Tag Archives: banks

Still Not Interested!

15 Nov

I was doing some on-line banking this morning and as I was scrolling through my recent transactions I happened to notice that my bank, one of the largest in the world by the way, made an interest deposit in my favor…for 5 cents!

Once upon a time when I was little an interest credit of 5 cents would have meant that I was a five year old whose dad had just opened a savings account for him with 1 dollar.

I’m all grown up now and I have quite a few more dollars in the bank but I’m still getting 5 cents in interest!

I tried to figure out what kind of a percentage that meant I was getting on my money but my calculator melted while trying to do the math.

Honestly I don’t even bother to add the interest into my balance anymore. It’s not worth the time or worth using up one of the spaces in my register to add just pennies to my balance. I just wrote pennies didn’t I? Imagine that! Pennies in interest on a banking account in the 21st century… when I was teaching high school the students would throw pennies at each other rather than keep the annoying coins in their pockets. Now they’re my investment income.

Honestly, I’d rather they kept their 5 cents than insult me with such a transaction.

But sadly, just the other day, while I was making a transaction at the drive up window, a bank assistant manager asked if I would like to transfer my money from my checking account to a fabulous new Platinum Savings account where I’ll earn 3 times as much money in interest! Wouldn’t that be a wonderful idea?! And she was so cheerful and peppy and excited for her offering me this great new prospect for my increased wealth!

Wow! I thought. 3 times as much interest! So, instead of .01 percent or .0001 for those who do math. I can get .03% or .0003 in interest on my hard earned and saved money. Why that’s 3 dollars instead of 1 dollar as thanks for holding onto my 10,000 dollars (that’s if I had 10,000 dollars…I’m only using that figure so my example can have real numbers in it instead of imaginary ones! As it is that’s 25 cents or one quarter per month…in interest on 10 thousand dollars.

Soon I suspect they will be paying my interest in imaginary numbers.

I’d love to be able to take out a loan from the same bank and then hand them 5 cents when the interest on that loan came due… wouldn’t you?

Of course that probably would have meant that I had only borrowed a dime.

I mean really, one of the largest banks in the world can only afford to give me 5 cents in interest these days on the money I put in there for safe keeping and which of course they are also allowed to use to make themselves money?

Has our government heard about this?

The one that’s made up of 47% lawyers and 43% millionaires?

Or is it the other way around?

No matter I guess…Because most of the candidates running for president this election cycle are promising NOT to bail out the big banks should they fail again, like they did in 2008. Do they realize that “in the banks” is where Americans keep their money? (those that have any) And have these lawyers and millionaire candidates ever heard of FDIC insurance, a law that’s been in effect since 1933…whereby the Federal Government (them) promises to insure our bank accounts (us) up to 250,000 dollars. (By the way, that’s 75 dollars of interest per year! Yay!) So if the banks fail…and they don’t get bailed out…we’re all penniless. Literally and figuratively!

Which, by the by, is how the banks ran their scam the first time! They couldn’t lose!

Anyway, I don’t know whether I’m more angry, insulted or depressed by the whole situation…in which the banks seem to know the law all to well and the candidates pretend to know no law at all?!

But it does kinda make you lose interest in more ways than one doesn’t it?

Who’s Struggling Now?

28 Sep
American citizens (along with other international students) can now attend all German universities…for free! And that’s because the last German state to charge university tuition has eliminated those fees! Wow! How do they do it? College for free? And for foreigners too? Didn’t we go to war with this country… and win… 70 years ago? Shouldn’t we be charging them money to go to our universities? And so much so that school is free for all of us Americans? You know, like that wall Donald trump wants to build and make the Mexicans pay for.
So what gives? Why is Germany being so nice to us and how can they afford it? Apparently most German statesmen and stateswomen believe that tuition fees are unjust and that they discourage young people, who do not have a traditional academic family background, from taking up study. Gee, In the Unites States that’s the whole point of higher education isn’t it?… To separate the haves from their money while also separating them from the have-nots, who don’t have any money to be separated from in the first place.
The Germans also believe that It is a core task of politics to ensure that young women and men can study with a high quality standard that is free of charge. For goodness sake where did they get these ideas? In the U.S. the core task of politics is to raise the interest rate on student loans while making sure that those loans are exempt from bankruptcy filings guaranteeing that America’s young students will be in debt to financial institutions for all time…and so far to the tune of over 1 trillion dollars!
And get this! Even before Germany abolished college tuition for all students, typical semester fees were around $630 and German students could also count on discounts for food, clothing, events, and inexpensive or even free transportation to and from school…Come to think of it we used to do that here in the states too, back in the 70s. I remember that because I was there! But then we got wise and realized that marketing to students, teenagers and even little kids is tremendously lucrative, especially when they have to borrow all of their money from adults! It was like taking candy from babies! or, er, well, selling candy to babies! And today we are all proud to say that the average student loan debt in the U.S. is now almost 30 thousand dollars…with a bullet!
Silly Germans! What are they thinking? Have they gone socialist on us…in just 70 years? We sure didn’t indoctrinate those folks very well did we? They never learned anything about free enterprise and unfettered capitalism! Now they are just giving valuable educations… to their children…for free?! And they want to include our children as well!!
Ach, du lieber! Mein Kampf! When they ask your children what language they’d like to study in high School, make sure you tell them to say, German! Duh, I mean Deutsch! And forget that college savings plan. Just start booking those tickets now! This is America, remember?! By next year a ticket from here to Germany will probably cost $100,000!!! One way!

