Can banking get any better? The credit crisis is gone, the money is flowing and even subprime borrowers are moving unto greener pastures. But has banking actually improved?
Yes, the money is there. Chrysler reported that about 30% of vehicles sold and financed last month were to subprime borrowers. Mortgage rates are at record lows. The volume is there, and I understand the strain. Bank of America has completely stopped taking new mortgage applications (even from current borrowers wishing to do modifications to stay in their home) but it’s not solely because of volume. Freddie Mac recently forced Bank of America to buy back 300 million in loans and is refusing to buy any future mortgages from them. So I guess Countrywide aka Bank of America is still up to the same tricks.
Of course I asked back in the credit crisis, Can Banking Get Any Worse? (Please still boycott Wells Fargo!) I don’t know… has it? Sure money is flowing. That is good, everything else costs more. Sure mortgage rates are at record lows. But credit cards are still high. Car rates are creeping up. And anything else has more fees than mosquitoes in the summer. Take Chase for example. If you have both a savings and checking account, they will charge a $10 fee for the courtesy of transferring money from your savings to your checking if you overdraw. Free checks when opening an account are also hard to come by. Certainly a sign of the times. But then a smaller cost to banks as checks are used less. The City Of Rochester charges a fee if you don’t pay in person or mail a check for example. So checks are certainly still needed.
Credit Unions? Ha, don’t make me laugh! Unfortunately the climate has changed. Take USAA, a well-respected federal credit union. Their membership criteria are extremely cryptic, and you might think you’re approved to be a member to only realize they have two membership levels. To do anything useful you need the higher level. Or take a recent refinance with a local credit union. It was like dealing with a big bank. An initially helpful loan officer but you realized quickly you were lied too and weren’t qualified for that program. I ended up spending $3000 more than initially quoted… but what can you say at record low rates.
So the real question is, Can banking get any better? Don’t hold your breath! Does anyone have banks to recommend? Comment below: