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The Almighty Buck News Your Rights Online Politics

Fee Increase Attempt Inspires 'Dump Your Bank Day' 667

Posted by timothy
from the good-to-switch-once-in-a-while-anyhow dept.
suraj.sun writes with this excerpt from CNN Money: "Customers are dumping their banks in droves ahead of the nationwide 'Move Your Money' and 'Bank Transfer Day' movements this Saturday. Given the recent spotlight on attempts — and ultimate failures — by some of the nation's biggest banks to tack on new debit card fees, thousands of disgruntled consumers have already either left or pledged to leave their current bank for a community bank or credit union, which are known for having fewer and/or lower bank account fees. ... At least 650,000 consumers have already joined credit unions since Sept. 29, the day Bank of America announced plans to impose its controversial $5 debit card fee, according to a nationwide survey of credit unions by the Credit Union National Association."
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Fee Increase Attempt Inspires 'Dump Your Bank Day'

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  • I did (Score:4, Interesting)

    by riverat1 (1048260) on Friday November 04, 2011 @06:55PM (#37953620)

    I moved to a credit union 15 years ago and never looked back. Good service and no ridiculous fees.

    • I certainly do not like all the fees that banks have, but didn't B of A drop their plans for the fee? http://www.marketwatch.com/story/bank-of-america-to-drop-debit-card-fee-report-2011-11-01 [marketwatch.com]

      • For the moment. (Score:5, Informative)

        by khasim (1285) <brandioch.conner@gmail.com> on Friday November 04, 2011 @07:25PM (#37953912)

        Yep, they've put that $5 on hold for now.
        But they'll look for different ways to stick you with additional fees.
        They want to keep increasing revenue. And you're the source of that revenue.

        On a related note, when you switch banks, make sure you know EVERYTHING about your transactions. Too many stories out there about how someone missed an automatic payment (annual or some other kind) and the bank re-opened their account, charged them and then charged them an overdraft fee. Even when the account was SUPPOSED to be closed.

    • customer service? (Score:4, Interesting)

      by KingAlanI (1270538) on Friday November 04, 2011 @08:07PM (#37954226) Homepage Journal

      I'm a currency collector and a WheresGeorge addict, so I visit banks very often, complete with unusual requests. So I suppose retail service is more relevant to me than others.

      Do you have any problems with the folks at your credit union branch(es)? I honestly wouldn't know either way. CU's won't do even simple stuff for non-accountholders, so I don't have any experience with the personnel save for a negative impression. I have gotten accounts at some regular banks that I initially visited as a non-accountholder.

      of all the issues with big banks, retail-location customer service doesn't seem to be one of them.

      In general, the cheap version of something is sometimes satisfactory, sometimes not.

      • I have had many big banks refuse to cash a check for me, too. As a non-customer of theirs, even when the damn check was DRAFTED ON THAT BANK, they refused! They cited some ridiculous bullshit about not being able to identify me or some crap even though they try to humiliate and even fingerprint you when you want to get a simple check cashed. Utter crap - that should be fucking illegal - if a check is drafted on a given institution, it should have to honor it no matter what.

    • by couchslug (175151)

      Thirty years ago for me. Safe Federal Credit Union has been excellent.

    • I just wish the media will cover this more like Netflix. It isn't a political statement, it is just moving to a better service. The fact BoA was stupid to add a new charge in a mist of a recession just trigger a big switch.

    • I don't understand why everyone hasn't moved their accounts to credit unions already. B of A is essentially bankrupt (propped up by cheap money from the Fed), so it's riskier to leave your money in B of A, plus all their fees and BS you have to put up with. It's a no brainer.
  • I've been thinking about switching my money from my primary checking account over to a credit union, though if i do i may very well keep my BoA account with a minimal amount of money in it and just not use it. It's the same account my parents helped me set up as a teen at what was then our local Seafirst bank. Despite having been bought out by BoA decades ago (or maybe because i felt like it was killed rather than having the chance to become disenamored of it like BoA later) i still feel rather attached to
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      This is an important sentimentality to reflect on. Banks and other businesses count on emotion and habit to keep our business even when their quality suffers. Does the BofA you see today reflect the values of Seafirst? Would your parents still recommend that you do business there? If you are feeling sentimental, frame your debit card after you close the account.

