29 August 2013


This message was on an envelope I received from TIAA/CREF:

eDelivery will save trees, conserve paper and reduce mailbox clutter.

I encounter messages like this several times a year.  And they are absolutely true.  And I do have the vast majority of my financial and business data transmitted to me electronically; there are just a few items for which I prefer to receive paper documents.

But... I wish just once that just one of these companies would say this:

eDelivery will reduce our company's costs, increase our profits, and maybe we will then return a portion of that to you in the form of lower fees or higher returns.

Just once.  Say that.  Especially when you're sending me documents I didn't request or need. Say that instead of pretending that the financial services industry is one of the bastions of environmental conservation.

Sorry for the mini-rant.  I'm in a grumpy mood this morning.


  1. I have the same thought every time. When they say save paper, they really mean save postage.

    The funny part to me is that trees are a renewable resource. Wood products are really, really low on the list of stuff that's doing damage to the world we live in. Stop acting like recycling paper is going to save the planet, start sticking needles into consumerism.

    I have the same issue with buildings being touted as eco-friendly because the flooring is reclaimed wood, or the blinds are sustainably harvested bamboo, or some other highly visible, very attractive part of the building has some kind of eco bragging rights attached. And how about the other 99.9% of the materials that went into it, eh? If you want to impress me, tell me how you put extra work and money into building the thing so it will have a 200 year lifespan instead of 40-50.

    Sorry, got off into my own rant there.

  2. my bank kinda gives back a little something, at least they did when I started my account. For any online banking transaction I did, I got 5 cents. Not so much about saving paper, but about saving time by actually me supplying everything in computer-readable format already.

    1. Could you send one cent to another account of yours and make money?

  3. no, sadly.

    i recently got a notice for an automatic withdrawal to pay a bill that contained a surcharge for "online administration" .

    i kid you not.

    i promptly told them to please start sending me paper bills again.

    ok, guys, if you're going to charge me to take my money direct from the bank you can go back to printing a bill and mailing it. and then paying someone to deposit my check when you get it. in the envelope you provide me to send it in.

    get bent.

  4. When banks installed ATMs, they did so not for our convenience, but to save themselves the cost of a teller's salary. Now, years later, many banks are opting to charge a service fee to those who use their ATMs (for maintenance and stocking the machines with cash), hoping that we have forgotten why ATMs were invented and installed in the first place.

    It does make me boil that my bank will go all out in waiving fees for new depositor to attract their business, but are coming up with more and different fees (higher in cost)for those of us who have "favored the bank with our custom" for many years.

    In reaction to excessive fees, my husband and I have switched our CDs and savings to a different bank. The bank we are now using is locally owned and, so far, has not imposed the fees charged by the other bank. But, who knows? They may impose those fees at some future point, when we're no longer "new" customers.

    I think there should be stricter rules regarding the fees, both in the amount of the fees and of the types of fees. After all, we could have let the banks fail in 2008, but instead we lent them taxpayer money to keep them afloat. It's bad enough that the interest paid on savings accounts and CDs is so low that you would think they'd be ashamed to send us a monthly account of interest paid of a nickel a month.

    1. You might want to check into the local availability of credit unions rather than national banks. We switched years ago and have been happy with the change.

    2. Yes, this. I used to have a budget category for 'unexpected fees'. Then I switched over to a fairly large local credit union. I now have a category for 'unexpected interest'.


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