Bank of American Vampires


Can't we all agree to just give our money to credit unions?
The Consumerist uploaded some scans of Citibank's new minimum-balance hikes and other hilarious "changes to your account to reflect the economic environment, primarily as changes to our 'business practices'" to keep accounts fee-free: from $1500 to $6000. Everyone in America with a Citibank account has $4500 extra stashed away to be easily deposited within two months to meet this new minimum, right?
I've had it up to here with banks. I'll be switching to a credit union after I get paid tomorrow.
Yeah, I might switch as well after I get paid next week. I've only had good customer service with Bank of America, nice employees on the front lines, but at the corporate level they just seem worse and worse.
This is not a surprise. It’s a direct result of the Dodd-Frank Act. Dodd-Frank caps debit-card swipe fees at 21 cents starting Oct. 1. The cap replaces a formula that averages 1.14 percent of the purchase price, or about 44 cents. According to Bloomberg Government the limit may reduce annual revenue at the biggest U.S. banks by $8 billion.
Agree with You_Gotta_be_kidding_me but still, they should figure out new ways to generate revenue this is ridiculous.
You want to have all this shit like an ATM on every block in the USA, branches everywhere with tellers and foreign exchange desks. But you want it for free? And who are you kidding?, it's not like BoA is lending out money that you deposit and immediately spend as you live paycheck to paycheck. This sounds a lot like the shit that you all laugh at tea party-ers for when they complain about paying taxes. Either pay the fee, or grow up and switch to a credit union or local bank that's built on an affordable and sustainable model.
Agree with You_Gotta_be_kidding_me but still, they should figure out new ways to generate revenue this is ridiculous.

Suck me harder BOA
@5 Or B of A could, you know, stop mismanaging themselves and stop handing out huge bonuses to incompetent executives. That just might solve a lot of their money problems. But go ahead and blame the government's efforts to keep small businesses from getting gouged on transaction fees, because JOB CREATORS FREE MARKET YEEHAW!
If it's BOA vs. Mudede, I'm gonna have to side with BOA.
i understand that services cost money, and that's okay. but $60 a year is too much to put on the average consumer, and far too much to put on anyone earning less than the average consumer.
Is a vampire really all that scary when nothing is stopping you from saying "no thank you I'll be leaving now" ?

I suppose one thing we are all learning is that if you give something away for 'free' and then start charging, the vast majority of people will just stick around and pay you. Even when all your competitors are still giving it away for free.

You do realize that they are "in it" for the money right? If you don't like it, you can always take your millions elsewhere.
Go local, always. Credit union, local bank all the way. My mortgage and my business is with a hyper local bank who doesn't do any of this crap that the big banks do.
it's not like BoA is lending out money that you deposit and immediately spend as you live paycheck to paycheck.

You're right. It's the opposite. Depositors put money into their accounts, which BofA then uses to make loans to other people. This system has been profitable for the banks for decades, but it's only now that financial companies have pissed away easy money on risky mortgages and derivatives schemes that we have to start paying fees for giving them OUR money.

It's apologists like you that make BofA and Citigroup think they can get away with this shit.

And, for the record, I haven't had an account with one of those bloodsuckers for nearly a decade.

The fees only come into effect when depositors fail to meet guidelines x, y, and z. So, as usual, people who don't manage their money will get stuck paying, and they likely make up the majority of the country and the majority of people too lazy or ignorant to take their business elsewhere.
At least BOA understands something our government doesn't:

So, if people just cancel their debit cards and use cash, the banks not only can't charge them for the card, but they won't have the float of having the money on deposit.

I'm lucky enough to have decent enough credit to have credit cards, which I pay off monthly without interest, so when my bank sent me a a debit card for my checking account, I sent it back and demanded a plain ol' ATM card. I didn't see any personal advantage to having the debit card, so I figured it was for the bank's advantage. They briefly tried to hard sell me on the debit card, but when I didn't budge, they gave up and sent me the ATM card.

Even without the consumer and merchant charges, the main beneficiary of debit cards has always been the banks.
THey're only vampires if you choose to line up and offer them blood. But I guess some people are irretrievably stupid.
I would switch banks.....or, I would just start writing checks again. Believe me, the stores really don't want you to take the time to write checks, so much faster to swipe a card...I bet the blow back is hard and fast, and this nonsense ends shortly.
left chase last week over similar fees. felt great. highly recommended.
Yup, we knew this was coming, so the wife & I opened BECU accounts a week or 2 ago. Once we get our direct deposits and auto-bill-pays setup, we'll close our BOA accounts for good.
Seriously, if you don't like it go to a different bank. That's the beauty of capitalism that everyone conveniently ignores of forgets ....
ohh, they're gonna lose customers to be sure. it is a hedged bet based on the premise if they gouge enough off those stupid peeps who stay it will be at worst, a marginal wash.
Move your money, Sloggers. It feels sooooo good.
Why aren't you banking at a local credit union yet?
I'm switching to a credit union when I get paid tomorrow too!
@ 25 - "Seriously, if you don't like it go to a different bank."

