Yikes! The Corporate Culture is Taking Over!

I knew it was eventually going to happen; Chase is about to show its true colors.

The accusations I have heard friends make of their business-oriented banks for years are about to happen to me.

I have had an account with Washington Mutual since the early 1990s, back when it was a regional bank from the Northwest. I have always had an account that is called “FREE CHECKING,” which means, you guessed it, the account charges no fees to maintain, thus, it is free. I think I had to make sure the account had at least $100 as a balance, but maybe that was my savings account, which I seemed to have closed a few years ago. Nope, there was no minimum, other than something above zero.

I remember thinking cynically when the account was pitched to me the promise that it would always be free that there was probably some catch. There was: when it ceased to be Washington Mutual, it would no longer honor that promise. Fast forward two years….

Earlier this year I had to make sure I signed up for something that maintained or didn’t maintain my overdraft protection. Uh, well, of course I wanted to keep overdraft protection. I suspected then it was a trial run to see how many customers were actually reading their mail, and to see how many customers they could trick into dropping the coverage and thus make some money off of before they realized their mistake.

So it was really no surprise when in today’s mail a big fat envelope arrived and stated that if I didn’t meet certain monthly criteria, I would be charged a $10 service fee. Here’s the multi-page pamphlet to read through various small print. Oh, and the name of the account would no longer be FREE CHECKING, but Total Care Package or some such b.s. The first criteria I noticed I could not guarantee is direct deposit of at least $500 or more per month. Uh, since I can’t guarantee my clients all show up when they promise, I don’t get paid when they don’t show up. So I have yet to reach $500 in a single paycheck. Or I could merely maintain a balance of at least $1,500 at all times, or etc. Considering $1,500 is what I live off of, I can’t spare that much money merely sitting in my account. Correction: I rarely have that much money in my account.

So, it looks like I will be shopping for a new bank. And since I have all my fixed amount payments out of the account set up to happen automatically, now is the time to start switching over, to make sure I remember to catch all the accounts.

Oh joy. Or get a job that guarantees a salary with at least a $500 paycheck per month. Bother. This after finding the nearest locations to Great Falls, Montana (Salt Lake City or Chicago). And just after getting used to using the iPhone app for my bank!

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