12 December 2011

Bank Robbery

The bank account was supposed to teach 18-year-old Daniel Ganziano about fiscal responsibility...  By fall, Ganziano had just $4.85 left in the account — too little to withdraw from an ATM — so he let it sit.
He had all but forgotten about the account until he received a letter from TCF on Oct. 12 saying six days earlier, it had charged him a $9.95 "monthly maintenance fee" because his account had too little money in it.

The $9.95 charge made his account overdrawn by $5.10, which triggered another fee. At TCF, any account overdrawn by more than $5 is charged a $28-a-day overdraft fee. The net result: Ganziano was $33.10 in the hole.

By then, his nascent savings account was in a downward spiral. At $28 a day, the charges were adding up quickly.

When he and his mother went to the nearest branch that weekend to close the account, they were told they would first have to pay the accumulated fees, which totaled $229.10.
It's all quite legal, of course.  He didn't pay attention to the rules.  The rest of his story is at the Chicago Tribune.

Via BoingBoing.


  1. I do feel bad for them in that they're being subjected to an inactivity fee which is the ultimate cause for their woe...but I can't help but see the irony in trying to teach your son fiscal responsibility, leaving out why his account was so low (perhaps to emphasize that he's the victim while hiding any irresponsibility he may have), and not blaming him in the slightest for failing to read the rules.

  2. One can respect civil contracts, and think the man (or his mother) were neglectful for not reading before (or, at least, after) they signed one, but that does not make the effects of this particular contract less odious.

  3. I had a very small account in a savings & loan when I was young (1950's). I was never charged any fees, certainly not because my balance was too small. Quite the contrary, I earned 5.25% interest on that account.

    When did usury become acceptable in this country?

  4. We rescue these banks from their over leveraging with $TRILLIONS of our money through the Fed, the Fed hijacks our RIGHT to a free market based return on our own capital and they have the gall to increase fees and pay us a measly 3/10 of one percent? If the gentleman was earning a fair return in his savings he might have found a way to keep his funds in the bank. Better yet, how about the banks pay us back for our rescue funds and the resultant inflation due to the fed having to print more currency and in doing so reducing the value (purchasing power) of our money?
    This guy's share would be several thousand dollars.

    Clearly bankers have set a new high in arrogance.

  5. I once had a similar situation, where a small deficit ballooned due to added fees. When I went in to the bank and discussed it with the manager however, they waived all the fees. Don't see why they wouldn't be reasonable and do the same in this instance, perhaps just keeping the $4.85 as the only fee.

  6. Kill a bank, join a credit union.

  7. Forgot where I read it but the banks would LOVE for us to all leave now. Having had their operating capital replenished AND still hold onto their assetts, these banks' perceptions are now that personal bank accounts are quickly becoming the smallest piece of their business while maintaining a lion's share of the risk for mistakes and lawsuits.
    Pulling from my bag full of 'why I hate banks':
    My bank sent me a new card in the mail 'for protective reasons'... so? Well, the moment I activated it, the other account was blocked and the bank did not transfer any of my scheduled electronic transactions which led to hundreds of dollars in late fees, overdraft charges (from almost the exact scenario listed in the original post), and time missed from work trying to straighten it all out without paying. Then I was supposed to be grateful that they reduced the fee. What about all of the fees from my other bills? Yes, I paid them all - with my credit card -because I was young and had no savings and just got burned hard for having less than $5 in my account.

  8. @Mike (snark) Maybe they're black. (/snark)

    Awww. I just made myself sad. :(

  9. Ain't greed grand?

  10. I had the same thing happen to me. I emptied an account of all but about $4, and called the bank to tell them to close it. They didn't. Instead, they charged me a low-balance fee, which put me in the red. Then they charged me $5 a day for a month until I got the new statement. I got bitten for about $175, all told.

  11. When I was a kid, the old myth used to be about the person who had left $5 in a bank 50 years ago, and how it grew into a small fortune due to compounding interest. It always made me want to put money in a bank.

    I wonder if this is the new myth - keep your money out of the bank, because if you leave it in there, you'll be up to your neck in debt.

  12. I was bitten in California by a law that states something like:
    If you leave an account absolutely untouched for 6 years, the money is usurped by the state.
    I raised hell as best I could - the money was my dead mother's and I never wanted to touch it unless there was an absolute need. The need arose and the account was gone.
    Perhaps this new fever of fees are the banks zeroing out the balances of dormant accounts; grabbing that money before they have to hand it over to the state?
    The fees are higher than the intrest, it truly is worse than putting cash in your own firesafe.


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