Over the past few days just about every headline, news report, Facebook update and tweet I’ve read has expressed outrage over Bank of America‘s decision to charge $5.00 per month for it’s customers to use their debit cards. Now, to be fair, the big bad government took nearly half of the debit swipe fee away from Bank of America and its bailout buddies by capping it as part of the Dodd-Frank banking reform act.
Honestly, I really don’t know what our Congressmen were thinking. Taking away one source of revenue for banks only means that they will immediately seek out a new source, or sources, to replace what they have lost. Do you think these banks can mismanage themselves all on their own?
Most consumers are waiting for the next shoe to drop. Many are running scared looking for a bank that won’t be adding or raising fees for basic services that they’ve enjoyed for years without conflict. Unfortunately, the new reality is that the fees are here and they are here to stay. Secretly in boardrooms in banks across this great land schemes are being devised to raise fees, add fees and, in some cases, create “service enhancements” that, of course, are nothing more than just a fee in disguise. It wouldn’t be surprising at all if banks started charging for bill pay and online banking soon.
Considering I live in the banking capital of the south I have taken it upon myself to inform you of all of the fees that haven’t been announced yet; it is also my responsibility to alert each and every one of you to the potential consequences of various ordinary everyday banking activities you might be performing which could eventually lead to an overdraft charge (or affect your credit rating).
Studies have shown that the inability of banks to replace these lost revenues is so dangerous to society at large that new customer agreements are being drawn up at this very moment to stop it forever! Cruel and inhuman fees are being carefully described in tiny paragraphs in order that they won’t conflict with the Dodd Frank Act (which, itself, is being watered down thanks to the powerful banking lobby).
One such fee that I’ve recently learned about has been so closely guarded that it is known only by its code name: Tom Coughlin. Yes, that Tom Coughlin, the head coach of the New York Football Giants. As you are all aware Mr. Coughlin is known for his predilection towards fining players he deems late to team meetings even when they are technically on time according to the clock in the room. Of course, in Mr. Coughlin’s world, on time is considered to be seven minutes before the stated meeting time.
Big banks have studied his playbook well and are set to unleash what I am calling an “on time fee” for payments made on all credit accounts, even when they have “technically” been paid on time. This has wide ranging implications for consumers, most notably those with mortgages owned or serviced by Bank of America.
In their research they have noted that the advent of online banking combined with cash flow uncertainty due to the economic downturn has resulted in consumers making their mortgage and credit card payments at the last possible minute while still remaining current on their accounts. Under the formula for the “on time fee” the bank will be assessing a penalty if your payment is not received at least seven hours before it is “technically’ due.
This information is highly confidential and I am putting both myself and my confidential informant at risk for publishing it here in a public forum. Still, it is a risk that I am willing to take in order to keep you, my friends, informed.
So, watch your timestamps people. They are watching.
Or, you could always tell them to pound sand and join a credit union.
Featured image credit: Frank Kehren