Institution too big to fail, and proud of it

Is it a rumor or is it the truth that we are back in much the same situation with the investment banks that we were in before 2008? When the banks began to fail the Feds let Lehman Brothers go under, but did a massive bailout on the rest of the big banks and their insurance company (AIG). The country couldn’t afford to let them go into the domino effect. But have they slowly gained the upper hand, again becoming too big to fail and putting the taxpayers back on the spot for their survival if something like or unlike 2008 jeopardizes their solvency? Have they learned their lesson?

One giant bank in particular, let’s call it Well-Funded which used to operate a stagecoach line in the 1800s, has been trying to re-establish its good reputation. So they (W-F) say.

A bit of history: A well-known radio personality, Clark Howard, used to be on Austin’s KLBJ and his radio show was based on – among other things – how not to get cheated by phone companies, insurance companies, brokerage firms, telephone companies, and banks. At one time he read the customer service reports of most of the big banks and guess who tied for last? Well-Funded.

And the latest in the news is that the CEO of WF lost his job because his underlings were getting bonuses by creating new accounts on current customers without the customer’s permission. Imagine the SNAFUs that caused when these bogus accounts began to show up on customers’ reports. If that wasn’t enough they told thousands of customers that their car loans now required more insurance and those who couldn’t afford the higher prices lost their cars to repo men. More than 20,000 cars were repossessed because of W-F greed. There’s more if you care to merely Google the subject. W-F was caught (duh!) and has to pay $184 million in fines. And they had to set up a fund of $142 million to undo the damage to customers. They should’ve been forced to sell off their assets and close down.

My partner in a commercial building banked with W-F and they were supposed to auto-deposit a certain amount every month into the partnership account. They “forgot” to do it for two months. It was a mess paying off the insufficient fund checks. They admitted fault but it was we who had to do all the legwork.

Knowing all this what did I do about it? Something really stupid.

We had a total AC replacement and the company that did it offered a no interest payment plan through, guess who, W-F.  What the heck, pay it off in three years at no interest as long as payments are made on time. Who decides when the payment is recorded? Yep, W-F. Our first two payments were late. One was a bank transfer made on the due date, and the other was via a check mailed five days before the due date.

W-F said both were late and we owed a late fee of $68. How do we contest that? We can’t. We know by ineptitude or by deliberation those payments were recorded well after they received them. We mailed the total balance minus the $68 via certified mail. It got there in two days.

Trying to improve their reputation after being publicly chastised because of pure corruption in their phony accounts scandal? Yeah, sure.

My advice to W-F: stick with the stagecoaches. Banking isn’t your strong point.

That’s what I think but I could be wrong, you know.

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