Irony, or chutzpah?

Among the things done by the Obama administration that I really support was legislation requiring banks to get approval before blithely approving every debit card use that hit their system.

I mean, let’s be blunt, it was a legalized racket. My bank, if they had several debits to process, didn’t do them chronologically. They did them from the largest to the smallest. And it did all debits before all deposits.

So let’s say you had twenty bucks in the bank, deposited twenty, then debited three things at five bucks each, and then one at $19. Any normal, rational human being would say that you have four bucks left over.

This is not the way my bank does math. First they’d do the $19 debit, then the three $5 debits, so you’re in the hole for $35 each for those, and only then deposit your $20. Instead of being at +$4, you’re at -$99. Even though the $20 deposit was chronologically first.

So faced with being forced to cease this practice, I get a letter from them trying to sell the idea of overdraft fees as a benefit and asking permission to keep doing them! It’ll be an interesting call tomorrow when I tell them that this is something they should’ve done years ago. It’s something I’ve asked them to do before — not approve overdrafts. And it’s something they’ve refused to do.

I am reminded of the squeals from the check-cashing/payday advance places, before we voted an amendment forcing them to quit applying extortionate rates of interest. I don’t see that any of them went out of business. The one on the corner up the street from me hasn’t closed. Nor has the one further down High Street.

Oh, and my bank just gave their CEO a $17m bonus.

The answer is really simple. If your business model is built on screwing people, you need to re-think your business model.


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