Friday, December 04, 2009

I Trust Bankers Almost as Much as I Trust Lawyers

Please note: This post took much more time and emotional energy than I thought it would. Feeling that one has been ripped off by an institution in which one had placed one's trust hurts badly.

[Most graphics below may be enlarged with a mouse click]

The good news is that I no longer am concerned about my bank subtracting $105 to $350 monthly from my checking account at $35 a pop due to overdrafts. I signed a paper opting out of having the bank not rejecting checks/ATM-VISA withdrawals and charging me the $35 overdraft fee.

I have now signed a letter to my bank instructing them that if a overdraft occurs, the bank will send the check back marked "Insufficient Funds" and I can deal with whomever made the withdrawal.

My questions: Why was I not told of this option when the bank began charging the $35 overdraft fees? Why must I "opt out" rather than given the choice when the "service" was imposed?

Here's how the rip off works:

With the prevalence of Debit cards, the banks purposely allow you to spend more then your account has, as a means to earn billions a year in fees. The FDIC did a survey, and here are the results.

•Most banks that automatically enroll consumers allow them to overdraw by check, ATM or debit card purchases. About half of all overdrafts occur at ATM's or via debit card transactions, which tend to be for smaller dollar amounts.

•Banks surveyed earned $1.97 billion in overdraft-related fees in 2006, representing 74% of their overall $2.66 billion in service charges on deposit accounts. In total, overdraft-related fees bring in $17.5 billion each year to banks and credit unions, estimates advocacy group Center for Responsible Lending.

•Large banks are more likely to process transactions from largest to smallest dollar amount, often triggering more fees.

~ How to Get Overdraft Fees Refunded by haydengerson

It seems that I am not the only one from whom my bank, B B & T, made relatively big profits:

A "Rip Off" Complaint from another Louisville Resident

Thankfully, it seems that at least some folks are seriously looking into such bank actions

With Congress and The Fed looking into the overdraft fee scandal, some banks are taking action prior to being forced to change their procedures. Chase and Bank of America were the first: New York TIMES.

I am so very glad that this horrendously greedy actions by banks has not only come to light but is being challenged.

My next adventure is the corrupt world of money is to find out why my Social Security benefit check is $110.37 less this month than it was last month.


  1. Nick this all sounds SO familiar. Here in the UK there has been a furore about banks overcharging customers, and the huge bonuses banking bosses have been paid and the fact that none has been held accountable for the near collapse of the banking system.

  2. Dancing: I am sorry to hear that the United Kingdom is also plagued by banker greed! I forgot about the humongous bonuses that those at the top of the banking industry have received. As I attempt so struggle by Social Security and a small pastor's pension, the thought of a multi-million dollar bonuses intrigues me. However, I don't believe that my conscience would allow me to behave in the manner of the contemporary bankers who earn those millions.

  3. There are many people who value money and power over anything else in this life. I would find that life too sad and empty.

    Good luck with your Social Security super sleuthing today, Nick. Let us know how that comes out.

  4. There's been a big HooHa here recently about bank charges. A lot of people thought they would get a refund but the high court has come down on the side of the banks.

    Thankfully I have always avoided bank charges.

  5. Dear Nick ~~ The banks here are just the same - out for all they can get
    for as little service as possible.
    Good luck with Social Security - I hope you get some answers and help.
    Thanks for your comment about the
    poem I posted - I liked it too.
    I hope your leg improves my friend.
    as if you didn't have enough things
    to contend with. Take great care
    Best Regards, Merle.