The state of Colorado no longer outlaws recreational marijuana use, but the U.S. government still considers it a Schedule I controlled substance, so many businesses making money from the locally legal sale of cannabis are having trouble finding banks to handle their cash. One credit union formed with the goal of providing financial services to those in the marijuana industry received a charter from Colorado, but has filed suit against a regional Federal Reserve bank for blocking its ability to work with other banks. [More]
Thanks to automated payments and online banking, many of us rarely (if ever) write checks, but millions of Americans still pull out their checkbooks every day to pay their bills. Because they might not always have enough money in their accounts on the day they write those checks, some folks will postdate their checks so that they aren’t deposited or cashed until after that date. Unfortunately, the fact is that there’s generally no actual obligation to honor the date on a check. [More]
When discussing the topic of payday loans — or other high-cost, short-term financial products like auto-title loans and check-cashing — there can be a tendency to treat them like something that only a small percentage of Americans use. But a new report from the FDIC confirms that 25% of us have turned to one of these potentially predatory services in the past year, and that this rate has not been going down. [More]
The Military Lending Act attempts to shield military personnel and their families from some predatory lending practices, but a new report from the Pew Charitable Trusts claims that some traditional banks on military bases are nickel-and-diming members of the armed forces with excess overdraft fees, and a general lack of transparency.
Loans from federal credit unions are currently capped at 18%, though some qualifying short-term loans can go as high as 28% (plus a $20 fee). These numbers are far below the standard three-digit APRs you see on payday loans, but a small number of credit unions are still figuring out ways to hook customers up with these questionable, high-interest loans. [More]
The folks at the American Customer Satisfaction Index have released their latest report on the banking industry and for the sixth year in a row, credit unions and small banks have outscored all the large financial institutions. And for the second consecutive year, Bank of America is bringing up the rear. [More]
There’s somewhat of a stark difference between big banks and their smaller counterparts and credit unions in the realm of free checking. Not having to pay for such an account is a big draw for consumers, and according to a new survey from the U.S. Public Interest Research Group, you’ll have much better luck finding gratis checking services at those small banks and credit unions. [More]
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]
Chris was one of the many in October who closed their bank accounts with Bank of America, and other similar big retail banks, in protest over planned fees for using their debit card. But last week she found it had been reopened for no apparent reason, with a 1 penny balance out of nowhere.
Saturday was the fifth of November, and many remembered to take a stand and shut down their big retail bank accounts, transferring their cash to a new credit union account. Here’s a video out of Occupy Portland covering what happened on Bank Transfer Day. Interviewees talk about why they’re switching to a credit union, and how this is just the beginning.
Instead of charging customers a $5 monthly fee for using their debit cards, one credit union is actually paying its members to use their debit cards. In a direct jab against the big banks, First Community Federal Credit Union is running a promotion that lets members earn up to $5 a month for swiping their debit card.
In the month following the announcement of Bank of America’s (subsequently scrapped) plan to charge a $5 fee to some of its debit card users, at least 650,000 Americans consumers have opened accounts at a credit union. According to some reports, that’s 50,000 more than the number of new accounts opened in all of 2010.
Tomorrow is Bank Transfer Day. By this date, people all across America are shutting down their accounts at large, costly, name-brand banks and transferring their funds to new bank accounts at their local credit union or community bank. Here is an excellent video made in Portland that follows along with several different people as they close their bank accounts and give their reasons for doing so. One person wants to save money, another disagrees with the bank’s foreclosure practices, a third is mad about the bailouts, and the last is a union withdrawing its funds to show solidarity with holding Wall Street accountable.
As you may have heard, more than a few people around the country have been out and about in recent weeks in protest of — well, in protest of a lot of things. But what many of these people (and many of us who are sitting in our homes) share in common is that they’re fed up with the super-sized banks and are looking for alternatives. This appears to have led a growing number of people to the front door of their local credit unions.
Remember, remember, the fifth of November, because that’s when “Bank Transfer Day” is happening. By that date, all participants will have closed their big retail bank accounts and put their money in a local non-profit credit union or local or regional community bank.