    • by kimvette (919543) on Friday November 04, 2011 @09:55PM (#37954810) Homepage Journal

      I've been with credit unions for several years now; I keep around $5K in BoA for convenience sake, but keep most of my liquid cash in credit unions. My credit unions don't insist on treating me like a criminal by fingerprinting me if I dare cash a check, they don't dehumanize services by refusing to let me talk to decision makers, don't nickel-and-dime me for services like BoA does. The down side to a credit union is there are fewer branches and fewer ATMs, so if I am out of town and need cash to dine or shop somewhere that doesn't accept AmEx, I have my BoA account for convenience. However, I'm seriously considering punting BoA altogether and just carry more cash instead.

      One huge, huge benefit of credit unions is the ability to talk to decision makers, and have them check business and personal references if you have limited credit history. About ten years ago when I started my business, I made a huge, huge mistake: I closed my personal credit accounts, and built up corporate credit. I did not have a single credit line for personal use, and I needed a loan. So, I went to the banks and was turned down for a loan by several banks (citing the lack of credit history - if you go without using credit for 7 years, your credit record is "scolled out"), and couldn't talk to a decision maker. So, I went to a credit union and they turned me down at first, so I worked my way up the food chain and talked to decision makers. They checked my personal and business references, and I was able to get financing. I ended up moving a decent chunk of funds to that credit union.

      Now, interesting thing: one of the banks I went to has financed several cars for one of my friends. He has horrible, horrible credit; he has had a home forclosed on, three vehicles repossessed, and they granted him another car loan shortly before I went to speak with that same rep. His interest rate sucked, but he was able to get financing. I asked about it, mentioning my friend by name and asking why with his irresponsible history he was granted financing, but with my responsible history I couldn't. His response? "He has credit. You don't." So I asked "So, you are telling me a bad credit history is better than no credit history?" His response was yes. That just pissed me off - and that kind of thinking is exactly why so many banks have needed bailout courtesy of us taxpayers.

      Fuck banks. We never should have bailed them out.

  • by KaLeVR1 (34637) on Friday November 04, 2011 @07:04PM (#37953714)

    I last had a B of A account when I was 19. They had the highest credit card rates of any major bank in the country. I shopped around for a day and found a bank with an interest rate 7 points lower than theirs. I moved accounts and a few years later found a credit union with a rate 3 pts lower than the new bank. So I cut my rate from 19.8 to 9.9 just by not being too lazy to shop around. For some reason however, 19 out of 20 people I tell this story to have ump-teen superficial reasons why switching banks would be too much trouble. The truth of it is, they are complacent and lazy.

    There shouldn't be even a single person complaining about the bank bailouts or Wall Street who still has an account with these money pimps. If you do business with them, you are an enabler and partially responsible for the bank meltdown of '08.

    • by Arlet (29997) on Friday November 04, 2011 @07:09PM (#37953768)

      I pay 0% on my credit cards. The credit card bills are automatically taken out of my checking account at the end of the month.

      • by EdIII (1114411) on Friday November 04, 2011 @08:24PM (#37954348)

        You pay 3-5% on your purchases, and depending on where and how, you might be paying considerably more. You just see it as wrapped up in the price.

        It's true that you are already ahead, but you would be surprised what happens when you deal with businesses and ask for a "cash discount".

        I get them all the time. On medical co-pays, parts purchases, etc. Of course with big name faceless places like major grocery stores you can forget it.

