Chris happened to live in Minnesota when he opened his first bank account at age 18, and went with Wells Fargo. They were everywhere, convenient, and the rest of his family were all signing up with them too. Shrug – why not? He stuck with them for more than a decade. He moved around the continent and a lot of things changed through his twenties, but his Wells Fargo account was a constant. Sometimes it was a little inconvenient, but he stuck with them out of habit. Until his balance fell low enough that they began charging him fees for the privilege of being their customer. It took him less than an hour to switch everything over to a local bank that isn’t fee-happy. Why, he wonders, did he stick with Big Stagecoach for so long?
It’s been nearly a year since the first Bank Transfer Day, when people around the country ditched fee-laden accounts in favor of more consumer-friendly institutions, and yet many bank customers still find roadblocks that keep them from easily jumping ship from one bank to another. [More]
I used to know a guy who kept his money hidden in his home because he didn’t trust banks. Like, all of it. He would never tell me where, obviously, guess though I may (Freezer? Under the mattress? Behind the “secret” DVD collection?). He isn’t alone — there are 10 million American households that don’t have bank accounts, a number that is increasing every day.
Although federal regulators never caught onto my father’s First Bank of Dad, they’re totally paying attention to a Pittsburgh man who’s set up his own community bank right at his ice cream and coffee shop. He even doles out interest in the form of gift cards to his business, which might go over well with his customers, but there are rules against that sort of thing.
Sure, online-only banking is easy and convenient, but there are strange things that happen while the world gets used to this different way of banking. For example: JB received a call from Sallie Mae Bank that they couldn’t send him the balance of his matured certificate of deposit because they don’t have the capability to send checks to customers. Let me again emphasize that they are a bank.
Just as an NCAA hoops power needs a driven coach to lead the way through March Madness, a corporation seeking the Worst Company in America Golden Poo needs a CEO who manages to rake in ludicrous pay raises.
Wells Fargo continues to phase out its free checking offerings, tacking on a $7 monthly fee in six states. Even existing customers whose free checking had been grandfathered in will have to start paying up. Oddly, the bank declined to name the six states affected.
Nick was giving a presentation at a conference in Albuquerque, and needed to print out a revised version of his notes. He didn’t count on the printers in the business center of his hotel being out of order, and the downtown devoid of life, retail, and even Kinko’s outlets. Lacking transportation away from the hotel, he tried to think of alternate ways to meet his printing needs. That was when he saw the shimmering green Wells Fargo office tower… and formulated a wacky plan to put his bank to work for him.
The U.S. Department of Justice nailed Citigroup on mortgage fraud charges, getting the bank to agree to pay out a $158 million settlement while admitting it tricked a federal insurance program into backing bad loans. When borrowers defaulted, taxpayers ended up footing the bill.
If you’re fed up with your financial institution and are convinced it’s time to move on, it’s better to move slowly and precisely rather than rush into the move. The switch will go more smoothly if you take care to properly set yourself up for the change.
The Federal Reserve is expected to roll out new rules soon that could make big banks keep more capital reserves on hand, presumably leaving them with less money to lend. The idea is to make banks act more responsible with their stacks of chips and not need the government to bail them out.
Although brick-and-mortar banks are competitive, you can often find more attractive interest rates in online savings accounts. Making the leap from traditional banking comes with some risk, so you should be careful when choosing your bank.
New York-based derivatives broker MF Global filed for bankruptcy on Halloween, and its clients are feeling tricked because $3 billion of their funds remain tied up.
Earlier this year, Ken’s father passed away. He had been investing in certificates of deposit for decades, and had set up each CD with one of his sons as beneficiary, so that accessing or re-investing the money would be simple…or as simple as any transaction with a megabank ever is. Out of all of the CDs, the only problem was one at Wells Fargo. Since the beneficiary information was missing from their computer systems, they needed the original receipt from when the account was opened. Ken’s dad was originally issued the wrong type of receipt for the state he lived in, so there was no proof that Ken was the beneficiary for the account. Now he needs a court order to get to the account.
As it paid out $410 million to settle a class-action suit over reordering transactions to maximize overdraft fees and backed down after initiating a $5 monthly fee for debit card users, Bank of America has done some soul-searching. The bank says it’s decided not to go ahead with a plan to let customers opt in to a $35 overdraft fee on debit purchases made with insufficient funds.
If you happen to be one of the 10,000 households in the country with $50 million or more to play around with, Wells Fargo would like to talk to you. Well, not Wells Fargo per se, but its new brand, Abbot Downing. Named after a 19th century stagecoach builder, Abbot Downing is launching next year with a staff of 300 managing $27.5 billion of assets from customers.
No longer able to make as much money from processing debit card transactions due to new regulations, banks are expected to start increasing their bottom lines by coaxing customers into using prepaid cards and signing up for credit cards.
Some clients who are considering making large cash deposits to the Bank of New York Mellon will have to pay for the privilege of doing so. Responding to huge cash deposits from freaked-out customers who are fearful of losing their money in the market, the bank will charge 0.13 percent for accepting high-dollar deposits some accounts.