Oh, you mean that nice humanitarian bank that DOESN'T try to screw over its customers at every opportunity, in order to fatten its own bottom line? And what bank would that be, oh fount of all knowledge and wisdom?

I think the phrase you're looking for is CREDIT UNION, not "bank" at all, you insufferable twit.
I wonder if BECU is going to be able to handle the flood. The comments thread on the Seattle Times article = the best free advertising for BECU, ever.


Some people travel a lot for business or personal reasons, and have to have access to their bank nationwide. Granted, most of those people can probably afford $5 a month, but not everyone can go local.
@ 32 - Salal Credit Union: "no-fee access to one of the nation's largest ATM networks"

BECU: "BECU offers free convenient ATM access nationwide at over 28,000 ATMs that carry the CO-OP Network logo"…

Don't believe BoA's scare stories. You can switch to a credit union and STILL access your money all across the nation and the world. Easy peasy.
B of A too big to fail; yet right up there with dubious fees to keep on padding out of proportion executive compensation.
@ 33 - Keep looking. There are PLENTY of credit unions that will take your business, you just have to deposit $50-100 with them to establish yourself as a member. Really.

I guess the big question is: Why in the world would ANYONE keep their money in a for-profit bank, when there are so many better alternatives available?


(And no, I don't work for a Credit Union, nor am I being paid for stumping for them here. I was a BoA refugee earlier this year when I washed up on the shores of Salal - and life has been markedly more pleasant ever since. :)
@32 traveler checks?
@32 Nationwide banks are a relatively new thing. Before that (like, I don't know, 5 years ago?) people just used ATMs, credit cards, checks, or carried cash. You don't need to have a local branch of your bank in order to access your money.
A number of the commenters here appear to be of the typical rightwing "NPR mindset" -- most of whom believe this to be yet another "business cycle" --- fully incapable of comprehending that the banksters blew up the fiat money supply completely, and that their austerity programs here, and around the planet are their endgame.

Too much entertainment TV, and entertainment news, folks!

And speaking of SF and Fantasy:……

These NPR cretins at least included Douglas Adams' Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy but completely missed the best SF going, Iain Banks' The Player of Games (and the rest of his Culture series --- included only one at #83, pathetic), and also missed Sterling's most excellent, Drakon -- while including some real dogs.…

@36 "Why in the world would ANYONE keep their money in a for-profit bank, when there are so many better alternatives available?"

Yes, and my little question is: Why would local editorial staff post on a blog about how their banks are giving them trouble when there are dozens of comments predating their gripes urging people to switch to a credit union? I know Mudede is solely linking to a CNN Money post here, but there've been prior SLOG posts of the "OMG you guyz my bank is like totally yanking me around LOL" caliber. Are they inert, ignorant of comments, or thinking "oh a bank changing its terms and conditions on checking accounts to be so consumer unfriendly as to lead to people leaving in droves, like cancer and STDs and fatal bicycle accidents, is something that happens to OTHER people -- it will never happen to me"? It's like they don't read online news or something.

This past spring, I closed my account with Chase, put my money in BECU, and went to visit family in Japan. While I was there I was able to make several withdrawals from incomprehensibly Japanese ATMs without an issue. No trouble accessing my money even in the exotic orient.

Go go credit unions.
Bank of America is a bunch of fuckers, collectively,
@37, I started carrying a few hundred bucks' worth of traveler's checks routinely after my first East Coast trip twenty-some years ago, when I found that my ATM card wouldn't work AT ALL in any of the eastern bank branch's machines, and I was forced to take a cash advance on my credit card.

I stopped carrying traveler's checks a couple of years ago, even though I could get them with no fees at my credit union or auto club, when I got tired of the increasing number of freakouts by cashiers or store clerks who'd never seen them before, needed consultations with managers, demanded five forms of ID, or flat-out refused them. No matter that they're "just like cash" and the vendor is guaranteed payment, ID or not.
Reading a lot of misinformed ideas in this thread about how banks conduct business. Banks don't lend depositors money, they invent money in a fashion regulated by the fed. Please see…
Louis CK: "Being Broke", and how the bank fucks with you when you are. Enjoy!
@43- The trouble with travelers checks (and money orders) is that they are way too easy to forge. That's why retailers hate them.
@47, you mean counterfeit? (Forgery shouldn't be a problem because the merchant is guaranteed payment even if the checks are stolen and signatures forged.) They usually incorporate most of the anti-counterfeiting measures that paper money does--special paper stock, watermarks, holographic or ultraviolet markings, security strips, etc. Anything more than a cursory examination by a cashier should succeed in spotting a counterfeit, but that means it's a training issue.

