Monday, October 10, 2011

Will banks survive as is?

I am not going to chime in with my view of the Occupy Wall Street protests although it does amuse me to listen to talking heads show their biases. But if this is a legitimate protest movement and one that can cause some changes to happen I do wonder if banks will exist as is in a few years.

Was it the government that created the mess? Was it government that created the need for Bank of America to charge a monthly debit card fee by restricting other fee generating business? I am not going to speculate here and will not be sucked into such an argument.

But let's just think about it for a minute. I have a Bank of America account set up for my college-aged son. He uses the debit card all the time to buy food, toothpaste, laundry detergent and other normal purchases made by college students out on their own. He won't be using it for long and we have not yet decided whether we are going to keep his account at all.

I mentioned here that I left Chase for the local credit union due to their constant fees. They even charged a 30-dollar fee to fax a statement to my new bank. I hope the poor rep I had on the phone did indeed put my reason for leaving into some customer feedback file that will actually get read by management. Of course, I doubt the latter part of that.

Banks have not wanted to serve the little guy for years yet we all continue to flock to them. But can you blame them? How much money do they really make servicing small accounts? My guess is they lose money so again, who can blame them?

But if all us little guys leave then what? As a group there has to be some clout. And no, I am not suggesting a power to the people movement here. I am just thinking about what might happen as we wake up, one by one, and choose alternate methods to fund our daily lives.

The bottom line is that policy is pushing banks to do things that actually hurt customers, not help them. And customers will revolt as I have.

Now, how can we change our investment activities to adapt to this new trend I see coming?  That is, after all, what this blog is about. 

Banks should have failed. From fire comes new growth.


Ed said...

I received my new BoA ATM card on Friday. It came with a message that I could "upgrade" it to a debit card with a phone call. I didn't see anything there about cost - but already knew. Mr. Card, meet Mr. Scissors.

Michael Kahn said...


Chances are I will tell my son it is an ATM card ONLY and to keep a pocketful of cash in his room - just like I used to do when I was in college. Any fees he incurs come out of his monthly allowance.