Banks Behaving Badly (All Consumerist Edition)

I haven’t posted one of these in a while and the unlinked links are starting to pile up around here. The bad behavior of banks is a steady, relentless topic, and if you don’t keep on top of it, you’ll quickly get swamped.

So let me take this chance to commend The Consumerist — a dynamite site that pushes hard in the direction of leveling the playing field between “consumers” and all the corporations, marketeers, con-artists, corporate tools and various other anti-worker, anti-customer, anti-human Powers That Be arrayed against them.

Consumerist has two bloggers who do a terrific job covering the bank & finance beat: Chris Morran and Mary Beth Quirk. They provide a valuable service by relaying the latest reporting on the bad behavior of banks, supplemented with sharp commentary and some original reporting of their own. “Banks Behaving Badly” encompasses a vast universe of sleazy, criminal and predatory misdeeds — from international rate-rigging to absurd new nickel-and-dime fees. This duo from Consumerist keeps an eye on all parts of that — the criminal conspiracies and the petty larcenies.

Here’s where I tell you to bookmark The Consumerist and to subscribe to their RSS feed.

And below is where I back up that suggestion by sharing a sampling of recent posts from Morran and Quirk.

Chris Morran:

L.A. Sues U.S. Bank for Letting Foreclosures Fall Into Disrepair

Why Do So Many Servicemembers Not Receive Mortgage Protections They Have Legal Right To?

FDIC: There Is No Such Thing as an ‘FDIC Fee’ to Bank Customers

Lawsuit: I Listened to Chase About My Mortgage and Ended up With No House and a Dead Husband

Big Banks Reaping Big Benefits From HARP Refinances

Woman Forcibly Removed From Home, in Spite of Restraining Order Against Citibank

Mary Beth Quirk:

Chase Ordered to Pay $100M to Credit Card Customers for Boosting Minimum Payments

HSBC Executive Apologizes for Lax Controls That Allowed Mexican Drug Cartels to Launder Money

Bank of America Tries to Undo Foreclosure on Home It Didn’t Hold Mortgage For, Fails

Bank of America to Pay Woman $300K It Owed for Trying to Foreclose on Her 4 Years Ago

Barclays Bank to Pay $450 Million to Settle Charges That It Manipulated Interest Rates

Banks Make It Really Difficult to Take Your Business Elsewhere

 

  • http://blog.trenchcoatsoft.com Ross

    Another great thing from The Consumerist is that they ran a piece linking an article on how to enjoy a very good approximation of the delicious taste of Chik-fil-a without the soul-destroying “contributing to an organization dedicated to fighting gay rights” angle: http://consumerist.com/2012/07/want-chick-fil-a-taste-without-the-controversy-theres-a-recipe-for-that.html

  • http://www.blogger.com/home?pli=1 Coleslaw

    Meh, Chick-fil-a doesn’t do much for me anyway. We have Popeye’s, which is my husband’s favorite, and Raising Cane’s, which everyone just calls Cane’s, which is my favorite. Popeye’s does have the best sides, though. Both their biscuits and their red beans and rice are outstanding.

  • http://stealingcommas.blogspot.com/ chris the cynic

    Off topic, of course, but am I the only one incapable of reading “Chik-fil-a” correctly?  In my head it is always, always, pronounced, “Chick-a-fill.”

  • http://www.blogger.com/home?pli=1 Coleslaw

    I read it correctly but it took me months to connect “fil-a” with “fillet”, possibly because people around here often pronounce “fillet” like “filé”, the sassafras root stuff you put in gumbo. It’s pronounced “feel-a”.

  • hidden_urchin

    One would think that, considering banks have demonstrated that they are not trustworthy in the slightest, there would be someone looking over their shoulders for pretty much everything they do right now in order to catch those “mistakes.”  One would think that. 

    Apparently not.

  • http://stealingcommas.blogspot.com/ chris the cynic

    My proposed solution remains RICO laws.  I think the banks have done everything necessary to qualify, so they ought to be prosecuted on those.

  • D. Potter

    Fountain pen.  Gun.  ‘Nuff said.

  • Lori

    In my head I always say it the way I did when I first saw it—Chick-Fill-Uh.

  • Lori

    Yum, Popeye’s red beans & rice. We don’t have a Popeye’s here in the middle of nowhere and now I’m sad about it because just thinking about the red beans and rice gives me a craving.

