You Thinking What I'm Thinking?

My Photo
Location: Vancouver, WA, United States

There are some things going on in this world that bother me ... that offend me ... that don't make sense, and never will. I dedicate this site to those who seek truth even where it is difficult to find, and who are willing to agree and disagree in principle, while steadfastly refusing to let irrelevant detail overshadow core truth.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

You fed up with the banking system? I am!

Unless you have been in a deep sleep for the last few years, you’ve probably heard a tidbit or two in the news about the banking system in this country; and by that, I am referring primarily to the large banks whose names are household words. You cannot drive down a street in any town and not see a Bank of America, Chase, Wells Fargo, Wachovia or Citibank logo.

And if you have heard some of the buzz, you know that it isn’t favorable, because it’s about the billions of our tax dollars that was given to bailing them out. Now, I’m certain that our country’s leaders had our best interest at heart – but I still can’t help thinking that we really had no business doing that. They got themselves into this mess and should have to get themselves out of it as well – or go under. Perhaps we might have suffered for a while – economically speaking – as a result of big banks failing; I am sure there those among you reading this that remember or are aware of the crash in 1929. But seeing how they are acting now – well, it’s just wrong.

First, very few people have taken advantage of the refinancing options that the bailout has afforded them. I recently read that it’s less than 100,000 of the millions impacted. Why? Red-tape! It’s very difficult to get through the red-tape in order to benefit from these changes. So, the money sits – are the banks investing it and earning interest for their own gain? Hmmm. In a related story, I was one of the early casualties of this craziness, too early to take advantage of the benefit – and, as a result, one of these banks foreclosed on our home, then sued us for the lost value in the home … and won! The law is clearly on the side of big business on that one, the individual’s rights are but a distant memory.

What really galls me is what the big banks are doing with their credit card customers. As a result of the forced foreclosure on my home, all of my credit card providers raised their interest rates to the maximum; one to 30.99%. Now, I must share with you that I never missed a payment on any credit card prior to this action – nor was even late on one. Still, they raised the interest rates – which assures that I will never be able to pay them off because too much of the payment I can afford goes to interest.

Now, what about the President’s new laws that are aimed at preventing them from raising interest, you ask? Well, it doesn’t go into effect until later in 2010 – giving them plenty of time to raise everyone’s interest before the law goes into effect. Brilliant bit of legislation, that. Got to commend our legislators. Sure, there are clauses that say when we receive increased interest notices, we can “opt-out” – which is to say, we can tell them that we do not intend to use our credit cards any more, and to continue to pay at the lower rate. I got a couple of those letters and that option is somewhat obscure, and the way it’s written, it sounds like something you’d choose not to do. Do it.

I’ve had it. I am moving all of my assets to the credit union, cancelling my credit cards with the banks and taking a low-maximum credit card with the credit union as well . They offer all the same protections as banks, up to $250,000 now, I believe. They haven’t forgotten the meaning of the word, “Service”, and they seem to have a genuine interest in their customers. Imagine the impact it could have if we all did that! We supposedly have the rights and the power – but only if we stand united and act together. There will be no impact if just a few of us take action, except that those that do will gain a good measure of peace-of-mind.