consumer

Happy Bank Transfer Day!

Happy Bank Transfer Day!

bank transfer day
Otherwise known as - you're charging me 22% credit card interest when I have a FICO score above 750 and no missed payments? Seriously?

Today has been declared bank transfer day. A nationwide consumer call to action to pull money from Too Big To Fail, derivative ridden, foreclosure fraud laden, fee crazed, bail out happy, offshore outsourcing our jobs, banks.

Credit Unions are rejoicing and celebrating the event. From a Credit Union National Association, press release:

At least 650,000 consumers across the nation have joined credit unions in the past four weeks

This represents $4.5 billion in deposit transfers to credit unions. The online banks and smaller banks probably have similar amounts in transfers.

The Federal Reserve statistics on money stocks show fed up customers have a long way to go to make a serious dent on commercial banks. Savings deposits at commercial banks are about $5 trillion whereas credit unions, thrifts are about a trillion. Checking accounts and the like are a little more even, with about $237 billion at commercial banks and $177 billion at credit unions, savings and loans. Growing the credit unions, smaller financial institutions that actually give the consumer a good deal, loan, invest in the real U.S. economy and hire Americans ....well, let's just say ya gotta start somewhere.

You Do Count - BoA Backs Off Predatory Debit Fee

We all know our vote doesn't count. We all know our government elected officials simply doe whatever corporate lobbyists want them to do and America be damned. But there is one vote that still seems to matter these days and that's your vote as a consumer. You just won. Bank of America dropped their $5 buck a month debit card fee:

BoA Took the Money and Ran, You Should Too

By now all of America has heard about BoA's $5 dollar a month fee to use a debit card, or $60 dollars a year just to use a standard feature of any checking account in the digital age.

The question becomes, why would anyone keep their money with Bank of America?  Switch!  It's easy!  There are all sorts of online banks, credit unions which offer free checking, assuredly free debit card use, free ATMs and even offer interest on low balance checking.

 

 

America, vote with your consumer power and leave BoA, Wells Fargo or any other financial institution nickel and diming you to death. All these banks care about is keeping their executive bonuses rolling in.

Today we've heard from the 2008 TARP bank bail out inspector general, SIGTARP, that banks left TARP early, not because they wanted to pay back the taxpayer, or because they were financially stable....they left the bank bail out early in order to increase executive pay. The terms of TARP limited executive pay so banks were hell bent on getting out of it, despite their flimsy financial footing.

Guess who was at the top of that list?  Bank of America.

Economic things I learned or overheard this Memorial Day

I’m a sucker for barbeques, especially good ones.  Normally I’m not a “family” person, but I am a people person.  When it comes to barbeques, though I tend to even go to the ones my family puts out.  This year I hosted, unfortunately the weather was not on my side and being someone into risk management I decided to hold an “indoor bbq.”  The food, as always, was good, but my other type of appetite was also satisfied, my hunger for news and tid bits. 

The American consumer capitulates

Back in August 2007 I wrote a diary entitled, Are Hard Times near? The Great Decline in interest rates is ending, that began:

The American consumer has had largely stagnant wages since 1974. While from 1980 through 2006, the median income of an American household has risen only from $39,700 to $48,200 in real terms, house prices for example have shot up form nearly $125,000 to $246,500. Consumers have responded generally by taking on more and more debt. Total household debt service has risen from 16% in 1980 to 19.4% in 2006.

Neutron Bomb over Wall Street?

One of the heretical thoughts I continue to hold is that the "slow motion bust" that we are living through, may not proceed to destroy the entire economy like a nuclear bomb. Rather, like a neutron bomb over Wall Street, it might destroy the financial sector but leave most of the economic infrastructure in place. If it is a worthy goal that the doctrine of "Profits are privatized, losses are socialized" must cease, then it may be an absolute tonic if several financial enterprises thought "too big to fail", nevertheless do.

A noteworthy graph from Yahoo finance demonstrates that the "neutron bomb" scenario indeed may be unfurling. The graph below covers the last 3 years for the S & P 500 (red) and compares it with the financial sector as represented by the Financial SPDR (blue), starting from a baseline (0%) of 5 years ago:

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