What’s Wrong With Everything…Still?

4 Jul

I wrote this post 2 years ago and it seems to me that…Here’s what’s wrong with everything…still.

Banks can borrow money from the federal government at less than 1% interest. 0.75% to be exact.

Can you? Nope. You can borrow it from the banks at about 5 times that rate, if you’re lucky, wealthy or not a student looking to get an education.

Banks already have your money and pay you less than 1% interest to do whatever they want with it…including putting it in places that it doesn’t belong…and then losing it!

As if that should even be possible. And banks only have to keep 3% of our money on hand in case we ask for some of it back.

And why do banks who have our money to play with… basically for free… need to borrow money from the feds anyway?

How much does the bank charge you to: write a check? Make a withdrawal at an ATM? Take out a home loan? Take out a student loan? Take out an equity loan? Pay interest on credit cards? Close an account? Receive a paper statement? Use a human teller??? …and all at a place that has your money to begin with?

This is not how it used to be and Can anyone explain why this is how it is now… and how these policies will lead to a better future for you or your children or your communities? (I am assuming you don’t own a bank)

I…continue to… welcome all thoughts, insights and explanations.

Double Identity!

14 Apr

Well, it has finally happened! I apparently am suffering from an identity crisis…and all because my bank has just informed me that I can’t withdraw any money from the drive-up or teller window unless I show them 2 forms of identification! Who do they think I am anyway?… Do I know?

They take my money just fine without so much as a how-do-ya-do…but when I ask for some…just some… of it back? They can’t tell me, from Bonnie and Clyde! The Teller was very nice, and I know it’s not her fault nor her policy, and she gave me my money (this time) with only my driver’s license as ID…(you know, the one that I could only get when I proved who I was by showing 7 points of Identification to the State of New Jersey) oh, AND MY FACE! Did I mention I had my face with me? My face??? The same one I’ve been wearing for 60 years… this May!

She said, “I can give you your money this time because we know who you are. But next time you’ll need to have 2 forms of identification. I guess It’s because of all of the bank fraud and fake IDs going around these day.”

Really? How is it possible that people are defrauding their own banks, where they do their banking,  with fake IDs…IN PERSON?!?! Did I mention that I was wearing my face at the time? And did you notice that her sentence had “We know who you are” in it? That’s probably because I have been going to that bank for 30 years, looking like I always have looked…except a little older each time…with the same ID and the same bank account and the same FACE! And…did I mention…THEY KNOW WHO I AM!

It is now easier to go buy a gun, with one ID (or none?) return to the teller window, and then just hold up the bank and get my money that way, than it is to ask for it politely with 1 ID and a bank check and a signature. And I’d probably get away with it too because when the police showed up the teller would be like, “Gee officer, I don’t know who the man was. All I saw was his gun and 1 form of ID! He could have been anybody… I guess?”

I just hope I don’t live to see the day when I show up to the bank with my bag of IDs, personal attorney and birth certificate and hear the words. “Money? What money?”

Preying for a Little Regulation

18 Aug

I keep hearing a commercial on the radio that begins with something about how it’s no shame to find yourself in credit card debt these days especially with all of the credit card companies who try to lure you into bad debt and banks with their predatory lending practices…and I think to myself…When do you ever hear the words LURE and PREDATORY without hearing the word CRIME or DEVIANT right after them?

Unless of course you’re an animal in the jungle somewhere where there are jungles and creatures who want to eat you for lunch or dinner.

Once upon a time banks were institutions that existed to help people or communities to grow stronger through savings plans and investments and home or business loans that were affordable and designed to fit your needs and what you could afford.

But that was before luring and preying were decriminalized I guess… Now when the banks do it, it’s our fault for letting them.

Isn’t deregulation great? Whenever our government deregulates something they take the immorality and the illegality right along with it too so that corporations and institutions and people no longer have to worry about whether or not they’re doing the right thing…Just do it! It’s the other guys fault now.

Some folks say that we have too much government and others that we don’t have enough. I say that we just don’t have enough of the right kind of government…

The kind that’s of the people, by the people and for the people…remember that kind?

Eleven score and seventeen years ago our fathers brought forth on this continent, a new nation, conceived in liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal…about 1 score and 13 years ago we started to deregulate it…

Now, it seems, all bets are off.

Freedom: It’s what’s for dinner

Since When Is Doing Nothing a Job?

