Monday, July 16, 2007

New Government Website Helps Victims of Bank Stupidity

Author: Nick
Category: Money

an hows i spose ta mail dis here letter when the post office done put ma picshure up on deys wall?

Today must have been a bad day in the money world because I heard no fewer than three complaints from co-workers regarding experiences at their local banks, including:

  • “My bank only had one teller working with 15 people in line.”
  • “It took me two hours to get my deposit straightened out.”
  • “My girlfriend dumped me over the weekend. Yeah, she works at a bank.”

But where can a person turn when their banks or bank-affiliated girlfriends do them wrong? The Comptroller of the Currency Administrator of National Banks announced today that, after three years spent painting their name on the side of their office building, they’ve opened a new website to assist consumers with their banking maladies:

At, you’ll find tons of answers to common banking questions, but here are a few of my favorites:

The bank charged $34 for an overdraft, which seems excessive. Is there a limit?

Federal laws do not establish maximum amounts for fees that national banks can charge on your account. These decisions are made by the bank—and in some instances, are prescribed by State law. [In other words, quit your whining, and next time, read the fine print.]

I was contacted by phone to apply for a credit card. The solicitor discussed a low interest rate and I agreed. But when I received the loan/credit card, the rate was higher. Can the bank do that?

Yes. The solicitor should have explained the steps the bank will take once you apply. Generally, the bank will review your credit report and the information you provide to determine if you meet the criteria for the offer. After the review is completed, you may not qualify for the terms that you requested—or even for the card itself. [In other words, why were you stupid enough to sign up for a credit card from a telemarketer?]

I wrote a check and post-dated it. However, the bank cashed it prior to the date written on the check. Can the bank do this?

Yes. National banks are permitted to pay checks even though payment occurs prior to the date of the check. [In other words, don’t write checks you can’t pay.]

Naturally, the answers to virtually every question on the website suggest that the consumer may be the one in the wrong most of the time. But for those who truly think their bank screwed them over, there’s a handy link to the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency’s unwieldy complaint form. Simply fill out the form, whisk it off to Houston, click your heels three times, and your banking problems will be solved! (…Though likely to the benefit of the bank.)

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