  • Lori

    I agree. The RICO laws have been stretched to the breaking point to prosecute things they were never intended for, but IMO the behavior of the banks is well within the spirit and the letter of the law. The fact that none of these people are in prison really is a disgrace.

  • TheDarkArtist

    I just wonder how long it’ll be until we see actual violence against these banks. I’m not saying that I want to see it, I have a child and violence in the streets is the last thing that I want him to be exposed to. But, how much longer can people take these kinds of things? How long until some cops come and try to foreclose on a guy who really, really likes guns, and really, really hates the government? I know that conservatives on the internet like to pretend that they’re all super-humanly responsible and none of them ever miss paying any bills, but we all know that can’t possibly be the case.

    Unfortunately, I think that things are going to have to get a lot worse for a lot more people if we ever want to get back on the right track. I’m talking “people waiting in bread lines and living in giant shanty-towns” level of bad. As a person who’s poor and just lucky that he has upper-middle class family members to support him, I don’t want to see that. I don’t want to be part of it, especially. 

    But, gone are the days that real conservatives long for. The days when your dad worked full time at a union job, and busted his ass to make it so that his kids could have it better. I was working full time, at a shitty non-union job, making $9.75 an hour, and I couldn’t make it. Because kids are expensive, and public services are inundated with people who need help. I lived in Cleveland. My case-worker’s voicemail inbox? Full. It took her three months to get back to us. Not because she’s bad at her job, but just because there’s that much work to do, and no money for the government to do it.

    I always hear rich, white conservatives cheerleading their goon-squads to “take our country back.” And I understand why the people at the bottom of the ladder feel that way. They don’t understand that we’re in this together, because the rich, white plutocrats at the top keep pushing their thinly veiled racist bullshit.

    But, you know what? I’m hopeful. Because I believe in America. I believe in Americans. I believe that we overcame the plutocrats before, and we’ll do it again. We’re Babylon, and we’re Israel. Unfortunately, that’s the price of democracy. But people are powerful, and when we come together and learn that again, we’ll stop letting the bastards grind us down and take this country back from the powers that be.

    It’s gonna take a lot of learning and a lot of hardship, but that’s not always a bad thing. I just hope we do it sooner rather than later.

  • Hawker40

    I always said it as “Chickfilla”.

    For chicken, I like KFC… does this make me evil, or just wrong?

  • http://apocalypsereview.wordpress.com/ Invisible Neutrino

    KFC is that kind of guilty pleasure you wish you hadn’t had, but HOLY GOOD GOD DOES IT TASTE GOOD.

  • PJ Evans

     Coleslaw, the way I learned it was one L is ‘fill-ay’ (or ‘fee-lay’ in French), and two Ls is ‘fill-et’.

  • Lori

    Clearly, since you are saying it the same way I do, it makes you wise and witty :)

    I like Popeye’s better than KFC, but KFC better than CFA.

  • http://blog.trenchcoatsoft.com Ross

    I just wonder how long it’ll be until we see actual violence against these banks. I’m not saying that I want to see it, I have a child and violence in the streets is the last thing that I want him to be exposed to. But, how much longer can people take these kinds of things? How long until some cops come and try to foreclose on a guy who really, really likes guns, and really, really hates the government? I know that conservatives on the internet like to pretend that they’re all super-humanly responsible and none of them ever miss paying any bills, but we all know that can’t possibly be the case.

    So far, at this point in history, people with power and money have been MASSIVELY successful at getting the major part of the populace to blame the government for the banks’ bad behavior. I’m scared of what the reckoning will be because if they think that no abuse is so great that the people will turn on them instead of continuing to blame the government, illegal immigrants, minority races, religions and sexualities, then that’s going to lead to a bad end regardless of whether or not they’re proven right to believe that.

    (Personally, I have a horrible nightmare scenario where the rich decide that the “solution” is to literally cull the population, kill off the poorest 20% or so to put the rest of the proles in their place.)

  • Lori

     

    Personally, I have a horrible nightmare scenario where the rich decide
    that the “solution” is to literally cull the population, kill off the
    poorest 20% or so to put the rest of the proles in their place.  

    Well, they’re already culling the poorest by doing things like denying them health care, putting all the toxic waste in their neighborhoods, using police violence and disproportionate imprisonment and allowing the ready availability of guns so that they’ll kill each other. I’m not sure the interests of the rich are served by further reducing the population.

