Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Fees from the giant banks now at the highest level ever recorded

That's the headline from this Clark Howard online article. If  you're not familiar with Howard, he has a radio program and a TV show on HLN talking about ways to "spend less, save more and not get ripped off." He's a consumer advocate. While I listen to a lot of Christian financial programs, Howard doesn't put his faith (or lack of) on the air. His show is strictly about money and ways to help.

In his article, Clark sites a newspaper article that says that AM fees, checking fees and overdraft fees have all gone up. But wait, didn't Congress solve this problem? Didn't they pass a law commonly called the CARD Act? Didn't a well-known blogger tell us about that here?

Well you're right, on all of those. Congress has also been targeting bank fees and made it so that you can't overdraft unless you ask for the protection.  But banks will continue to find all legal means to turn a buck. That's what banks do. They try to make a profit.

Back in June, the NY Times called this a "New Day for Consumers". A consumer bureau was created and the President appointed (while Congress was on vacation) a head of that bureau who will certainly write new regulations and probably attack this problem once they read my blog.

In the mean time, what do you do about the fees? Clark Howard thinks "the reality is you have so much choice in the marketplace." He suggests "a credit union or small community bank." He also likes online banks, which is a good fit for a lot of people.

So if your bank is charging you fees, shop around. You'll be glad you did.

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