This is in response to [email protected] (Scott Kilgore), who wrote a report on the United Bank in Texas: Scott, you are not alone.
This type of rip-off occurs every day all over this country. My roommate had a similar situation as a result of the bank paying an overdraft (with her bank-issued credit card). The bank had given her "overdraft protection" thru a credit card they issued tied to her acct.s. A lot of people have this. Read the fine print VERY carefully, because it states that they will cover an overdraft up to a certain amt. & they are allowed to charge you interest on the amt. 'loaned' to your acct.
OK, that's what she agreed to. The problem came when the bank paid an overdraft for an amount they said they would not cover on their (issued) charge card, that had been destroyed/de-activated. This caused several checks to bounce & tons of fees, similar to your situation.
The reason for the INFs & Fees? The bank put the charge against the acct.s, took the money from savings to pay back the 'loan', charged fees for that, charged interest on the 'loan' & charge payment, creating a larger overdraft, sent a statement reflecting the payment required to pay off the overdraft & fees (which turned out to be the barest minimum payment, which in turn created an overdraft on the card... you can see where this is going, right? Anyway, she told them to stop charging overdrafts to the acct., stop paying the overdraft fees with the overdraft protection (especially since the card had been deactivated), stop charging her interest on the interest from the card, because of the fees......it's still going. Worst of all, the bank attached her accts. to pay the card/charges/fees WITHOUT sending her a notice , WITHOUT going to court & WITHOUT getting a judgment, which, of course, caused more overdrafts & returned checks & fees.
When she went to her lawyer & told him what they'd done, he didn't believe her because it was against the law for the bank to do what it had, especially freezing an acct. & taking the $ from it to discharge a debt [made up of interests & fees] without getting a judgment or even going to court. She was so far into hock at this point that she filed for bankruptcy, and included the bank as one of the creditors. I encouraged her to do that. I also encouraged her to call the bank & tell them that they had better return the money from the 'freezing' of her
accts., to unfreeze the accts. & stop all charges as of that moment or she was going to sue them & send the paperwork (showing what they'd done) to the State Corporation Commission & the Consumer Bank Fraud Commission, as well as, all her representatives in Congress & the local press (tv & paper). That got their attention.
The money & the acct.s were freed up. She withdrew all the money & closed all the accts. the next day. She got a letter of apology for freezing the accts & returning the checks to her creditors, which she made copies of & sent to all she
planned to pay. She went to court to discharge all the other debts caused by this melee, including the bank (Signet). Everyone was happy except the bank.
They still called her AFTER the bankruptcy, dunning her for what had now become (w/interest & fees) $2,000.00+, even though they received a copy of the bankruptcy (& they were on it) & even though it's illegal to dun someone for a debt that was charged off in bankruptcy.
They were told this 3 times! They'd set it aside & then after a few months they'd try to collect it again, even though they'd been sent another copy of the bankruptcy papers & given the lawyer's name & number! Finally, she told them she'd sue them & turn them in to all the afore-mentioned people, to which they finally complied. The only reason we know that it's over is because they were bought out by another financial institution & all prior debts were finally discharged. Another reason, I suspect, for the charges, fees, etc. in the first place -
trying to make themselves look good on paper in an effort to get more money than they were actually worth.
I had been with a bank (Sovran) that started holding checks on deposit (even paychecks, after years of not doing so) & returning or paying them while charging INF fees. It turned out that they were trying to buy another bank & so as to bolster their worth (on paper).
I knew immediately what was happening & closed my acct. before I got charged for returned checks, etc. Shortly afterwards, the news announced they had bought C&S of Atlanta (a huge bank in that state). Not long after that I heard a news report that they were being investigated for fraud by the SEC, because.....you guessed it.......they were bolstering their books via holding deposits, returning checks & assessing fees improperly.
So, don't take it! Don't give up when they tell you a bank can't do something you know they did, just because it's illegal & banks wouldn't do that kind of thing. They will & do.
It's illegal, but that didn't stop the S&L Banking Scandal from
happening, leaving many people without their homes & life savings! Money & power = greed, and far too many heads of corporations are too greedy not to try & take you for a ride. Just remember these things:
1. Usury is illegal & prosecutable.
2. The press is a good source to turn to when noone else believes you.
3. Banks are required by Federal Law to clear a transaction in 24 hrs. (unless they've gotten that law rescinded lately)
4. The State agencies are there for you to ask questions & file
There are 3 main sources to check with re: banks/banking: a)
the State Corporation Commission - they give the bank its business license. No license - No business (in that state, at least)
b) The Consumer Protection Agency - In my state 7 complaints = an
c) The Banking Commission - a division of Congress, which oversees fair banking & credit practices.
If all else fails, call the press & go on the internet!
~ [email protected]
[email protected] (Charla)