    They get great utility from things like the fact that no matter how lousy your job is there are plenty of people who would be happy to take it if you aren’t willing to take whatever shit the bosses hand out in order to keep it. I’m pretty sure that keeping the poor fighting each other serves the rich better than an outright cull ever could. One of the things that I find interesting about the Plague is the way the massive population drop ended up raising the standard of living for the poor who managed to survive. The plutocrats have no interest in seeing that happen.

  • http://www.blogger.com/home?pli=1 Coleslaw

    I tried writing it both ways and they both looked wrong. But maybe I should have written “filet” with one “l”.

  • Gotchaye

    Well, no one ever said the rich were rational.  I’m not disagreeing with you, but some of the very wealthy are increasingly buying into their own hype.  They’re not really smarter or more rational than anyone else; they have a bunch of habits that are helpful for turning big piles of money into bigger piles of money, but that might not even be good for /them/.

    That said, I’m not worried about a straight-up culling, but I find it pretty plausible that all of the stuff you mention in your first paragraph is /already/ more oppression than is good for the rich.  Rich people now have a bunch of awesome stuff.  But a lot of that awesome stuff came from a widely educated population, lots of infrastructure investment, etc. (I’m not pretending that this is news to anyone)  Yeah, cheap labor is nice, and keeping everyone else down gets you status, but the rich are at a point where they’re just being silly if they think that more money is going to do much for them.  They already pay a /lot/ for weird luxury items because what else are they going to spend their money on; surely paying more collectively in order to bring about whole new categories of stuff to own makes sense.

  • Xian-x

    In case you haven’t already seen it, economist L. Randall Wray recently discussed the pervasive fraud in the financial sector.

    http://www.nakedcapitalism.com/2012/07/randy-wray-why-were-screwed.html

    There is, quite simply, no part of the financial system that is not riddled with fraud. The fraud cannot be reduced much less eliminated. First, there are no regulators to stop it, and no prosecutors to punish it. But, far more importantly, fraud is the business model. Further, even if a financial institution tried to buck the trend it would fail…

    Thirty years ago we could still write of a dichotomy–industry versus finance–and categorize GE and GM as industrial firms, with Goldman Sachs as a financial firm. Those days are gone, with GM requiring a bail-out because of its financial misdealings (auto production was just a sideline business used to burden households with debt owed to GMAC, the main business line), and Goldman Sachs buying up all the grain silos to run up food prices in a speculative bubble.

    Food? Financialized. Energy? Financialized. Healthcare? Financialized. Homes? Financialized. Government? Financialized…

  • http://blog.trenchcoatsoft.com Ross

    Last year, a guy I know wrote an article tangentially about The Social Network in which he suggested that for the plutocratic class, the value of being rich is not simply that you can have awesome stuff, but that you can deprive others of it. The levels of greed, of corruption, the utter disregard even for their own long-term advantage can’t be explained purely by a desire to maximize what they themselves *have* without the consideration that they have to *also* believe that the poor *do not* deserve it — it is less important (though not unimportant that they personally have massive amounts of wealth than that those contemptible, sub-human worthless demi-human poor people don’t have it. 

    And if that’s your game, even something like a cull isn’t off the table, because the point isn’t to maximize their own advantage, it’s to put the screws to the working person.

  • Lori

    But once I’m dead they can’t stick it to me any more. They’ve played their hand and in a way, lost because their toy is gone. I’ve lost bigger, but they don’t care about me so that doesn’t matter. If they keep me around I can continue to suffer for their entertainment.

    I guess my death in the cull could, through fear & intimidation, increase the suffering of the remaining Great Unwashed enough to be a net gain.

  • AnonymousSam

    Their Double Down is the stuff of Mississippian horror (610 calories, and 1800 mg of sodium!), but at least you’ll die happily.

  • Gotchaye

    That’s depressing.  I’d like to think that there isn’t a whole lot of that kind of straight-up maliciousness.  But I’ve worked with people for whom the most important thing is that nobody get anything that they don’t deserve, so I know it’s out there.  I’ve heard wishes to “send people to the mines” for various infractions (being able-bodied and unemployed, for example).  Some at least seem to be doing it for the same reason that some people uncomfortably worship a God that wants them to be hateful – they think that Economics demands that poor people not be allowed to “enjoy” poverty.  But some are just vindictive, and want above all else for nobody worse than them (which is everyone) to be allowed to think for one second that they’re equals. So reminders are required.

