Saturday, December 5, 2009

Know your bank.

One of the first rules in banking is "Know your customer". The banks are able to do this in many ways: our account balances, reams of questions and copies of forms on loan applications, credit reports that tell who, what, when, and how we have done business in the past. Banks know our social security number, our mother's maiden name, what schools we attended and the name of our first pet.

But what do we know about them? Only the faces we see at the local branch or the voice on the other end of the phone. Oh, I forgot the voice at the other end of the phone is now a machine.

They take our money because we entrust them with it. But why? What is this trust based upon? Past business? Great advertising? An FDIC sticker in the window? Our parents or neighbors have banked there for years?

These are the questions I would like to know: How many homes did you foreclose on in 2008? Where did all the government bailout money go? How much of your money comes from foreign banks? How many are homeless because you would not work with them? What kind of service have you given other customers? What does the fine print say and how could that affect me? Why are you only paying 1.5% interest when you are charging so much more? Why would you charge me $200 in overdraft fees for checks that total $50 and not let me know that my account was overdrawn until a week later? I know I gave you my phone number.

These and other issues are why this site was developed. We need the answers to these questions before we decide where to put our hard earned money for safekeeping or it will not be safe at all.

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