Last Friday the website Techdirt posted a story about how Chris Dodd ex senator and CEO of the Motion Picture Association of America issued treats to politicians who had taken money from Hollywood, but refused to pass SOPA/PIPA. His sin is that he talked about what everybody knew. If you receive money from donators then you are expected to return favorable legislation in return. Chris Dodd went on Fox News threatening politicians who receive MPAA donations. Dodd said: “Those who count on quote ‘Hollywood’ for support need to understand that this industry is watching very carefully who’s going to stand up for them when their job is at stake. Don’t ask me to write a check for you when you think your job is at risk and then don’t pay any attention to me when my job is at stake,” This sparked an outrage a petition went up at the White House’s We The People site. It asks for a federal investigation of Dodd and the MPAA to see if they were “bribing” public officials. When I went to sign it had over 25,000 signatures on it. He is barred from becoming a lobbyist until 2013 but it seems like he’s acting as one now. It seems you can’t find a reliable crooked politician anywhere these days Politico Techdirt Tell the White House You’re Mad as Hell
Bank Fees Gone Wild
Seems that bank fees are going up. Prompted by a new federal regulation starting October 1st limiting the cut banks can take from merchants at the point of sale. To offset this many of the country’s largest banks will be sticking it to the average Joe more and more.
The Greedy Gets Greedier
Bank of America will increase it’s monthly checking rate around 25 percent to $12. And they will impose a five dollar monthly fee for using debit cards to make purchases. Starting next year they will roll out a new program that has monthly charges mandated even if they maintain a minimum balance amount or by using direct deposits. A work colleague of who used BoA tells me that they impose a monthly saving charge on him. A savings fee? They are charging customers for the privilege of using their money as investment capital. You want to talk to a real live teller? That’s going to run you 9 dollars more a month. Chase Bank will start charging their new customers 100 percent more in monthly checking account fees. They are also testing a five dollar ATM fee for non customers. Citigroup announced earlier this month that it would charge customers a $10 monthly fee if their account drops below $1500.
What to Do?
You can do what I’ve always done. Move your money to smaller community based banks and credit unions. These banks (and credit unions) draw the majority of their proceeds from the individual customer. Credit unions especially are member owned and members decide what fees are fair. Not some faceless board of directors a thousand miles away. All through the financial crisis of 2008 my credit union remained fiscally sound. They are investing local member money and cannot take risky chances.
In fact a few years ago, I noticed my 5 dollar monthly checking fee wasn’t being withdrawn anymore. When I inquired about it, yeah I know a real person free of charge, they told me once I turned 50 the account was free. I begged them to charge me the fee but they were having none of it. They called me sir, offered me a lollipop and sent me on my way.
Several years ago during one of my PCS moves I ran out of checks due to several check issuing Snafu’s. My bank was a thousand miles away. I was getting paid through direct deposit but couldn’t access any of it. I vowed then I was always going to be able to walk up to a teller and lay hands on my funds right there.
During the savings and loan fiasco of the early 80s, I being a brand new military member with less than a year of employment, could not secure a car loan anywhere. It was a local credit union in my hometown that came through. The VP of the credit union talked to me face to face. Being a retired GI he understood the relative low pay. He also understood that room and board wasn’t a issue either. ( Barracks and chow hall). That’s something a big national corporate bank would never have done.