Thursday, February 11, 2010

Let Your Money Do The Talking And Your Feet Do The Walking

Yesterday I received a letter from Citibank, which said that in order to maintain their profits “amid the rising cost of doing business” (ie: consumer protection laws) they were adding a $60 annual fee unless I spent $200/month on their credit card. For all these years, they’ve been charging interest rates of 18-25% and they now want to also charge everyone an annual fee? I’ve had that card for 21 years. It was my first credit card, and for many, many years, my only credit card. This morning, I called Citibank,
reached someone in India, and canceled my card. I was nostalgic for the 22-year old me who first walked into the Citibank on Myrtle Avenue in Brooklyn, NY and signed up for that card. But it doesn’t pay to be sentimental when you are dealing with loan sharks. It took the man across the world in India just a couple of minutes to close my account. As he hung up, he said, “Thank you for choosing Citibank.”

Wells Fargo has been my bank for 12 years. I even got my mortgage through them. About a year ago, for the first time ever, I bounced a check. It was my mistake. I had the money, but I’d forgotten to transfer it from savings to checking. I realized the very next day, but by then I already had two overdrafts. I called Wells Fargo and explained everything. Talked to the bankers and fixed everything. I thought. But what the bankers didn’t tell me was that Wells Fargo had opened a line of credit in my name and used that money to cover the bounced check. I don’t always read my bank statements carefully. So it was a few months before I realized what was going on. By then, I had already paid over $200 in interest. I went in person to the bank, explained what had happened to a banker, and she said, “This will teach you to read your mail.” She was rude, condescending, and unapologetic.

Today, the New York Times reported that John Stumpf (see pic at right),
head of Wells Fargo, earned $18.7 million in 2009, up 64% from his salary in 2007, and double what Lloyd Blankfein at Goldman Sachs earned this year.

Wells Fargo has made their last dime on hidden fees from me. Last week, I moved my accounts over to a regional bank. When the regional bank’s banker heard my tail of woe about the interest charges on the line of credit, she said, “I thought it was illegal to open a line of credit without your permission.” It probably was, but how am I going to fight some fine print written by an army of Wells Fargo MBAs? Wouldn’t it be great if a great collective unconscious drove everyone to move their money out of Wells Fargo? In the meantime, John Stumpf is probably basking in the sun somewhere warm, laughing at how he nickeled and dimed his customers into the poor house while he lives like a king.

5 comments:

  1. I just got the same letter from Citibank today. I've had mine for probably 15 years and have the exact same feeling as you. It's getting closed. That company is going to drive themselves into an even worse situation by pissing off their good customers. Too bad...

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  2. Good for you, Anonymous! I hope we do put them in the poorhouse. I'll be laughing all the way to my regional bank.

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  3. I think you should start a "Cancel your credit cards and move your money to credit unions" facebook group using this blog!

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  4. Noel, is that easy to do? I don't use facebook enough to know the ins and out of it. Everytime I start to get used to it, they change everything around.

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  5. Yep! It's easy! If you click on the 'groups' link on the left side of your FB home page, it will bring up all of the groups you belong to. At the top right of the list, you will see a 'create group' tab. Then you just have to spread the word!! =D

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