And Gary Condit Should Face Justice, Now That I Think About It!

Before the existential threat of Islamic fanaticism took up most of my ire, I was most pissed about ATM fees. Guess what’s back:

Citigroup is not the only bank grappling with tremendous losses. Many financial institutions are hiking customer fees at record levels.

It may be quick and easy, but that ATM convenience is going to cost you. Citibank, Chase, Bank of America and Wells Fargo are all starting to charge non-customers as much as $3 per transaction to use their machines.

“I think it’s kind of ridiculous because everybody is going through economic hardships,” New Yorker said Margo Waltz said.

. . .

Several banks are also boosting minimum account balance requirements and experts warn this is just the beginning as banks merge or go belly-up.

“The fewer banks you have the fewer choices consumers have the more a sort of gotcha the banks have,” Ludwig said.

One alternative experts are suggesting is checking out your local credit union.

“They’re not going to gouge their members because their members are the people who run the credit union,” Ludwig said.

States currently control interest rates, which are practically unlimited. Consumer advocates are calling on the Federal Reserve to step in as they did after the 1989 savings and loan bailout. They want interest rates and fees capped.

It’s estimated banks collected $17 billion in overdraft fees last year alone.


6 thoughts on “And Gary Condit Should Face Justice, Now That I Think About It!”

  1. While this is unfortunate, though a possible work around is getting one of those high yield savings accounts from Schwab or Fidelity that provide ATM privileges on top of a nice 2-4% interest return. I believe its a dressed up money market, but I’m not a finance dude. The best things is these ATM cards credit you back all fees incurred. Through a rebate or instant credit I believe. Win-win.

  2. That reminds me of another fee-laden industry: Airlines. Another one…state and local governments that don’t raise taxes, but then kill you in car registration hikes, toll increases, rec centers, parks, etc. Anyway you spin it….

  3. But are the Schwab/Fidelity ones money markets? If so, that skeeves me out — I didn’t realize until after Chase took over Wamu that my Wamu money market wasn’t insured (at least I thought that was the case). That would not have been good . . .

    As for hidden fees elsewhere, don’t even get me started on that. The governor of New York just proposed extending the bottle deposit law to plastic bottles — with the caveat that the money from unreturned deposits will go to the state, instead of the bottle distributors as is the case with glass bottles and cans. I suppose I want the money to go to the state (F the bottle distributors), but the truth is they (the state and the beverage industry) know that it’s an easy way to (literally) nickel and dime consumers. In my experience, store owners make it as annoying as possible to return bottles and cans, plus you feel like a vagrant walking in there with a bunch of empties. As for the recycling component — hey, I recycle all the time — I don’t need a lousy bottle deposit to get me to recycle.

    Of course we could go on and on about all this . . .

  4. Having grown up in the Great Lakes State (land of the $0.10 bottle deposit!) I still cringe every time I just throw a can in the recycling. We’re not all as altruistic as you, Contrarian!

    Back to topic … all the banks are doing is going back to the way it was in, say, 1998. I.e., the last time they had econometric models that they could actually understand.

  5. To be clear, I stroll into the bodega looking like a vagrant with all my empties, which amount to, approximately, $2.10 a week, give or take (feel free not to judge, thank you).

    What I mean though is that most places have recycling programs so it’s unnecessary to make people return cans and bottles, 70s style, like there wasn’t any recycling program.

    And the extra dumb thing, in my opinion, is that in New York — like many places, I imagine — the Department of Sanitation will give you a ticket for not recycling. So given that it’s the law anyway, why keep doing this stupid deposit system. I think it’s because the beverage distributors are a powerful lobby. And now apparently the state government wants to get in the action. It pisses me off.

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