Banking Issues

SHARKS IN THE WATER: How US Commercial Banks are Eating America Alive Part II: Ron's Story
Banking Issues

Cheryl Seal writes: "Just like loan sharks, the banking industry preys unrelentingly on the poorest, most desperate citizens. Not only does it prey on them, it makes SURE they remain fair game indefinitely through a system of stigmatization and endless, ever-growing debt. It is the same system that unscrupulous bosses used to use in the mining industry to reduce miners to 'owned men.' When Tennessee Ernie Ford said 'I owe my soul to the company store,' that's just what he was talking about. Here's the true story of one 19-year-old computer desk helper's banking nightmare - one that nearly led to tragedy."

Greenspan Brags that Banks Are Doing Just Great - Yeah, thanks to Fee-Gouging!
Banking Issues

STL: "The U.S. banking system, having weathered a recession and the bankruptcies of several big corporations, is in very good shape, Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan said Tuesday. Technology and the use of sophisticated financial instruments [yeah - 250 electronically-imposed different fees!] to hedge risks have helped banks navigate through sometimes difficult economic and financial waters, the Fed chief said in remarks to the American Bankers Association's annual convention in New York." Why should anyone be surprised the banks "weathered the recession in good shape?! In 2003 ALONE, they raked in $29.3 BILLION in ATM fees ALONE! We shudder to think how much $35-a-pop overdraft fees contributed to their "vibrancy."

SHARKS IN THE WATER: How America Is Being Eaten Alive by the Commercial Banking Industry (PART I)
Banking Issues

Cheryl Seal Writes: "Thanks to unbridled NeoCon power in Congress, since 1994, the banking industry has become little more than a glorified loan shark network, preying the most relentlessly on the poorest Americans. In 1993, no one would have dreamed that the cost for an overdraft would hit $35.00, that the federal government would ever allow credit card companies to charge 23% or more in interest, or that interest on a savings account would drop to BELOW 1%! Today, Americans are being eaten alive by fees and a credit system that can only be described as an extortion racket. It should come as no surprise that the Bush administration and its Congressional minions have worked hand in glove with the industry to keep it that way." PART I of a FIVE Part Series

Banking Industry Raked in Nearly $30 Billion in ATM Fees in 2003, Pushing Retailers to the Limit
Banking Issues

Since the NeoCons took over Congress in 1994-96, the banking industry, unchecked by their Repug pals, has spiraled out of control. The industry gave Bush twice as much as Gore in 2000 and in 2004 doubled their Bush donations. It has paid off: The industry is raking in so much cash from outrageous fees that even retailers are being hurt now. "Jennifer Hatcher of the Food Marketing Institute of Washington, D.C. [says] electronic transaction fees charged to all retailers have increased 11 times in the past year, and debit fees are up a whopping 267 percent since 1999. The trade group wants Congress to investigate fee increases and the lack of legal controls over them. In 2003, card associations collected $29.2 billion from electronic transaction fees."

Before 9/11, Bush Refused to Participate in International Anti-Money Laundering Effort
Banking Issues

Before leaving office, Clinton had proposed legislation that would made the US a participant in an anti-money laundering enforcement effort by Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, a group of 30 nations and the European Union." The OECD effort would have made it tougher for terrorists to finance their operations. But Texas bankers like Dennis Nixon, who helped finance Bush's rise to power, opposed the effort. "By June 2001, the lobbying paid off. Paul O'Neill told the OECD the US would not participate, denying the campaign the support of the world's financial superpower. That was the Bush administration position until September 11." By then, of course, it was too late.

Kerry Takes Aim at the GOP's Usury Racket - Better Known as the Banking/Credit Card Industry
Banking Issues

Writes Thomas Oliphant: "Of all the business tycoons assembling for their favorite party's convention, none will get a warmer welcome than the personal finance crowd that has figured out how to imprison millions of ordinary Americans with interest charges and other fees worthy of loan sharks. They are profiteering on a growing mountain of debt that is increasingly crucial to meeting expenses in a 'recovery' marked by stagnant household income. The banking, insurance, and real estate interests have ponied up more than $25 million for Bush this year, 6 times more than in 2000. They're running scared because Kerry is going after the latest rip off: "universal default", a scam in which interest charges are suddenly jacked up even on consumers who are making their card payments on time. "You miss a payment on some other bill... and all of a sudden your credit card interest rate soars to anywhere from 30% to as much as 48%."

Months Later, Bush Now Does Something About Terrorist Money Laundering Operations
Banking Issues

"The Bush administration on Friday sought to put additional pressure on terrorism's financial infrastructure, naming 39 more individuals and organizations whose assets can be frozen by banks around the world. 'We are determined to deny terrorists the resources to carry out their acts of evil,' said Treasury Secretary Paul O’Neill. The list includes individuals, businesses and charitable groups that funnel money to the al-Qaida network, headed by Osama bin Laden, whom U.S. officials have identified as the leading suspect in the Sept. 11 attacks in New York and Washington. The addition of 39 names brings to 66 the number of alleged terrorists and their financial supporters that U.S. officials have identified. Tracking terrorist assets will be the top item on the agenda at a meeting of G-7 finance ministers Saturday in Washington, Treasury spokesman Rob Nichols said."

Paul Sarbanes (D-MD) Seeks to End Predatory Mortgage Lending Practices Targeting Low-Income Folks
Banking Issues

The classic American dream is home ownership - a dream that for many low-come families can be difficult to achieve. However, the dreams of such families are currently being unscrupulously exploited by mortgage lending companies who promise a home loan and deliver shattered lives. These outfits deceive prospective homebuyers about the true nature of the loan, then strip equity and trash the victims' personal credit. Worse yet, these sharks prey mostly on single women with kids, the elderly and minorities. But Paul Sarabanes (D-MD) is riding to the rescue. He has called for strict measures to curb predatory lending. Sarbanes is being supported by the National Association of Realtors, which has called for the US Senate Banking Committee to act decisively.

Bush Promotes Money Laundering by Drug Dealers, Arms Traffickers, Terrorists, and Dictators
Banking Issues

According to Molly Ivins, "Various ex-presidents of Mexico; Fujimori of Peru; Idi Amin of Uganda; Mobutu Sese Seko, the late kleptocrat head of Zaire; Suharto of Indonesia; the late Shah of Iran -- all have skimmed millions if not billions of dollars out of their countries' economies, and most of them then headed off for la dolce vita in foreign parts. [Yet] the Bush administration is backing away from international efforts to reduce money-laundering, a banking procedure used by drug cartels, arms traffickers and terrorist groups, as well as crooked dictators." Why? Could it be that these criminals do business with the Bush organized crime family? We demand an investigation!