analysis.

  237. 237
    WaterGirl says:

    @J. Michael Neal: Amazed and grateful that you made it all the way through my rant. I am waiting for a friend to pick me up for dinner and volleyball, so I can’t really reply to the substance of your questions.

    But until my friend arrives…

    BoA isn’t instituting this charge for people with more than one account. If they were, I might take your point. Oops – sound of car door. Gotta run. Have a good evening.

  238. 238
    Thymezone says:

    Banks are falling all over themselves not only to solicit new small accounts, but to encourage existing ones to be active, happy, smiling users of their ATMs, their debit cards, and all their services and fee generators. They have spent years creating a low-overhead model for these customers with automation, online banking, and other gadgets that let them provide service at little or no cost, while adding fees to bring in revenue to compensate them for giving away service. They are making money on the bargain, any claims to the contrary are just absurd on their face. Why else would they promote debit cards relentlessly, fight the Durbin rule relentlessly, and bolt on new fees immediately to replace the revenue? They want the fees, that’s why, and they are running a racket with a license to steal, even with the Durbin rule in effect.

    Banks make a fortune marketing insurance products, banking services, and all manner of junk to consumers using their accountholder databases as marketing drivers .. they also sell lists to each other for this purpose.

  239. 239
    Rome Again says:

    @WaterGirl:

    I got through it. LOL

    I’m glad you helped them. Wow, with five accounts and two cards, that’s a LOT of fees.

    I strongly suspect J. Michael Neal was at the other end of that phone conversation. LMAO! Also, since there was another BoA employee there who tried to fix the problem, it sounds like not everyone agreed with that assessment. I think there are just certain people who love telling anyone who challenges them for any reason that they are unnecessary. I think my own siblings suffer from that disease. :P

  240. 240
    Rome Again says:

    @burnspbesq:

    Ballpoint taken. :P Thanks!

  241. 241
    Rome Again says:

    @Thymezone:

    They do seem to send a lot of mail to a couple of not rich people. I’m sure if I went on a scavenger hunt right now, I could find at least five pieces of mailed ads from your alone in about fifteen minutes. I’m sure I also still have a bunch of junk mail in a bag in the closet and can probably find ten or more old BoA ads in that bag from over two years ago.

  242. 242
    Rome Again says:

    @LanceThruster:

    That’s powerful. Of course we all know (or should) that this is true, but seeing it all laid out like that. Wow!

  243. 243
    bcinaz says:

    Join.Your.Local.Credit.Union.

  244. 244
    Thymezone says:

    Banks see anyone with a job as a potential marketing opportunity. And they make fortunes selling those people crap they don’t need. And charging fees for the opportunity at the same time. It’s a racket, that’s why they make huge profits and keep soliciting us day and night. When banks lose money it is because they got greedy and bought portfolios of shitty loans and those sorts of things, not because their street level business is unprofitable. They don’t pay you $100 to get your friends to open accounts because they are masochists.

  245. 245
    Thymezone says:

    @bcinaz:

    Good advice.

  246. 246
    Rome Again says:

    @J. Michael Neal:

    Then I would suggest not trying to contradict someone on something you don’t understand. I made a very specific claim: banks don’t need you as a customer. They don’t WANT you as a customer.

    Not so fast there dude. After discussing this with Thymezone, I think you’re wrong. The fees they make on these “small accounts” is astronomical. And I’m fully aware of the kind of money they make on overdrafts. I’m SURE they didn’t hate taking an extra $70 when I made a $5 purchase and put my account about $2 in the hole.

  247. 247
    Rome Again says:

    @Thymezone:

    They don’t pay you $100 to get your friends to open accounts because they are masochists.

    Exactly, and as you just stated to me, Chase Bank (the tallest building in Arizona) and Chase Field weren’t built on the backs of the rich either (good points honey!). :)

  248. 248
    Rome Again says:

    @J. Michael Neal:

    I would then refer to your post at #187, where you started your litany of attacks on based upon an entirely imaginary set of beliefs that I hold. That, it should be noted, referred to a specific claim made by David in NY, to which you expressed a desire to indicate that you liked it.

    You really are an insolent prick, aren’t you? Fuck off!

    P.S. – I still like what David said. :P

  249. 249
    Thymezone says:

    @Rome Again:

    Exactly. They long ago turned the small account into a big moneymaker. It’s no-lose for them. If the small account is quiet, it costs them nothing to service it. If it is busy, they get the swipe fees and ATM cross-use fees. If the account is troublesome, they get the overdraft and over limit fees, late fees, whatever. The get you coming and going. And meanwhile you are a marketing target with a large dollar sign on your back.

