If I were to say that I have had a bad history with banks and their fees, I would be putting it mildly. Very, very mildly. So I’ve switched banks several times in the past few years. I thought I had a good thing with my latest bank until this month, with no notice, they started a thing where they do fees for any customer who doesn’t meet certain (arbitrary) standards. If a customer doesn’t have at least $500 each month in direct deposits, an average checking balance of $1500, $6000 in combined deposit balances of different types of accounts, or an outstanding BB&T personal mortgage loan with them, they charge a $10 fee. Now, $10 might not seem like a lot, but when you are only receiving $493.31 a month, $10 is a big deal.
BB&T isn’t the only bank doing this whole you-get-under-$500-per-month-so-we’re-going-to-charge you a fee thing. Most banks that I’ve looked at have it. I understand that they think that this is a good way to make money for the banks. They went through a lot with their bad decisions that helped lead to the economy going down the crapper, but what they’re doing is essentially a fine for people with lower incomes. Of course, that’s always been an issue with banks. Fees have historically been geared toward penalizing people in lower income brackets for being in those brackets–as if we’re choosing not to be better off.
To me, if they were going off income, it would seem more logical to demand the fees from people who actually have more money. It’s kind of like conditioner. When you get to the bottom of the conditioner bottle, you can put water in to get the rest out, but you know that it isn’t going to be as good for your hair as the unadulterated conditioner. Basically, by getting their money from people who have very little of it to start with, they are getting the watery conditioner. Using that conditioner might be okay for their hair (business) right now, but eventually, it will run out and they will have to look for money elsewhere.
What’s absolutely ridiculous to me is that while I’m on a fixed income because of disability and cannot get the fee waived, BB&T actually has a system set up for seniors that I think should apply to all people on a fixed income. Seniors (62 and up) only have to get $100 in direct deposits each month to waive the fee. If they can do it for one group, surely they can do it for another.
What I love is that when I pointed out how unfair this system is to “Ciera”, she acted like it was just the way that I was perceiving things. No, darling, the system is unfair. It isn’t me imagining that I have to pay more in fees because I’m poor. It is how things work in this country.
Maybe it seems like I’m being unrealistic or acting spoiled, but it is wrong that banks and other institutions think that it is okay to tell people who are already in a disadvantaged population (whether it is from age, health, being unemployed, etc.) that they’re going to be yet another institution that will be taking advantage of them. It’s as if they don’t realize just how difficult things are for the poor, and how each of these little fees that they charge makes life that much harder on people who already have a hard enough time as it is.