But it's been a very long time since I stood behind a cash register happily taking in traveler's checks on a regular basis.
Not to defend BofA, this is a particularly craven move, but unless they're getting rid of their "Keep the Change" offer, wouldn't using your debit card for all purchases cover the $5 fee with something left over? What's more heinous is their new charges for minimum amounts in your account...$12 a month for less than $1500?? Fuck that.
@49: I bank with them, but I've got a student checking account. Hopefully this won't affect me, or I'm taking my money and sticking it in my mattress.
People just need to move their money. Yes it will affect you, no matter what kind of account you have. Bank of America and Chase and Wells Fargo and all of these giant, blood sucking gambling assholes are going to screw with you any way they can. It won't matter if you have a lot of money or a student account. They will charge you every fee they can. MOVE. YOUR. MONEY. NOW.
Remember if your credit union is a part of the co-op network almost all 7-11's across the country have free atms. About 3 times a year I get stuck paying to use an atm inside the US. And when I do my credit union does not whack me with an additional "foreign ATM Fee" like the big banks. My credit union also does not charge me extra for using ATM's in other countries. And my mortgage is dirt cheap (3.375% and zero points). Why anybody who lives in a good sized city banks at a comercial bank is beyond me.
Another happy Credit Union customer here; we've been with the Wash. State Employees CU for over 20 years. Single-digit credit card rates, easy car loan, and we can withdraw free at any cash machine from any CU. Couldn't be happier.

We also keep an account at Chase (begun back when WAMU was the Friend Of The Family...) just to have free access to another set of ATMs. So far the account is still free since we have direct deposit of sufficient amount. Of course, we don't keep the balance above three figures, so they aren't making much off of us. As soon as Chase prevents us from having a free account, we're gone.

And of course the best way to get cash is not from an ATM but by asking for cash back when buying groceries.
WA State Employees Credit Union is DE BESS!
I left USBank years ago after receiving a copy of their 'Privacy Policy' in which they basically said they would sell my personal information to third parties unless I 'opted out' via written letter. Moved my accounts to BECU where they keep my information private without my having to do anything. Haven't paid an ATM fee in years - I can always find a CU ATM, and I just recently found that even the Costco ATM's don't charge a fee for BECU cards.
I pay $12 a month for checking, which I do not mind. To add another $5 to use my debit card? I have been with I have had the same checking account for over 25 years- which ended up being BOA a long, long time ago. I will change, however.

No local branches? Who cares. I went into a branch a few months ago to get a money order to pay a ticket. They had the ATM pads on the counter. I asked when they put those in. They told me years ago. Wow, I had not been in a physical bank in like 5 years. I guess it is not that important to me.
WSECU (or heck, just about any credit union) for the win!

Anyone voluntarily banking with BoA or any of its compatriots is an idiot. But as long as the idiots bank there, BoA will charge as much as it can.
RE: Travelers' Checks - I got totally fucked in Costa Rica recently using traveler's cheques. The cashier made me sign them all ($1500 for a wedding) and then decided that half of my signatures didn't match well enough. I got my money back, at home, but boy howdy that was a bitch. The word from the CREDIT UNION I got them from is that they're switching to some sort of electronic verification system/cards for getting travelers their money.

Opened an account at BECU just to leave Chase for the same reasons but damn, BECU has totally great all on its own. they're kind of old school but in a good way.
@48- Yeah, counterfeiting not forging. If it's on nice stock and has a watermark, it looks legit. To confirm it you need to call the bank, which may not even be possible given the time difference. You can check ID, but even if the person is right that doesn't mean they're on the level and unless they're caught with the goods or on camera, you can't prove they were the ones who ripped you off. Everyone used to accept it because debit cards weren't ubiquitous, but now that they are, why take the risk and the hassle?
We use a small, local bank (Umpqua). They've been super nice ever since we switched. I don't know if they have branches in Washington.
I'm assuming the big banks like BoA and Chase impose a "service" fee for closing personal checking accounts. Anyone know the amount of such fees and how to get around them? Would I just write a check for every last penny in my Chase account and deposit that check to a credit union account?
This is a great website to help you switch banks, with a link to find a credit union in your area.

I've been with my parents' credit union since I was a kid, and I,ve been 100% satisfied with it. They haven't screwed me over once :)
Credit Unions ftw!

People may not realize this, but VanCity Saving Credit Union used to be small, before the banks did a similar fee move, which caused all the students and working people to leave them for the credit union.
What @1 said. I left BofA last month after pondering it for, oh, at least four years and I couldn't be happier. (Although I switched to USAA banking, which is still a bank, but a less evil bank.) I plan on opening a credit union account this month. Fuck banks.
@62 Shhhh! They haven't thought of that one, yet!

Actually, I don't think they can. A checking account is known, under U.S. banking law, as a "demand deposit account," which pretty much means you can walk in there and demand the balance at any time. As long as you close your account before the end of the billing cycle, as far as any minimum balance fees, they can go fuck themselves. Just tell them, "I'd like to close my account."