Stay Away From Crooked US Banks.
(Updated 29 November, 2017)
I’ve Written A Lot About The Crookedness Of US Banks
- 0.1 I’ve Written A Lot About The Crookedness Of US Banks
- 0.2 Today Something New From the Wall Street Journal
- 0.3 So What, You Say?
- 0.4 Usually there is a per transaction charge for using the card.
- 0.5 Are You Saying You Trust Filipino Banks More Than US Banks?
- 0.6 What To Do Instead?
- 0.7 Top 50 Federal Credit Unions by Membership
- 1 Related Posts
- 2 Readers who viewed this page, also viewed:
- 3 Share this Article:
A few articles to set the tone here:
You can use the “Search” box in the top right corner to find more articles like this if you really want more.
Today Something New From the Wall Street Journal
I don’t write a lot here or post often but sometimes the blog just seems to write itself.
No way could I ignore this item.
Big thanks and a huge tip of the Blogger’s hat to my colleague, Simon Black, who writes about financial affairs often at his Sovereign Man blog.
Here’s What Simon Recently Emailed Me:
Another day, another major banking scandal. It’s getting to the point where you can practically set your watch to these things.
The latest involves our old friend Wells Fargo. The Wall Street Journal reported last night that Wells has been screwing its customers on foreign currency exchange rates.
According to the Journal, Wells Fargo conducted an internal review of its fee arrangements and found that they had massively overcharged 88% of the sampled customers.
For example, the bank might have signed a contract with a customer to charge 0.15% on foreign currency transactions, but instead charged as much as 4%… about 26x higher than agreed.
It’s absurd to begin with that a bank would charge even a small percentage-based commission on foreign currency transactions (much less 4%), especially given that most of the transactions were to exchange euros and US dollars.
Sure, commissions are common in many industries.
When you list your house for sale, for example, your real estate agent receives a commission when s/he finds a buyer and closes the deal.
Real estate commissions often range between 2% to 6%. But agents earn this money because houses are big, illiquid assets. And it often takes a lot of time and work to close a sale.
But Wells Fargo has been charging huge commissions on buying and selling MONEY.
The foreign exchange (FOREX) market trades around $5.3 trillion each day (compare that to about $200 billion for US equities). That makes the US dollar / Euro trade literally one of THE most popular financial transactions in the world.
Billions upon billions of dollars and euros are exchanged every single business day of the week, around the clock, through electronic trading platforms.
It’s not like some currency trader at Wells Fargo ever had to lift a finger trying to find a buyer for his customer’s euros.
Anyone who has ever traded FOREX knows that it takes a fraction of a second to buy/sell major currencies.
There’s zero work involved on Wells Fargo’s end. Yet they charge a steep commission as if they have to put in all sorts of time and effort to buy and sell currency. It’s ridiculous.
But even worse, the bank formally agreed with its customers to charge a set fee. And then they totally violated those promises simply because it suited their interests.
How utterly, completely pathetic.
Bear in mind, this is the same bank that was caught creating fake accounts and charging fees to unsuspecting consumers without their consent, also because it suited their interests…
… and that this is an industry that has a track record of constantly violating their customers’ trust.
These banks have been caught red-handed illegally colluding to fix interest rates and exchange rates.
They have manipulated asset prices and knowingly sold their customers toxic assets.
They have invested their customers’ hard-earned savings in astonishingly stupid, no-money down loans to borrowers who had no hope of repaying the debt.
They use every accounting trick in the book to misstate their true financial condition, including the utter farce of carrying Volcker Rule assets on their books at 100 cents on the dollar… or mysteriously reclassifying their bond portfolios in a way to hide losses.
They reward themselves the most magnificent bonuses when times are good.
And when the house of cards begins to fall, they go to the public with hat in hand, claiming that they’re too big and important to lose any money.
Despite taking the public’s bailout money, these banks treat their customers with such contempt and suspicion. They make you feel like you’re committing a crime when you request a cash withdrawal of your own money.
It’s truly remarkable that this industry has any credibility left.
So What, You Say?
I get fired up about these issues, just like Simon, particularly because the lead issue in the article is the bank’s continual, illegal overcharging on foreign exchange rates.
I advise foreigners living in the Philippines NOT to use their US bank ATM cards to “live off”. In other words, don’t run to the ATM machine every time you need a few Pesos and withdraw from your US bank via the banks ATM or debit card.
Usually there is a per transaction charge for using the card.
Sometimes these fees can be large.
Other times, people think they are getting a good deal when their bank refunds their ATM fees.
This is good, but most people who write me about why I am wrong on this anti-ATM position can’t see the forest for the trees.
Even when major US banks refund ATM fees, they are totally screwing you on the exchange rate they use to convert your US dollars to Philippine Pesos.
So you get back the $3.00 USD charge for using the ATM card overseas, but Wells Fargo (or some other crooked bankster) charges you 26 times the contractual rate they are supposed to charge, under the law.
And you’re happy, because they “threw you the three dollar bone”?
Are You Saying You Trust Filipino Banks More Than US Banks?
Well let’s just say this. No Philippine bank has ever tried to screw me the way major US banks have.
When I lived in Japan I had a credit card from Bank of America. Great, well-respected US bank, right. I used that credit card a lot during my stay in Tokyo because I could get Japanese Yen from any teller machine with no charge, and no charge for cash advance. What a good deal.