    • by timeOday (582209) on Friday November 04, 2011 @08:42PM (#37954442)
      I think the main reason people stick with banks that charge lots of fees is because the fees are designed to flatter the ego. Instead of upfront fees, they tend to charge penalties for irresponsible behavior. People tell themselves, "I'll always pay the card off each month. I would never make a late payment or overdraft. I'll get bonus miles paid for by all the other losers who bank here!" Everybody thinks this. And yet, somehow, the banks keep raking in billions of dollars. It's almost as if people aren't as responsible as they thought they were!
  • And now in the process of changing all my credit cards now. New years resolution - no Chase, Citi, BoA, AmExpress ccards by the end of 2012. Well I need the AmEx for Costco, what to do? I just moved my carloan to the credit union. I'll have to do my mortgage next. Let's call it Occupy Credit?
    • by Algae_94 (2017070)
      And VISA, MasterCard, et al. will continue to collect their money off of your credit card purchases. Sure it doesn't come out of your pocket directly, but it sure acts as pressure to retailers to raise prices. If you really want to do banks in, use cash for everything, but that seems to be downright prehistoric now days.
  • by milbournosphere (1273186) on Friday November 04, 2011 @07:09PM (#37953774)
    ...but they'll get it in different ways. I just received the fees schedule for next year, and it isn't pretty. I started an account at my local credit union, and as soon as my paycheck direct deposit is setup, I'll be closing my account(s) with BofA. I won't give my money to a corporation that is recklessly investing my money when i deposit it, all while nickel-and-dimeing me to death.
    • Be careful! (Score:5, Informative)

      by Duckman5 (665208) on Saturday November 05, 2011 @12:21AM (#37955572)
      I have had so many problems with Bank of America it's not even funny. They don't understand the words "close my account." After I get fed up with them nickel and dimeing me to death, I closed my account with them. I moved everything over to my new bank, but forgot to delete my debit card from paypal. Bad move. Six months later, my wife bought something on ebay and selected the debit card by accident. Not only did they let the charge go through, the tried to charge me overdraft fees galore. They even proceeded to send me letters threatening to turn me over to some agency so I would be banned from opening a checking account with any major bank. Remember, this is SIX MONTHS after I had them "close" that account. I will NEVER open an account with them again.
  • by denshao2 (1515775) on Friday November 04, 2011 @07:11PM (#37953790) Homepage Journal
    I had heard of credit unions before, but I didn't know what they were and I didn't have sufficient interest to find out. I only researched it after this Bank of America incident. Now that I know, it's obvious to me that a credit union is better.
    • by Phoobarnvaz (1030274) on Friday November 04, 2011 @08:24PM (#37954350)

      I had heard of credit unions before, but I didn't know what they were and I didn't have sufficient interest to find out. I only researched it after this Bank of America incident. Now that I know, it's obvious to me that a credit union is better.

      Love credit unions...but beware of any financial institution. The reason is that I had my account at a small county credit union in NW Arizona which had worse fees and customer service than any of the big banks. Found out after I relocated to another state and another credit union that their balance sheets looked like something out of a slasher movie with so much red ink with about 40%+ default rate on their loans/mortgages. With my current statewide credit union...they had around a three per-cent default rate on their loans/mortgages with more than triple the amount of branches all over the state.. Seeing this...I understand why they charged arbitrary fees and were more than willing to make sure they would do a B of A any chance they could get.

      Understand that any financial institution can screw you royally...but at least most credit unions will treat you better than most banks. Just do your research beforehand. If you can't get the answers you want...there are plenty of other credit unions who will be more than happy to help you.

  • BoA backed out (Score:3, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday November 04, 2011 @07:13PM (#37953812)

    http://message.bankofamerica.com/debitcard/

    • Re:BoA backed out (Score:5, Informative)

      by element-o.p. (939033) on Friday November 04, 2011 @08:19PM (#37954318) Homepage
      And?

      They are still evil. Putting their billing cycle on a 28-day schedule and their automatic payment option on a calendar schedule (i.e., money gets withdrawn on the same day every month, even if that's after the due date of their billing cycle) is just one of many examples I could give you of the way BoA tries to rip off their customers.
    • Re:BoA backed out (Score:4, Interesting)

      by b4dc0d3r (1268512) on Friday November 04, 2011 @09:07PM (#37954552)

      Others noted they will just roll it into other fees you won't notice as much. And instead of leaving this at 3, it gets up to +5.

