So you’re tired of banking at one of the big, faceless national chains and want to keep your money local? You can try one of the recent sites devoted to the local bank movement, like anewwayforward.org or moveyourmoney.info, or you can follow this Kiplinger columnist’s lead and do it yourself with a little online research. [More]
If you checked your bank account balance to see a mysterious $230,000 deposit, what would you do? If your answer is “contact the bank and make sure the money goes back to its rightful owner,” you are correct. If you said “buy a Camaro and a new wardrobe, check into a hotel, and brag about your windfall to a police officer,” you are incorrect. Unfortunately, an Alaska fisherman chose that second option, and now he’s in jail. [More]
Credit unions might be attractive alternatives to big commercial banks, but they’re not crisis-proof. OregonLive says about a fifth of the nation’s credit unions are having financial troubles right now. To get in better financial health, they’re introducing fees for services that have long been free, and even asking members to move their deposits to other institutions. [More]
Sick of interest rate hikes, new hidden fees, and their credit lines cut, more consumers are trying their local credit union a shot. This CBS video takes a look at a credit union in Michigan who bought back their credit card program that they had sold to large bank after members started complaining. [More]
Do you envy iPhone users’ ability to deposit checks in their USAA accounts by snapping a picture and using a fancy secure app? Now, check-zapping abilities have been granted to phones using Google’s Android mobile operating system. [More]
As a nation, we pay more each year in overdraft fees than we do for books, cereal, or fresh vegetables, says the Center for Responsible Lending (CRL)—and considering how outrageously expensive cereal is, they must be talking about a huge sum. They are: “Banks and credit unions collected nearly $24 billion in overdraft fees last year, an increase of 35 percent from just two years earlier.”
The “credit union on steroids” has gone to mandatory binding arbitration for all disputes, removing customers’ ability to successfully sue them if things go wrong. Previously, USAA had arbitration as an option, but allowed members to opt out. Now, if you want to opt out of arbitration, you’ll have to close your accounts.
Private loans are the worst type of student debt, but the best place to get them may be your local credit union. Like most credit union products, their loans are usually a better deal with more favorable terms than similar loans from bigger banks.
Two Harvard doctoral students in economics compared how credit unions and banks operated their credit card divisions, and concluded that the recent CARD act “is likely to bring about moderate, and even positive, changes,” as banks begin to emulate parts of the fairer business model of credit unions. Specifically, they say, all the doom and gloom from the banking industry about how consumers will get shafted by the new rules is mostly fearmongering.
Poor Ruben just wants his Disney Credit Union card to work, but there appears to be no hope — unless he can stand to listen to an hour of the Main Street Electrical Parade Theme while on hold. If you’re not familiar with this particular composition, let us assure you that it is the kind of music used in interrogations to extract confessions.
Last week we raised the ire of plenty of USAA fans by posting a story about a woman’s IRA that went missing for nearly a day. We were as surprised as many of you that she’d received such poor customer service from the first CSR she spoke with, considering USAA’s usually stellar reputation. But the next day someone from USAA contacted Travis and his wife to find out what went wrong. Here’s Travis’ update.
USAA just pulled a huge mindf#@k on Travis and his wife, and now he wants to talk to someone high enough up the chain to find out what went wrong and how to prevent it from happening again. His wife “went online yesterday to check on some transactions and discovered her IRA balance was $0. Six hours prior to that, her balance was $14,000.” When she tried to find out what had happened, the first CSR she spoke with told her she had no IRA account, and the second CSR told her to refresh her browser. Yeah, you know how these newfangled browswers are always wiping out retirement accounts.
Rick has been trying for months to get his his credit union, Opportunities Credit Union of Vermont, to pay up for a $125 home inspection, and now, a week after sending his EECB, he prevailed. As we wrote last week, his credit union was supposed to pay for a home inspection but said they didn’t have to because the bill was never sent. However, the home inspector uses an electronic billing system and it showed that the credit union rep had in fact read the sent bill. Emails and phone calls between Rick and his credit union rep led to a stalemate. Then Jim sent off an executive email carpet bomb and got the following back from the credit union president:
Consumers in Washington D.C. have apparently flocked to credit unions since the district outlawed payday lending last year. Payday lenders whined that lending without 300% APRs was utterly unaffordable, but credit unions are proving that it’s possible to make long-term, low-dollar loans with interest rates as low as 16%.
A former FDIC employee writes that the FDIC’s call center (877-275-3342) is “a tremendously helpful place to get basic referral information if you’re having trouble with your bank, lender, or finance company.” They can’t help you with complaints, but they can route you to the correct agency, provide credit union contact info, and give you the names and numbers of state agencies where your bank is located.
My adjustable rate mortgage with Verity Credit Union is due to reset next month. As part of the note there is an option to convert to a fixed rate. The calculation of this fixed rate is clearly defined as equal to Fannie Mae’s required net yield for a 30 year fixed rate covered by an applicable 60-day mandatory delivery commitment plus five-eighths of one percentage point, rounded to the nearest five-eighths of one percentage point. So take the Fannie Mae 30 year 60 day rate add 5/8ths and round to the nearest eighth. The note said the note holder got to decide the day of the rate but Verity was nice enough to let me pick which day I wanted as long as I gave them 15 days notice before the reset date. I patiently watched the rates every day and fortunately right before I was to give them notice rates were steadily declining…