Friday, September 25, 2009

Stock Market Update: Friday, September 25, 2009

You may have already heard about U.S. Bank's upcoming change in our overdraft policy, that was announced yesterday. This is easily one of the biggest changes in all my years of banking! In the event you somehow missed it, here's a summary:

* Eliminate overdraft fees when a customer’s account is overdrawn by less than $10, regardless of the number of overdraft transactions that may have occurred.
* Limit the number of overdraft fees to no more than three per day.
* Offer “opt out” ability to any customer who would prefer that we decline or return any transaction on their account, whenever possible, when they are presented against insufficient funds.
* Continue to offer free mobile, email and internet banking alerts to customers so that they can become more aware of their available balance and manage their spending accordingly.
* Provide new customers the ability to “opt in” to overdraft privileges with U.S. Bank. This choice allows customers to define how they prefer transactions to be handled by the bank when there are insufficient funds in their account.
* Establish an annual cap on the amount of overdraft fees that can be assessed on any single account at the bank.

In addition, U.S. Bank will conduct a full evaluation of “how best to handle the posting order of debit items and checks.”

So, how did the market react? Well, our stock was one of the few bank stocks I track that took a bit of a jump today!

And as an end of the week special treat, here's an interesting story I got from Ashleigh Martins at 29th & Willamette about one woman's encounter with Bank of America . . .

Two weeks ago, Ann Minch of Red Bluff, Calif. announced in a YouTube video that she'd launched a one-woman "Debtors' Revolt" and would refuse to pay off her credit card balance after an unfair interest-rate hike. Now, after her video made a huge splash, Bank of America has agreed to reduce her rate.

Minch said in a video posted Saturday that a Bank of America executive contacted her on Friday.

"He asked me to talk a little about my personal financial situation so we can negotiate some kind of agreement in regard to my existing credit card account," she said. The executive "tried to get me to agree to 16.99 percent and I said, 'No, nope, I believe because you guys are getting your money from the Fed at zero percent interest... that 12.99 percent is a more than generous profit margin for you guys.' So he did finally agree to that and he also agreed to send me that in writing."

Minch's first video has been viewed over 240,000 times. After the Huffington Post featured the 46-year-old stepmother of two in a story, she found herself inundated with media requests from the likes of NBC, CBS, Fox News and also a local reporter.

Minch said the Bank of America executive was very polite and didn't bring up her video, in which she called Bank of America executives "evil, thieving bastards."

So, the moral of the story is: A rolling stone gathers no moss. No, that's not it. A stitch in time saves nine. No . . . Yo momma's so fat that when she sits around the house she sits AROUND the house. Hmmm . . . You can fool some of the people some of the time but fool me twice and shame on me. Oh, wait, wait, wait! The squeeky wheel gets the grease!
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