Saturday, January 9, 2010

Personal insults from the banking industry

So yeah - I'm working on doing my budget (I'll be doing a blog post about that soon with some recommendations on financial software) and I just entered the interest that we earned on our checking account. After seeing the number, and doing a quick bit of division, I decided I needed to blog about it. Yes, it was that bad.

I understand that times are tough and interest rates are down. Fine. However, let me give some background on this account. We have a mortgage through Suntrust on our townhouse. In exchange for owning our soul, they offered us a premier, "interest-bearing" checking account as a sort of consolation gift / we-want-more-of-your-soul gesture. I happily accepted their offer, figuring that moving all of our money into an interest-bearing checking account instead of my current non-interest-bearing account was a clear win. Instead, it turned out to be an insulting smack in the face.

How can giving me free money be insulting? In the same way that leaving a one-penny tip for a waiter is insulting. If the amount is small enough, it is an attack on my intelligence to call it interest. I calculated my monthly interest rate to be roughly 0.002%, or annually about 0.024%. So, if I had $10,000 in my "interest-bearing" account, I would receive about $0.20 a month, for a whopping $2.40 a year in interest. Carry that out a few more decimals, and a million dollars nets you only $240 a year in interest. That's just...amazing.

On a similar note, this is the same company that, after taking out a mortgage for the full price of a house, sent me a dollar bill to convince me to fill out a survey for them. A freaking dollar. Wow, geez - I just signed away tens of thousands of dollars to you guys, and you want to bribe me with a dollar to fill out a little survey? How 'bout you keep your lousy dollar and put it towards my principle? Seriously, does that type of thing actually sway people to fill out surveys? $10, sure. $5, maybe. But $1? It actually put me in a worse mood while looking at the survey. I wonder if their average survey response would increase if they didn't offer an insultingly-low bribe with it?

Anyway, I was ticked off and wanted to rant, which is the primary reason I got this blog. That, and apparently to neglect it - thank you to the few readers who have prodded me to write more articles. Hopefully I'll get a bit more regular about it in the future. :)

I'll say this for Suntrust though: they're not nearly as bad as Wachovia, who decided that they were going to charge me $6 a month to check my account status with a website. Yes, in order to get a few kilobytes downloaded on the web I have to fork over a $6 electronic access fee, per month. I can get...Amazon Prime free 2-day shipping for the same price. Holy crap - that's ridiculous. Get with the...90's, Wachovia. Seriously, that's just sad - I'll be closing my account with you guys very soon.

Also, just a few days ago my wife hit me and informed me that it was for something I did in October. I had no idea what was going on. She just now clued me in that apparently it was from my October 13 blog post where I said she was "kinda" a person/follower. Yeah, a smack from 3 months ago. That's entirely reasonable...

I've also added my first poll to the blog. Check it out on the right side near the top. I'm quite curious to see how it goes. :)

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