Saturday, September 14, 2013

bank (robbery)

bank (robbery) 
by iben rob bed
‘bank robbery’: when your trusted bank electronically steals your hard-earned money,
without your knowledge and without your consent.

disclaimer: yes, we all know that we are supposed to read all of the fine print on everything we sign or agree to (electronically).  yes, you know… kind of like the way that you read every word of your insurance policy, every word of your credit card policy, and the 'terms' of every internet site that you ever click ‘i agree’ on.
       of course, even congressmen will tell you this: when a document (like a 300-page treatise used by politicians to pass a ‘law’) is written in legal-gibberish and contains page after page of irrelevant information, chances are you won’t read/grasp all of it.

(have you ever tried to read a book like that?  bet you 'skimmed' it. :)

history: when i was about 8 years old, i got $8 for my birthday.  my father helped me open a bank account, so that my $8 could earn ‘interest’ and so i could invest even more money.  back then, banks would secure your money, make good investments, and (in return) give you a return on your investment.  the idea of a ‘savings’ account was that you could actually save money – and earn a bit of interest on your investment.

current state of the union: today, ‘banks’ (and everybody else who has learned this trick) charge you ‘fees’ – even when they do no work.  there’s a good chance that you have a monthly ‘fee’ attached to your checking or savings account right now.

my dilemma: i’ve banked with a good bank (in florida) for over 30 years.  i used to bank (locally) with bb&t, but only kept small amount of money in the account, for local cash needs.  when i (arbitrarily) found that they (without having me sign any agreement) began charging my checking account $10 per month, i immediately withdrew every penny and closed my accounts.
       a couple of years later, i bought a house.  as loan companies do, bb&t ‘took over’ my home loan by ‘buying it out’ from my original lender.  bb&t told me that since they had my house loan, i could open up an account with no fees.  what they failed to tell me that there was a ‘minimum’ amount of money that i had to keep in my new savings account, and that a fee would be deducted from any balance less than $350.00.
       my bank information is delivered electronically, so, when i don’t do any banking, i don’t read it with a fine-toothed comb.  what i didn’t realize was that, since last march, they’d been deducting a $5 monthly fee. 

time for a showdown: i went in there today, and i let them know that it was wrong to charge people fees without telling them.  “telling them” does not mean burying the information under gobs of other information.
         the attendant/manager gave me the usual “you are responsible to read… blah, blah, blah…” and i told her to withdraw every penny out of my account, and that i was going to refinance my home with another bank.  she let me know that, if i agreed to a small modification to my accounts, she could refund the $$$ that they robbed deducted from my account.
         here’s the deal: now they are going to electronically take $25 per month from my checking account and transfer it to my savings account.  this deduction (which has no rhyme or reason) will begin in october.  it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out that the arbitrary movement of money (by a bank) allows for the potential for the bank to make even more money (potential overdrafts, etc.).

result: i got my stolen money back, but not without a fight.  i learned that you’d better be watching everyone who deals with you in any electronic-deduction way.  i am going to transfer every penny from bb&t to usaa next week, as soon as an ‘electronic transfer’ has been set up, and then i am going to bid bb&t ‘adieu’, probably using sign-language.

conclusion: banks are no longer where you ‘invest’ your money.  a bank is a place where your electronic numbers can be converted to pieces of paper (at the bank’s will).  those green pieces of paper will soon not be worth the paper that the ‘money’ is printed upon, because our country has no way of backing up the money it is printing.  banks can steal your money, electronically – without your knowledge, without your consent, and without the slightest idea that what they are doing is wrong.

do you believe your government (and it’s institutions of investment) will take good care of your money?  don’t bank on it.

final thought: learn a skill that is valued, and then learn how to barter. :)

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