After three years a class action suit was filed in the USA against BoA and the court ruled BoA have overcharged folks like me, using their cards overseas by millions of dollars over the previous 5 years. The bank broke their own contractual rules, cavalierly, with no regards at all for their customers.
Bank of America was ordered to refund millions of dollars to us cheated consumers, and I did get some of my overcharge back … only because the court ordered them to do so.
I haven’t trusted a name brand US bank since then.
And the article I just quoted proves the exact same thievery is still going on. Sad.
What To Do Instead?
Do I need a US banking facility while I live in the Philippines?
The answer is, the way my finances are currently organized, the answer is yes.
But I don’t use a US bank. I use a Federal Credit Union (FCU). Basically an FCU operates much like a standard bank, but they are subject to strict consumer protection and investment rules that commercial banks are just allowed to ignore.
And the depositors in Federal Credit Unions are the owners of the institution. We elect the members of management.
We’re not just blind sheep being lead to slaughter.
These are the top 50 FCU’s in the USA.
Use one, unless you enjoy being continually cheated by the Bankster robber-barons.
Top 50 Federal Credit Unions by Membership
1. Navy Federal Credit Union, Vienna, VA. 4,786,101 members.
2. State Employees Credit Union, Raleigh, NC. 1,895,183 members.
3. Pentagon Federal Credit Union, Alexandria, VA. 1,295,220 members.
4. Security Service Federal Credit Union, San Antonio, TX. 970,947 members. (This is my mine by the way, recommended)
5. Boeing Employees Credit Union, Tukwila, WA. 857,870 members.
6. The Golden 1 Credit Union, Sacramento, CA. 667,674 members.
7. America First Federal Credit Union, Riverdale, UT. 647,612 members.
8. SchoolsFirst Federal Credit Union, Santa Ana, CA. 595,275 members.
9. Suncoast Credit Union, Tampa, FL. 578,572 members.
10. Alaska USA Federal Credit Union, Anchorage, AK. 497,147 members.
11. Randolph-Brooks Federal Credit Union, Universal City, TX. 470,565 members.
12. Mountain America Federal Credit Union, West Jordan, UT. 461,364 members.
13. Vystar Credit Union, Jacksonville, FL. 453,051 members.
14. Digital Federal Credit Union, Marlborough, MA. 429,021 members.
15. Pennsylvania State Employees Credit Union, Harrisburg, PA. 416,512 members.
16. First Technology Federal Credit Union, Mountain View, CA. 370,449 members.
17. Redstone Federal Credit Union, Huntsville, AL. 369,221 members.
18. Municipal Credit Union, New York, NY. 366,518 members.
19. ESL Federal Credit Union, Rochester, NY. 324,692 members.
20. GECU Credit Union, El Paso, TX. 314,019 members.
21. Desert Schools Federal Credit Union, Phoenix, AZ. 308,195 members.
22. State Employees Federal Credit Union, Albany, NY. 303,696 members.
23. Citizens Equity First Credit Union, Peoria, IL. 300,616 members.
24. Delta Community Credit Union, Atlanta, GA. 296,131 members.
25. Tinker Federal Credit Union, Oklahoma City, OK. 292,911 members.
26. Space Coast Credit Union, Melbourne, FL. 288,850 members.
27. Hudson Valley Federal Credit Union, Poughkeepsie, NY. 283,788 members.
28. Alliant Credit Union, Chicago, IL. 282,453 members.
29. Patelco Credit Union, Pleasanton, CA. 279,311 members.
30. Wright-Patt Credit Union, Fairborn, OH. 275,053 members.
31. Onpoint Community Credit Union, Portland, OR. 265,489 members.
32. San Diego County Credit Union, San Diego, CA. 264,256 members.
33. Kinecta Federal Credit Union, Manhattan Beach, CA. 262,959 members.
34. Members 1st Federal Credit Union, Mechanicsburg, PA. 262,088 members.
35. Teachers Credit Union, South Bend, IN. 258,026 members.
36. San Antonio Federal Credit Union, San Antonio, TX. 250,671 members.
37. Local Government Federal Credit Union, Raleigh, NC. 240,965 members.
38. Teachers Federal Credit Union, Smithtown, NY. 237,902 members.
39. Bethpage Federal Credit Union, Bethpage, NY. 237,115 members.
40. American Airlines Federal Credit Union, Fort Worth, TX. 236,234 members.
41. Ent Federal Credit Union, Colorado Springs, CO. 234,716 members.
42. Landmark Credit Union, New Berlin, WI. 233,858 members.
43. Virginia Credit Union, Richmond, VA. 232,855 members.
44. First Community Credit Union, Chesterfield, MO. 232,629 members.
45. State Employees Credit Union of Maryland, Linthicum, MD. 230,430 members.
46. Bellco Credit Union, Greenwood Villa, CO. 229,981 members.
47. Educational Employees Credit Union, Fresno, CA. 227,145 members.
48. Lake Michigan Credit Union, Grand Rapids, MI. 224,646 members.
49. Police & Fire Federal Credit Union, Philadelphia, PA. 221,223 members.
50. GTE Federal Credit Union, Tampa, FL. 216,842 members.
Remember, Dave says, Stay Away From Crooked US Banks.