10 Jun

The student loan crisis in the USA continues to grow and this summer the interest rate on federal student loans will double  if Congress doesn’t take action. Only in the United States can Congress  NOT doing something actually get something done and that might be the most important if not the saddest lesson that our college students will learn…

Last year, Congress delayed the doubling of the interest rate on federally subsidized student loans from 3.4% to 6.8%. which is what the rate will jump to in July should Congress fail to act this time around…Isn’t it nice that Congress likes to set these deadlines in such frequent intervals virtually setting up a nonstop game of Russian Roulette with their constituents lives…not exactly what our founding fathers had envisioned to be the role of the leaders of the free world do you think?

If the student loan interest rates double on July first and increases from 3.4% to 6.8% this could result in the equivalent of adding $5,000 to new federal loans for college students and their families.

Since 1999, the average student loan debt has increased by over 500%  while the interest on loans that the big banks get from the Fed have steadily decreased… despite the fact that these banks worked hard to bring down our economy in 2008 and then held it hostage until they got what they wanted in massive bailouts from the very taxpayers whose children now face a future of massive debt owed to…these very same banks!

You couldn’t write a more insidious crime story if you tried!

And don’t forget that federal student loans with low interest rates, such as the subsidized Stafford loan, are designed to benefit students whose families make under $50,000 a year  and these are people who certainly cannot  afford to see their interest rate jump…unlike Congressmen and bankers who I am sure never have to worry about taking out loans for their children at all since they can no doubt use their “lobbying proceeds” to cover such bills.

However the one flashlight at the end of this dark tunnel of bank and government…congress…is Senator Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts who has introduced legislation entitled the Bank on Students Loans Fairness Act that would provide a one-year fix  by setting the student loan interest rate at the same level the Federal Reserve offers to big banks which is, believe it or not, 0.75%. That’s 9 times less than students would pay if the Congress does nothing.

So, what will our Congress do? Stand up to the banks for the love of our children…or just lie there and do nothing and let the banks make love to them? Either way, let’s hope our children don’t get it in the end.

That’s How We Do: Juxta-Posers

15 Mar

Today I took a drive to the Philadelphia airport and on the drive home, thanks to major construction and the worn out, pot-holed, crumbly highway, I was forced to a crawl just as I passed the relatively new South Philadelphia Stadium Complex. Where the Philadelphia Phillies, Eagles and Flyers play.

I couldn’t help but notice how shiny and new and spectacular the stadiums looked…however I also couldn’t help but notice that the names on the stadiums were Citizens Bank Park Stadium, Lincoln Financial Field and The Wells Fargo Center. And I also couldn’t help but notice that the surrounding neighborhoods were about as shiny and new and spectacular as the interstate highway  that I was traveling on.

And that got me to wondering…Why do we almost always put sports stadiums in the worst parts of big cities where then millions of people have to travel from the suburbs to spend millions of dollars to watch millionaires play? Probably you’ll say it’s so we can get all of that money that is being spent back into the cities…but that’s just not the case

Most if not all of these stadiums are financed by the crumbling cities themselves rather than by the wealthy teams and owners and financial institutions that have their names on them. And even though banks like Wells Fargo and  Citizens bank and Lincoln Financial pay millions for the naming rights, when you consider the recent trillions of dollars spent by the federal government in bailing out these banks then just about all of the money spent on these ballparks comes from…the citizens…not banks.

 That’s just plain crazy.

Many politicians and proponents of these publicly financed stadiums argue that new stadiums bring new jobs and economic expansion but when new sport stadiums are financed with public money, all research has shown that the population is actually worse off economically than before the stadium. 

In fact arenas and stadiums rarely live up to the promises teams, owners, and city politicians use to justify their construction. Cities are often left holding unsustainable amounts of debt because the economic development that is promised never shows up, and as a result, other services that provide more benefit to taxpayers like new roads and bridges and jobs and boring things like that are slashed to pay the bills.

Which when you think about it is insane.

Almost 40 years ago my home state of New Jersey borrowed $302 million to  construct  the Meadowlands and was supposed  to pay off the bonds in 25 years. Today because of refinancing, and redirecting funds for other stadiums the authority that runs the Meadowlands owes $830 million…on a stadium that was just torn down.  

That’s nuts!

Did you know that according to a new study from Harvard: when public-private partnerships are used to build such stadiums, taxpayers finance more than three-quarters of the investment, with teams and owners picking up just 22 percent of the tab…And every NFL franchise is today worth over 1 billion dollars!

It’s so ridiculous that it’s unbelievable!

And while our cities and infrastructures are crumbling around us we are cheering ourselves up by yelling, screaming and cavorting in the midst of abject poverty on urban oases as green as the piles of cash we spend there, named after banks that wouldn’t lend us a dollar under the very same deals and interest rates that they broker to build these coliseums.

Shouldn’t we  really be building these monuments to fame and fortune in the places where they belong like Beverly Hills, Wall Street and Fort Knox?

 It’s so ridiculous that it defies explanation…

But after all…that’s just how we do…isn’t it?

 

 

 

 

 

 

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