Bye, bye big bank
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written by Ron:
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Ron Cruger
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     Hell, I don’t mind things changing at rocket speed around me. So what if people are all driving with a cell phone stuffed in their ear and they’re only paying half of their attention to their steering and braking. So what!
     So what if everyone walks around with a smart phone in their left hand and the right hand moving apps around. So what if everyone is either playing with their phone or talking on it. So what!
     So what if prices of food and other things are rising like an eruption of Mount Etna.
     So what if the roads in America are crumbling and resemble a jagged moonscape and are a boon to mechanics who install new shock absorbers on rattling heaps of bouncing automobiles.
     So what if the Republicans are playing “Whack a Mole” with each other.
     So what if schools across this great land are laying off teachers by the bushel load and kids will soon be attending classes in populations of hundreds.
     What’s really important is that us poor suckers are losing one of our prime privileges. What’s ticking me off is that more and more of the big banks are charging us for having a stinkin’ checking account.
     Having a free checking account is as American as apple pie and hating the Yankees. As watching American Idol, Dancing With the Stars and swearing to go on a diet – tomorrow.
     If they haven’t already started, the big bank up the street will soon be charging you for the right to have a checking account at their institution.
     Oh, these banks are smart, they say their checking accounts are free, but they have an array of rules you have to follow to qualify. Like this one – your monthly checking account fee is waived if you maintain a $10,000 combined deposits balance or have a $15,000 balance on a linked installment loan, line of credit or any balance on a linked first mortgage. Otherwise you get stuck for a $25.00 monthly charge.
      Another bank will waive your checking account service charge if you make at least one direct deposit of $250 or more each statement period or maintain an average balance of $1500.00.
     Take a couple of days off work and figure out the best deal you can get on a checking account at a big bank.
     We Americans aren’t totally stupid. Most of us like having a checking account. And all would like it to be free.
     Having a mandatory $15,000 balance in their account isn’t what Americans want. We want free checking accounts.
     Wells Fargo is introducing a $7.00 monthly fee in some states. Bank of America is testing programs that start fees for checking accounts at $5.00 a month and can rise to as much as$25.00 a month. At Chase monthly fees average $10.00 to $12.00 a month and that’s just the beginning.
     And who pays more for their checking accounts? Why, of course it’s the poorer Americans – the ones that can least afford the fees.
     But, hark! There is something going on that shows that Americans do have some brains and understand when they are being gouged. As bank fees are becoming more visable, more and more Americans are doing something about it.
     Get this, in 2011 more that 1.3 million Americans opened a new account at a credit union. That number is double of what we saw in 2010 and the trend is continuing.
     As more and more deposits leave the big banks for smaller ones the too-big-to-fail banks will find themselves losing political clout. They might even get smaller and have to act like they need and like customers.
     Tomorrow I’m going to that little credit union across from the Costco parking lot and make sure they still have that “Free Checking Accounts” sign in their window. I’ve also heard that the people at that little credit union smile and say thank you to their customers. A nice touch. I remember many years ago when people at my big bank used to say “thank you.”
A special birthday: Heading for 100