      This is why most of my moderation points are spent on '-1 overrated' these days. You're not wrong, you're just not adding anything past existing comments. I would allow +3 for those people who read at +3, and not mod you down for +4 if someone thought you deserved it, but +5 is, well, overrated.

  • I am curious (and a bit too lazy right now to look it up) but doesn't the money we deposit with credit unions still end up in the "evil banks"' hands? Isn't all so much interwoven that you will never be able to avoid giving your indirect support to the big players in the financial industry?
    • No. Credit unions operate the way banks are supposed to, by keeping your money on deposit and investing it in the form of loans. They pay out a lower rate of interest (or "dividend" in CU parlance) on your deposited money than they charge on the money they lend out. So they make a bit of a profit (or "surplus" in not-for-profit parlance), but instead of raking in huge amounts via high interest and sneaky little fees and giving it to shareholders, they reinvest the money back into the credit union. That's

  • I gotta say, I'm impressed. I just hope they all go after the cell phone companies next.

  • Don't they know the Banks are closed on Saturday!

    Foiled again!

  • I signed up with a local credit union over a decade ago. In a decade they haven't raised my credit card interest or charged me any fee, ever. That might change if I went around bouncing checks left and right, but I really do get the feeling that they're not out to anally rape me. Not like the national banks I've done business with. To those guys you're just a rosy pink walking asshole that they just can't wait to violate in unspeakable ways, over and over, month after month for as long as you're willing to
  • by JoeMerchant (803320) on Friday November 04, 2011 @07:30PM (#37953948)

    I joined a Credit Union when I was 12, and that was a long time ago, indeed. I have never looked at a bank account set of terms and conditions that was not absolutely offensive and repulsive when compared to the Credit Union.

    Once, about 20 years ago, when I lived in Miami and the nearest branch of my Credit Union was in Tampa, I opened a local account to be able to deposit my paychecks locally. That lasted about 6 months, during which time they charged fee after fee, and posted a $20 "computer error" in their favor to my account. Computer error, in 1991, from a bank? The computer made a mistake adding a column of numbers? "Sorry sir, we'll fix that." Yeah, you do that, and give me all my cash, NOW.

  • by GodfatherofSoul (174979) on Friday November 04, 2011 @07:42PM (#37954036)

    When the moveyourmoney.info campaign was in full swing. Bank of America flat out lied to me about my mortgage, defrauded me on escrow fees, and conned me on a car loan. It was so bad I wrote my congressman and senators as well as the BBB.I went so far as to refinance my house to sever all ties to that organization. For some reason, business culture from this country has gone from "take care of our customers" to "squeeze those suckers for every drop of blood, then if they pack up and leave try to kiss and make up."

  • by King_TJ (85913) on Friday November 04, 2011 @07:59PM (#37954172) Journal

    I'd long heard the advice about Credit Unions being a better bet than a bank, but honestly, I felt switching might be more hassle than it was worth. I knew Credit Unions had membership restrictions, for starters. (For instance, Navy Federal Credit Union pretty much requires you're either in the armed forces, or a family member of someone who is. That doesn't help me.)

    I always tried to bank with smaller, local banks though, instead of any of the "mega banks". That strategy worked pretty well for me when the bigger ones went through a phase of eliminating "totally free checking" accounts, some years ago.

    However, I tried to get refinanced on my car loan a couple years ago and found none of the banks were willing to help me at all -- even the one I have direct deposit with from my work, and hold both a checking and a savings account with. My rate was WAY too high and I wasn't asking the world ... just an opportunity to get a sane interest rate. That's when I decided to take a closer look at Credit Unions. I discovered one of the bigger ones had 2 convenient branches near my house AND was partnered up with most of the others in town, so you could use ATM machines belonging to ANY of them free of charge. Their only rules for becoming a member seemed to be based on you living in a zip code somewhat geographically close to their branches. A day later (since they had to have the bank manager review my situation and he was out for the day), I had my loan refinanced at a rate a full 10 percentage points lower than I was paying!

