[P]opulist unrest is building — and not just in the Tea Party movement. Standing in a bookstore line, over the weekend, a half-dozen waiting customers passed the time by swapping stories of first-hand abuses which all recently had suffered at the hands of big banks. My own story: Receipt of two CitiCard invoices over the past two months which contained several-hundred-dollar "finance charges" even though all invoices are paid in full on a current basis. A call to CitiCard, after the first invoice, resulted in a customer-service agent saying the finance charges were "a bank error" which promptly would be erased. When it happened a second time, it was necessary to fight through three layers of CitiCard executives before getting the undefined several-hundred-dollar finance charge again erased.
I found myself in full populist indignation when a CitiCard manager said the finance charges appeared on the invoice "because the card had been used during the month," even though full balances had been paid ahead of the due date. "You people are outrageous," I told him. "Citi blew our money and is now trying to take it however it can. I caught you doing what you did. What about those who do not review their invoices carefully? What about those on a direct-pay system where the money is directly extracted from their bank accounts? You must be getting millions from customers who do not see what you are doing" ....
Public anger is entirely in order. It cannot be allowed to subside. May it continue, full blown, until Congress and White House pass real systemic reform later this year.
Sunday, January 31, 2010
Ted Van Dyk over a Crosscut explains how a bank tried to plunder him: