It’s a strange thing when seeing a business go under overnight becomes an everyday occurrence. Or when families across the country reside in their homes one week only to be gone the next, taking the essentials and leaving behind a foreclosure sign in their front yard. It’s even more strange when you stop remembering what it was like before everyone became so desperate, before the news mentioned the dire state of the economy and virtually everyone knew first hand exactly what they were talking about.
While politics may be all wrapped up in deciding the problems and finding the solutions to this horrid state of lack we find ourselves in, I think we all have the ability to reclaim our control over our own financial situations. My attempt to do just that has included a recent brawl at my local bank when a cheery-eyed teller informed me that they offered no such thing as overdraft protection and a $36 charge per $3.00 transaction was normal, even if there was AMPLE money in a savings account that they were SUPPOSE to have connected to said overdrawn account. Controlling my urge to pummel her, I bluffed and said that I would then be switching my accounts to another bank. Thus the groveling ensued, followed by a fee retraction by the manager, and a sigh of relief that I wouldn’t have to follow through on my threat.
Banks, my friends, deserve to be shaken up a little bit. Somewhere along the way we all agreed to give up our power, to roll over and accept the outrageous fees, the insane interest rates, and the utter lack of benefits we receive by GIVING THEM BUSINESS. So when a friend received a letter from US Bank (no shame in name dropping here) stating that their interest rate for a line of credit would be raised due to recent negative marks on their credit report, I agreed to write a response. Keep in mind, this friend had never been late paying on this line of credit, and the recent negative marks had been because, like HALF THE NATION, their income had dropped nearly 70% in the past year. Strange, I would think that if you saw someone drowning in a pool you might say, hmmm…looks like you need some help- would you like me to drain some of that water for you? Not, hmmm…looks like you need some help- I’ll have to add some more water to ENSURE THAT YOUR DROWNING IS SUCCESSFUL.
So without further ado, here is my response to US Bank….
To whom it may concern:
Please refer to attached letter.
First and foremost I extend my deepest gratitude that the great people of US Bank are being meticulous about following the state of my financial affairs. It is so good to see that banks such as this one take the time to check up on those of us on “main street” when wall street is still reeling from the recent bank bailout. Speaking of which, I am so glad that US Bank received the financial help it needed with the billions the government doled out last year ($6.6 billion to your bank alone, I believe).
However, with these generous handouts that your bank has recently accepted, I was a bit puzzled to read that you will not be extending this help in my direction but instead ensuring my own financial demise with an increase in the interest rate for my line of credit from 7.5% to 10.75%. While your concerns about negative marks on my credit report may give you ample reason within your regulations to do so, it may also be prudent for you to refer back to my payment record with your bank in particular- I would be surprised if you found it to be anything but spotless.
In speaking with other creditors who have been sympathetic to my situation (one that I no doubt share with millions of other Americans), I have remembered that there are companies that are interested in helping instead of hindering my financial well being. They have agreed to do everything from allowing me to delay my payments to keeping my interest rate intact. Strange, most of these companies haven’t been on the receiving end of such generosity as yours has, but I digress.
While my “cash flow problem” may not have shown up on the evening news like yours, I would assume that we both know the far reaching effects that this issue can have. So in seeing that you received the assistance that you needed perhaps you can tell me where I can find a similar hand out? Please feel free to contact me if you have any suggestions.
Your Loyal Customer
P.S. I will be sure to tell others to avoid banking with you in order to save you the time and energy it takes to provide top-notch personalized customer service. Consider this my gift to you.
Will this warrant some sort of brilliantly compassionate response on the bank’s part? I’m not holding my breath. But I’ll certainly keep you updated…