Sunday, March 15, 2009

Cease and Desist Unsafe and Unsound Practices? Oh Boy

I'd beware the Ides of March, but the bad news came yesterday. Someone should have told me to beware of Pi Day.

My bank has been ordered by the government to "cease and desist from any unsafe and unsound practice", as it continues to hemmorage money. For the quarter ending December 31st they lost $3.8 million; the quarter before $9.5 million.

The losses, if you listen to bank officials, are due to the decline in the real estate market and the economy in general. Luck of the draw, if you will. If you listen to government regulators, the bank has a shortage of capital and a habit of handing out bad loans.

"Pull out our money Monday," Lisa said.

"How is starting a run on the bank going to help?" I said.

"I don't care about helping the bank. I care about it going under and taking our money with it."

Good point.

The trouble is there's not many banks around I like or trust. Lincoln has been bought out by Harris, and it won't be long before they're bought by someone else. US Bank sucks (we dealt with them at my old job), I dumped Tri-City years ago, I won't go to the bank that holds my mortgage out of superstitious fear of putting everything in one basket, and another major player in the area refused me a checking account in my youth and I still nurse a grudge.

So I'm going to - well, I don't know what I'm going to do.

* * * * *

In other financial news I settled accounts with Time Warner, enabling me to finally (!) reduce the services I have with them. I wisely placed them behind the mortgage and whatnot in the aftermath of the layoff, and so was playing catchup for the last two months.

It was a Catch 22 for awhile there. I couldn't dump Time Warner because they provided not only my cable but far more importantly my internet and phone service. But while I owed them money they wouldn't let me trim my services. Nevermind that if they had allowed me to cut it down I would have been able to bring the balance to zero months ago. No sir, they would rather I keep the whole package and ring up a larger bill, even at the risk of defaulting.

Anyway, I brought the account up to date and asked to cut 'x' and 'y'. No need; they had a promo going that enabled me to keep what I have AND add channels 120-199, which includes DIY, The Military Channel, and the MLB Network. The cost? $15 less a month than I was paying, or a savings of $180 a year. That's more than a month of free service at the old rate.

Yea me.


Bucko (a.k.a., Ken) said...

Glad you got a good deal with Time-Warner cable.

As for your bank, as long as you do not have more than $250K in their, the FDIC has you covered, so no need to do anything.

Slapinions said...

Ken -

I know, but I'm not in a place right now where I can afford to wait until the gov't covers the loss.

Beth said...

Dan, it's not like filing an insurance claim and waiting for a check. The FDIC takes control of the bank and keeps it solvent, with no lag time and no disruption to your finances.


Jeanne said...

I agree with Bucko and Beth, as long as you don't have more that 240K, its fine, and the FDIC will take over the bank, and would be easy going..I saw something on TV as to how the FDIC will do it, and it would be no interuption to you.

Glad that you got a good deal on Time Warner...

alphawoman said...

Ah, the benefits of coming from a small town. About 13 14 years ago a group of people, disgruntled by the local banks being sold out to larger banks decided to start their own bank. They began a local bank, dag gone it! That's where Joe and I keep our money, even though it's spread out to Wells Fargo too....I hate WF, but they hold our mortage in addition to a couple of other things. Anyway, small towns with enormous bank accounts are a good thing.

Sybil said...

Hi Dan, It is the sameover here with banks loosing millions and the bosses walking of with massive hand outs..
It is the sam eher as Beth and Ken say the Gov. have covered all accounts up to a certain amount..
Don't know when or how it will all end.
Sybil x

Bridgett said...

The banks are scaring the crap out of me too. I'm at a loss as to what to do as well.

But big kudos on the cable improvements for less money. WooHoo!


Doc Anne said...

I know you said you don't like USBank, but my husband works for them in Computer Security. They are one of the few banks that has been EXTREMELY conservative in lending, and should remain afloat. The leadership seems to have its head on straight.