Break Up With Your Big Bank

On February 11, 2010, in The Public, Uncategorized, by Donny Shaw

It’s almost Valentine’s Day — a perfect time for you to take a moment and reflect …and then go out and end that abusive relationship with the big banks. You can put your foot down once and for all and tell the big banks that you’re not going to go along with their lying, cheating, gambling ways. You have the dignity to bank with someone who’s not going to continually screw you over. We’re here to help.

If you’re still banking with one of the Big 4 Banks — Bank of America, Chase, Citigroup, Wells Fargo — you should take this moment, as we enter the season of love, to think seriously about severing that relationship and banking with a local bank or credit union instead. Their fees are fairer, their interest rates are lower, and, instead of gambling your money away, they lend to small businesses in your community and help to create jobs.

You can start by simply moving some of your money in the big bank into a new account at a smaller bank. And don’t forget to close that big-bank credit card account. We have a page of tips to make it super easy to do both. It really isn’t that hard, and it’s super rewarding.

And after you break up with your big bank, join us at 400 events across the country to pass out flyers and help others end their relationships with the big banks.

Ninety percent of all credit cards are from the four big banks, Bank of America, Chase, Citi and Wells Fargo. Americans are collectively drowning in $700 billion in credit card debt because of the absurd interest rates that are being charged. The big banks are using their market dominance to charge interest rates that are, on average, 20 percent higher than the rates of local bank and credit union cards. And the big banks’ overdraft fees for debit transactions are just as abusive.

The financial industry has gotten so big that their profits now make up more than 40% of all U.S. profits. People need to fight back so that there is more money available for industries that create jobs. Otherwise income equality and unemployment will continue to rise. At A New Way Forward, we’ve been fighting for almost a year now to have these big banks to be broken up by Congress. Instead Congress has let them grow even bigger than they were when they were determined to be too big to fail, and nothing is being done to rein in their worst abusive behaviors. If Congress won’t break them up, we, the people, will break up with them.

Start by breaking up with your big bank for Valentine’s Day. And then go out and get your loved ones something nice with the money you’re going to save from banking with a local bank.

This Valentine’s Day, It’s Time to Break Up With Your Big Bank>>

P.S. Help your friend and family end their abusive banking relationships by sending our message to them over email, Facebook, or Twitter. They’ll be glad you did.

Tricky Banks Create Servitude

On February 3, 2010, in Background and Research, Corporations, by Tiffiniy Cheng

James Kwak writes:

The person who got the letter above used to have an 8.1% APR. This letter raises the APR to 29.99%. But, if he pays his balance on time, he will get a “credit” amounting to (at least) 70% of the interest amount, bringing the APR down to 8.99%. If he misses a minimum payment, he may not be eligible to continue in the program. In other words, he has an 8.99% APR that jumps to 29.99% immediately (retroactively, actually, since it can apply to the previous month’s balance) if he misses a payment. Furthermore, the 8.99% rate does not have to be restored after six months of making payments, because the official rate was always 29.99%, and the 70% credit is just a “program.”

This attempt to get around Congress’s clear legislative intent is so transparent that it should be an easy case for the appropriate regulator to strike down. I believe the appropriate regulator for this kind of thing is the Federal Reserve. Maybe Ben Bernanke can show that he’s serious about consumer protection.

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No fees on charitable contributions to Haiti

On January 15, 2010, in The Public, by Tiffiniy Cheng

Yesterday, when an idea my friends and I have been discussing showed up all done and in my inbox, I thought great, but then I thought oh no! The idea is letting people pay each other easily through text messages using cell phone plans for billing. “Oh no!” because the original idea was to allow peer-to-peer payment that cut out a business that has been lobbied and distorted the market in order to monopolize on profit. We wanted to make it because we would make a system that worked, seethed in the altruistic reasons that make any good system work in balance (like the internet or open source software and Firefox). Instead, I knew this system and all other donation systems to Haiti meant Visa or some other big bank was getting an unfairly large cut — a cut out of people’s caring for others. There should be no fees on charitable contributions (maybe just to cover their own costs but they’re so rich why can’t they contribute too, they get kickbacks from the taxpayer).

“No fees on charitable contributions” is a petition and is the first real stand MoveON has taken against big finance because Obama has not yet been strong on this. We signed.

No Fees on Charitable Contributions
As the tragedy in Haiti unfolds, Americans are generously donating millions of dollars to aid organizations. But when they donate with their credit cards, the credit card companies take a big cut.

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