  • reynard61

    As I said in a prior posting: From now on, I’m calling it “Jack Chick-fil-A”.

  • MaryKaye

    I have to close a BoA account, and I am waiting for a week when my workload is very light, because *every time* we get zombie’d.  Every time my checkbook has ever been stolen, which is I think 3 times in the last 20 years.  One of the three managed to involve collection agencies.  As I have always has the means to pay my bills on time, that’s my only brush with collection agencies.  Do Not Like.

    I think I will try the “Write and sign a letter saying that you will NOT re-open this account, or else” approach this time and see if it works.

    I wish I had gotten out years ago.  I’m a bit ashamed that I didn’t.

  • SisterCoyote

     Heh. Popeye’s has been the family favorite since I was a kid. I’ve actually been a vegetarian for… four years, now? But I will cheerfully, when we’re both in the mood, take my little sister to Popeye’s. She buys chicken, I buy coleslaw, biscuits, and beans and rice, and we try not to drool on the car until we get home.

    They’re just that good.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Alan-Alexander/502988241 Alan Alexander

    (Personally, I have a horrible nightmare scenario where the rich decide
    that the “solution” is to literally cull the population, kill off the
    poorest 20% or so to put the rest of the proles in their place.)

    Not too far-fetched in my book. Why else are the elites working so hard to ignore global warming and Peak Oil, two problems which are politically intractable right now, but which would be much easier to address if the global population were, say, reduced by 50%.
     

  • Alex B

    “I just wonder how long it’ll be until we see actual violence against these banks. I’m not saying that I want to see it, I have a child and violence in the streets is the last thing that I want him to be exposed to. But, how much longer can people take these kinds of things? How long until some cops come and try to foreclose on a guy who really, really likes guns, and really, really hates the government? I know that conservatives on the internet like to pretend that they’re all super-humanly responsible and none of them ever miss paying any bills, but we all know that can’t possibly be the case.”

    This already happened earlier this year in Modesto, CA. A sherrif and locksmith were killed while serving an eviction.

  • http://apocalypsereview.wordpress.com/ Invisible Neutrino

    Suddenly, the ‘verse of Harry Harrison’s “Homeworld/Wheelworld/Starworld” Trilogy is starting to seem disturbingly more realistic in possibility.

    Spoilers for the series follows: ( http://www.rot13.com/index.php )

    Va Ubzrjbeyq, vg vf erirnyrq gb gur znva punenpgre gung gur ryvgrf bs Rnegu unir qryvorengryl pbafgehpgrq gur cbfg-crgebyrhz penfu rpbabzl gb eha nybat dhnfv-srhqny yvarf; sbe fbzr bqq ernfba, gur Vfenryv tbireazrag unf fbzrubj orpbzr gur ybar ubyqbhg (cerfhznoyl orpnhfr jvgu gur ybff bs bvy, gur znwbe cbjref bs gur jbeyq ab ybatre unq nal vagrerfg va gur Zvqqyr Rnfg, naq jrer pbagrag gb yrg gur angvbaf gurer svtug vg bhg nf ybat nf gurl qvqa’g ebpx gur obng.

    Vg vf rynobengrq va Fgnejbeyq gung Rnegu’f angvbany tbireazragf ner ryvgr-qbzvangrq, ohg gung gurl gbbx qvssrerag ebhgrf va erfgehpghevat fbpvrgl jbeyq-jvqr gb cerfreir cbjre sbe n fznyy tebhc bs crbcyr sbe uhaqerqf bs lrnef; va Terng Oevgnva, gur pynff fgehpgher unf sbffvyvmrq nybat jvgu n checbfrqyl er-jevgvat bs uvfgbel gb bofpher gur gehgu. Nf fhpu, Oevgvfu fbpvrgl unf orpbzr cngreanyvfgvp gbjneqf gur cbbe; gurl ner tenagrq vyy-cnlvat wbof naq/be gur qbyr, naq ner crezvggrq gurve zvabe vyyrtnyvgvrf (qehtf rgp) nf ybat nf gurl qba’g ebpx gur obng. Gur evpu, zrnajuvyr, ner rapbhentrq gb abg fbpvnyvmr jvgu gur cbbe hayrff nofbyhgryl arprffnel, naq ner tvira serr npprff gb vagreangvbany geniry naq rkpryyrag jryy-cnlvat wbof, ntnva nf ybat nf gurl qba’g ebpx gur obng.

