07 April 2006

Pathetic banking industry

I've just been scammed by my bank - Washington Mutual - twice.

First, I made a $300 cash deposit at an ATM, which mysteriously shrank to $1; just who the hell would deposit a lousy $1 bill into an ATM anyway?!? And today, I've just learned that the $15,000 check I deposited into my business account did not post at all, because it was "not endorsed"; as proof, they sent me the check - which had clearly been endorsed, complete with my account number.

With neither cash deposits nor check deposits being processed correctly, I can no longer trust Washington Mutual to manage my money right. Calls to Washington Mutual only got me a toll number for investigating the situation, and not even a word of apology. And this is supposedly a top-notch bank, based on the recommendations I had received from others.

Prior to Washington Mutual, I had accounts with Bank of America for as long as I could remember. The high account fees and mediocre interest rates, as well as sometimes-clueless phone bankers, dampened my spirit. I immediately closed my accounts, when I found that Bank of America had made a $100,000 contribution toward W's illegitimate second coronation. It is also worth noting that Bank of America is also a major customer of Diebold ATMs, the same Diebold that promised to deliver the 2004 presidential election to W, and actually did so in Ohio, with easily hackable codes and no paper trails for verification. There is no way in hell that I will ever return to Bank of America, even though that's the first recommendation I'm getting today.

Wells Fargo and Citibank are the other major players in California's banking industry. Wells Fargo burned me badly several years ago, and I will never use them either. As for Citibank, while I had a good experience with them back in New York, Citibank won't open accounts for me at this time, because my bankruptcy (which had a lot to do with San Francisco's banking industry, and its rampant discrimination) had included too many Citibank accounts. (And Citibank's corporate and political practices are questionable too.)

Smaller banks and credit unions sometimes have trouble getting their checks honored at merchants. This is one reason why I am being steered back to Bank of America. (Or if I were in Texas or New York, Chase Manhattan would be a bank with similar "respectability.") I do need to investigate the credit union option more closely, however. I've used credit unions in other states, but not in California.

So let's see. The banking industry has screwed me over, as employers, as depositories, and as lenders. And I am being steered toward a bank that will charge huge account fees and send them off to W's war chest. I would rather make the contribution to W directly, if that is the case, and you know I will never do that! It appears that the banking industry is forcing me to make a choice - either keep getting scammed, or make a political contribution against my will. Is America so thoroughly taken over by the right wing, from Wal-Mart to Dell Computers to Ford Motor Company to Bank of America (not to mention organizations from the NRA to the AGC, as well as the churches), that I am left with no other choices, but to do business with them, or leave the country? Sure, the wholesale/retail industry has Costco that breaks this paradigm, but I need a similar example in banking and other industries - NOW.

Thank you, brainless and spineless Democrats, for letting all of this happen over the past generation, and offering no clear alternative even now.

And to express my displeasure, I will call my local charity to give my worthless Ford an early retirement, and have just ordered the laptop that will retire my aging Dell desktop. And no, I will not be calling the Christian terrorist organization known as the Salvation Army, even though that's the first name people are coming up with when it comes to charity.