Posted by: guinness222 | December 28, 2010

” and at the finish line it’s ‘So what” by three lengths”

      Sort of a good passage to describe 2010 as we do the last 96 hours of the year. I am reminded of Dickens as “it was the best of times,…it was the worst of times”. I think a number of us have the full knowledge and feeling of exactly what he meant,…but let’s not dwell in it,…let’s look forward to 2011.

      So what am I going to do? Item number one,…never trust a bank or credit card company again,…and furthermore do everything I can to eliminate them from my life in 2011. Tall order, but seeing the way 2008, 2009, and 2010 have gone I think this is both a noble and intelligent pursuit. Bankers can not be trusted, as we have seen time and time again. The Federal government “overhauled and developed new and better protections for the consumer with a new credit card law”.  Yeah! Right,…and if you believe that have I got an iceberg here in Florida I’d like to have you buy! All they accomplished was a myriad of new fees and charges on top of what we already have! For example, my bank is bombarding us to go “paperless”, save a tree, “help us cut costs” , and be a partner with them,……YEAH Right! Bullshit! Case in point I went paperless, after all with the ability to look at the detail of my bank account everyday I should be able to be sure everything is working the way it should be, BUT one day last month I see a transaction go through for like $263.88, and I haven’t a clue what it is, so I click on the entry, which was innocuously labeled “automated debit entry”, a little box comes up and asks if I want to see the detail of the entry. Well, DUH! Of course I want to know where $263.88 of my money disappeared to! I double click the mouse, a few seconds go by and then a computer generated check for a the amount shows up with the payee being my car loan. Well apparently the monthly amount was lowered by some $18.26 and they just ran it through. No pain no foul, I’m satisfied now I know the why and the what for of things. Two weeks later I get my monthly statement and there is a new and exciting “fee” noted for $2! A “check image fee’ to see that check that was taking money out of my account. What the hell is it, Jeopardy! Do I have to guess what the checks are for based on your 16 or so character field for the description of the payee of the check? I am talking to a bank not F***in’ Twitter!

        Now this being the holidays we all tend to run a little short, and I had a check come in and I was short about $4 or so in my account, but I have “overdraft protection” where they take money from another account I have to cover it, in fact that costs me an additional $10 for that as opposed to $35 for an “overdraft charge”, BUT we had made a mortgage payment and drawn the savings account down to $5.00 and it had earned a $0.01 interest on the $5.00. SO the idiots transfer the $0.01 from the savings to the checking, whack me $10 for an “overdraft protection transfer fee”, then bounce the check because it was still $3.99 + the $10 overdraft protection fee short, hit me with a $35.00 overdraft charge, and return the check!! The lifeguard on the gene pool is not only dead, but buried, decomposed, and dust!! Thank God for the “new” consumer banking rules protecting me! (Can be read as highly sarcastic comment.)

       Now also like most Americans who have bought homes in the past ten years of the “bubble” our homes are not worth what we owe on them, thanks to the collapse of the real estate market, we are locked into high rates and even higher taxes from the cities and towns trying to keep their own heads above water. But hark the all powerful Oz, (oops I mean Obama) has had the federal government force a kinder and gentler approach by the mortgage companies. He gave them BILLIONS of dollars, at no interest rate, of government (read as taxpayers) money to “help us”, (Which by the way they immediately invested in foreign capital markets and started netting 3 to 6% interest on! I think I could live happily on 4% interest on a billion dollars.) So I applied as well, maybe a reduction in my interest rate, or a reduction in the mortgage principal was in order since the prevailing interest rates are less than 1% on savings, and my home is currently worth 20% less than what I paid for it 10 years ago!

         After months, literally, of sending every piece of information on myself and my wife, our incomes, our expenses, our income tax returns for the past three years, following up , and logging every call, at least 14 times, (and never speaking to the same person twice of course, and never being able to get a specific extension for any of the fourteen folks so having to reiterate everything on every call I finally got a call back the day before Christmas from them.

         What did they decide? Well in a nutshell they would reduce my monthly payment by $400 for six months ONLY and would reevaluate it all again in six months IF every payment was on time, and I resubmit all the income and expense data again, plus the new income tax return which will be finished by them for 2010. I of course asked what this all meant. “Well we’re reducing your monthly payment for the next six months to help you out, BUT we will add the difference between your original payment and this reduced payment to the end of your mortgage” Oh I see so the $400 times the six months , or $2400 is going to be added on to the end of the remaining twenty years of the mortgage at the continuing original rate of 6.76%. (What’s the interest on $2400 at 6.76% for twenty years?) So what is the bank doing,….”helping me”, to the tune of an EXTRA $2063.94 that I have to pay them in interest on the $2400! Oh yeah and I have to pay the original $2400 back as well. God I love it when banks “help” people! (read as even more  Highly sarcastic!)

       Well don’t get me started, but suffice it to say the mutterings in the Board rooms are beginning to sound like the old comment “Let them eat cake” that we all remember so well as the catalyst of the French Revolution.

       Failure is not fun, been there done that, but don’t have the tee shirt, (lost that as well), but sometimes you just have to let things go, let Goldman Saks, BoA, Chase and the rest of them all fail, let AIG go under. Sure a lot of folks get hurt, times get even tougher but at least then we will re-invent America properly (I hope), or should I start signing up for a Berlitz, or Rosetta Stone course in Chinese?

      To our government: Stop helping, you haven’t a clue what help is or where it is really needed, nor how to go about giving it! Just let it fall! Matter can neither be created, nor destroyed,…but simply altered. Even after a catastrophic economic collapse, we have the will power and the guts to rise again, even bigger, even stronger, and hopefully smarter about what we do next.

-30-

       “History is just the portrayal of crimes and misfortunes.”

                                                                 – Voltaire


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