    I switched my checking account over to a second Credit Union not long after that, and was paid over $100 in bonuses just to switch!

  • by John Bresnahan (638668) on Friday November 04, 2011 @08:09PM (#37954238)

    They had a credit union at my last job, and I decided to use it, in part because I was going to be buying a house soon, and I assumed that a credit union would offer a better deal than a "regular" mortgage company.

    I didn't find anything about the credit union that was better than what I was used to at regular banks, and when I applied for a mortgage, I discovered they had a "demand feature", which I had never seen before (this was my third time buying a house). For those who don't know, a demand feature means that the credit union could, at any time and for any or no reason, demand that I pay the mortgage in full.

    When I asked them about it, they assured me that "everyone did it" and that they wouldn't actually do that even if they could and that I should just trust them and not worry about it.

    I immediately dropped them and went to a regular mortgage company, which did not have a "demand feature" and offered a better rate. I later learned from other employees that the credit union had "called" mortgages of other employees when they missed a payment on their linked credit card.

    So, don't assume that a credit union is better than a bank or other financial organization. Some may be, but others aren't. Caveat emptor!

  • by RobNich (85522) on Friday November 04, 2011 @08:54PM (#37954498) Homepage

    1. Federal government passes law that banks with over $10b in assets may not charge merchants as much as all banks have been charging for debit transactions.
    2. Larger banks (the only ones affected by said law) impose a monthly, instead of per-transaction, fee to make up the difference, while smaller banks continue to charge merchants the same amount they were before.
    3. Outrage is expressed by the uninformed and pundits who have an axe to grind, such as Consumers Union.
    4. Larger banks lose customers to smaller banks, who will continue to charge merchants the same amount for debit transactions.
    5. Larger banks reverse position on monthly fee but increase other fees in order to indirectly make up the difference.

    Who exactly won? Thanks Dick Durban!

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by sanjosanjo (804469)

      Who exactly won? Thanks Dick Durban!

      I would say the consumers and small banks have won. Based on the 2008 financial mess, I think it's safe to say that having money distributed across many small banks is better than having to depend on the financial decisions of a few giant banks.

      • by RobNich (85522) on Saturday November 05, 2011 @10:03AM (#37957974) Homepage

        I'll just reply to you, since you're the only non-coward to reply. I agree that having a bunch of "too big to fail" banks is a bad idea, but I disagree the terminology: nothing is too big to fail. If the banks had failed, other banks would have bought up their assets, the FDIC would have made up the difference to account holders, and the people who made the bad decisions at those banks would be looking for new jobs.

        Instead, the Feds bailed them out, incentivizing their behavior. Worse, they made it profitable. In the future, those banks and probably others will do the same thing, because they expect the Feds to bail them out again.

        On the other hand, the bank "bailout" was forced on the banks [businessinsider.com] as a way for the Executive Branch to make the banks look bad, because people will continue to talk about those greedy banks even though they had already paid back the loans.

        However, this debit card transaction fee fiasco is not going to affect large banks at all. They will continue to make the same amount, because they are forced by their shareholders to do so. So every time the government artificially intervenes like this, the bank's customers will feel the pinch in the form of higher fees. And they won't move to "smaller" banks because they need national coverage, or the various other reasons that large banks are advantageous for their customers.

        Don't think that I'm on the side of larger banks. I'm not. The entire consolidation of US banks was started by various assholes including J. P. Morgan, the Rockefellers, and the Rothschilds, who started rumors that Knickerbocker Trust would fail [voluntarysociety.org], and then sold it short. When it finally occurred, they stepped in and bought the failed trusts and other banks for pennies, even getting government loans to do it. They controlled the press (by owning most newspapers), so to this day are talked about as the savior of the financial system rather than the cause of the crisis they profited from.