  250. 250
    Thymezone says:

    Here’s another way to look at this: Do you really think that the banks built out massive infrastructure (ATMs, debit card processing, online banking) in order to service the Koch Brothers? Do the Kochs happily swipe their cards and love their banks? Uh, no. That’s Suzy Soccermom who is happily swiping and ATMing and buying insurance from their card issuer. That’s you. You are the target. The Kochs get a whole different level of service in entirely different modes, and that business has nothing to do with the business model you operate in.

  251. 251
    Steeplejack says:

    @Legalize:

    This page details which services USAA offers to different client categories. It looks like non-military people can get all banking services.

    ETA: My brothers are USAA members, and I have been thinking about moving over from Bank of America for a while. This latest dick move by BoA will probably push me to action.

  252. 252
    Robert says:

    Time to start whipping out the checkbook again for non-cash purchases.

  253. 253
    Steeplejack says:

    @WaterGirl:

    Good points. Also, there are many people who because of their financial circumstances cannot get a credit card.

  254. 254
    Lizzy L says:

    I have 3 accounts at BoA, plus a mortgage AND a credit line. I have been a customer for nearly 20 years. It’s possible I am in the category of folks who will not be charged that $5 per month fee. However — today I went to the local credit union and opened an account. I’ve been meaning to do this for a long time. I like the whole idea of credit unions, and dear god, everything is free! No charges whatsoever, not even a minimum balance. Oh yes, they did charge me $5 to open the account: the $5 stays in my account, though: it purchased a membership share, to make me a voting member of the CU. The only thing I have to do to keep it that way is make 3 transactions per month through the account: deposit, check, ATM, whatever. I can do that, easy.

    And the bank manager came out to introduce herself and thank me for bringing my business to them. Nice.

  255. 255
    KS in MA says:

    @artem1s: Wow, this is brilliant! Thanks for the link.

  256. 256
    WaterGirl says:

    @Lizzy L: In my sister’s case, she has her mortgage with BoA, home equity with BoA, 2 credit cards with BoA, but still, all these new fees apply.

    I hated every bank I dealt with until I joined my credit union in 1999. I am a big fan. It was the first time I felt like the bank was on my side instead of being out to screw me.

  257. 257
    Lizzy L says:

    According to an article in the NYT, debit card fees will be waived if you have a mortgage with BoA. It’s possible your sister will not have to pay the fees. Or it’s also possible the NYT is wrong.

    We’ll see.

  258. 258
    Catsy says:

    I was a BofA account-holder for many years, and about five years ago they did the best thing they’ve ever managed to do for me: they refused to give me a car loan. They refused to even have a real person work with me about it; the guy I went in to talk to at the branch told me I could apply online, and when I reiterated that I’d never done this before and wanted to go through it with a person, he copped an attitude and logged into the site he’d been trying to get me to go to, put in my information, and read back the immediate electronic denial. He was a total dick about it and couldn’t have made it clearer that he thought I was a complete waste of his time.

    So I got one through a local credit union, we moved our accounts over, and I have never looked back at Bank of America’s profoundly and impersonally shitty service. I never missed a payment and paid down the balance early. BofA’s loss. My gain.

    I hope those fuckers go under.

  259. 259
    Ajay says:

    @Satanicpanic:

    I’m lower middle class at best, but $5 a month for something I consider pretty convenient just doesn’t make me that upset. Not a BofA customer, but still, I wouldn’t be all that bothered by this if I were.

    Seriously? As a lower middle class as you claim, you wouldnt consider alternatives, such as changing banks or perhaps dumping Debit card altogether and using perhaps a credit card. Or some other alternative?

    I am probably upper middle class and work on wall street for a large bank and I think this fee is ridiculous and stupid (making customers pay for higher stock price and bonuses while asking for govt handout).

    Sorry dude, Ignorance can only get you so far.

  260. 260
    jprfrog says:

    Yes, Dan #2. When I moved my account from B of A to the branch of Provident (NJ) on the corner of my block, I told the teller that if a bank was too big to fail I would help out by making it a little smaller. If a lot of us did that, it would get a lot smaller, and if it failed no one would miss it (except the overpaid executives).

  261. 261
    tam1MI says:

    @gene108:

    As bad as Sam Walton’s spawn are, they didn’t melt down the world economy for shits and giggles, and then get rewarded for it. So in the case I think I can live with Sam Walton’s spawn getting something, especially since it comes out of the hides of the banksters.

Comments are closed.