        The long and short is that the government needs to stop fucking with the financial system. If they hadn't assisted in the creation of a central bank, and assisted in the bailout of the "too big to fail" banks and every other smaller thing that they've done in between, we might not be in the mess we're in. While Dick Durban's intentions might be to help smaller banks (and it's more likely that his intentions are to *look* like he wants to help smaller banks), it will end up backfiring in some way. Because that's how these things happen. Every government intervention ends up backfiring in some way, and it always leads to increased costs in the long run. Recent examples off the top of my head are Sarbanes-Oxley and the "Affordable Care Act".

  • USAA (Score:5, Informative)

    by Revotron (1115029) on Friday November 04, 2011 @08:56PM (#37954508)
    For all you servicemen and families of servicemen, USAA is a great institution. They offer 100% free checking - free bill pay, free checks, free debit cards with cash-back, and they refund ATM fees at the end of every month (even fees from non-USAA ATMs). Deposits can be done via smartphone, scanner or at your local UPS Store.

    Even those with no relation or connection to the US Armed Forces are eligible for certain banking products, so if you're looking to drop your mega-bank I absolutely urge you to check out USAA's offerings. The lack of branches outside of San Antonio, TX can be a bit disappointing when you need to deposit cash, but the customer service is wonderful and I've never really even had a need to do anything in-person, anyway.
    • by basotl (808388)
      It makes me smile every time I get that USAA deposit back for profits they make in a year. It's a nice little distribution model to give back to USAA members.

      They also offer auto/home/rental insurance with some good multi policy discounts.
  • by SuperKendall (25149) on Friday November 04, 2011 @09:23PM (#37954640)

    I do most of my banking at a small online bank. They have pretty good interest rates (much better than most banks), reimburse a few ATM fees a month (since realistically it's the only way I can get money from the account with them not having a local branch) and have free online bill payment for as many bills as I care to pay - a model I greatly prefer because then I control when payments go out.

    So don't just consider credit unions, look around at internet banks - they can be every bit as good.

  • by WindBourne (631190) on Friday November 04, 2011 @09:35PM (#37954712) Journal
    The fact is that wells fargo and other large banks are investing into China's many businesses. Many of those are likely to go tits-up in this next year, leaving America holding the bag (and without ANY ability to sue in China or here).
    OTH, Public Service Credit Union invests into American businesses. Why? Because they are local. In addition, they are trying harder. I like that. Now, if I could just get them to get off windows and move to *nix so that I do not have to worry about China, Russian, Al Qaeda, etc stealing the money directly.
  • by Mean Variance (913229) <mean.variance@gmail.com> on Friday November 04, 2011 @10:32PM (#37955018)

    I am on the board of a credit union. Credit unions must make a profit or they will die. They must have some fee structure to offset costs of members who are expensive to service. The idea is that fees should be minimized to the extent that the CU can run a healthy business in accordance with its mission.

    Since it is a non-profit, the board is unpaid. We are members who volunteer our time. We must make decisions in the interest of the membership as a whole and that means working with the executive staff on decisions related to which services we can provide to the members and how those services will be paid for.

    The distinguishing difference between a credit union and a bank is that banks can raise capital in the open markets by issuing shares, issuing debt, or taking on risky bets in the form of loans and investments.

    Credit unions, on the other hand, can maintain capital only through profits from loans, investments, and certain income like fees and interchange fees. The investment side is tightly controlled. Investments are boring - bonds, CDs, money markets. The best income is from loans.

    There are good credit unions and bad ones. When the bad ones go under, the credit unions are collectively assessed via the NCUSIF (in most cases) to make the the depositors whole. Or the NCUA works with the failing credit union to merge them into a healthier one. But we are all collectively responsible for each other in a small way -- yet we compete against each other and banks too.

    Even though I've been with the same credit union for 22 years (and now on the BOD for 3 so far), I don't label "credit unions = good, banks = bad." I also have an account with ING Direct and had excellent customer service - all by phone, mail and email - for a mortgage a few years ago.

    Do your homework and figure out what you need and talk to people you trust. Don't think that you are necessarily constrained by a credit union. You might not be. It depends.

  • consumers? (Score:5, Informative)

    by hitmark (640295) on Saturday November 05, 2011 @06:50AM (#37956830) Journal

    Why has that word replaced customers?

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