    Ol pbagenfg, gur ryvgrf bs gur Havgrq Fgngrf rkcyvpvgyl pbafgehpgrq gurve dhnfvsrhqny fbpvrgl nybat enpvfg yvarf, pbaqrzavat gur oynpxf naq bgure zvabevgvrf gb crecrghny cbiregl naq znxvat ab frperg bs gur jnl va juvpu gurl unir oyngnagyl, hasnveyl frvmrq cbjre naq unir ab vagrag bs tvivat vg hc.

    Gur Fbivrg Havba fheivirf, n evtvq ohernhpengvp uryyubyr, crezvggvat nofbyhgryl mreb vaqvivqhny vavgvngvir va gur vagrerfg bs znvagnvavat gur qrnq unaq bs gur Fbivrg fgngr naq vgf bja ryvgrf, cbfg-crgebyrhz penfu.

    Vg vf qrongnoyr juvpu cbfg-ncbpnylcgvp fbpvrgl vf gur orfg bs n frg bs onq nygreangvirf: Gur Oevgvfu, juvpu yvrf gb vgf bja crbcyr, ohg tehqtvatyl cnepryf bhg erfbheprf gung nccebkvzngr fbzr xvaq bs onfvp zvavzhz fgnaqneq; Gur Nzrevpna, juvpu gryyf vgf crbcyr gur gehgu, ohg znxrf mreb nggrzcg gb cebivqr zrnavatshyyl gb nal crbcyr abg pbafvqrerq cneg bs gur ryvgr pynff; Gur Fbivrg, juvpu perngrf n snepvpny nggrzcg ng ‘rdhnyvgl’ juvyr fdhrrmvat nyy vaqvivqhny guvaxvat bhg bs crbcyr va beqre gb cerirag dhrfgvbavat gur shaqnzragny onfvf ba juvpu gung flfgrz bcrengrf.

    Gur xrl cbvag gung Uneel Uneevfba jnf znxvat jvgu gurfr obbxf, V guvax, vf gung jvqrfcernq qvfnfgref pna oevat bhg gur jbefg va fbpvrgvrf sbe lrnef, vs abg trarengvbaf, gb pbzr. Cbfg-Xngevan Ybhfvnan vf n fznyy pnfr va cbvag: gur rqhpngvba flfgrz bs Arj Beyrnaf jnf checbfryl erfgehpgherq gb tvir cevbevgl gb cevingr pbecbengvbaf naq punegre fpubbyf vafgrnq bs ervafgngvat gur choyvp rqhpngvba flfgrz.

  • aunursa

    I don’t normally rehash three-week old threads.  But your comment in which you cited an old quote that Yasser Arafat “never misses an opportunity to miss an opportunity” was so juicy and so begging for a response, that I couldn’t resist.

  • http://apocalypsereview.wordpress.com/ Invisible Neutrino

    … so?

    You’ve proven yourself unable to give a good goddamn about any perspective outside a straight white reasonably well-off males and you think tweaking me about the Hasbara Handbook means you get the powerup and win the game?

    Point, you. Missed.

  • aunursa

    I will apologize for mischaracterizing the source of your pro-Israeli commentary and also admit that I was wrong about the exact quote mentioned in the book.

    I’m not asking for an apology.  I’m merely pointing out the irony.  My only disappointment is that you responded here rather than on the original thread.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=581585394 Nicholas Kapur

    Just a heads up, since I’ve been doing research for my vegetarian girlfriend: The red beans and rice at Popeye’s aren’t strictly vegetarian. I think they have some pork in them.

  • http://apocalypsereview.wordpress.com/ Invisible Neutrino

    Speaking of, I believe there may be possible cross-contamination (unintentional, but present) for a number of places that deep-fry their french fries in proximity to meat preparation and cooking.

  • Lori

     

    This already happened earlier this year in Modesto, CA. A sherrif and locksmith were killed while serving an eviction.   

    That’s horrible. I’m sorry sorry for the victims and their families.

    The other thing I’m sorry for is that I hadn’t heard about it. That’s the kind of thing that should be national news of the “Look! Look at what is happening to people because of what we’ve allowed to happen to the economy” sort. Example# 4872 of Out Press Is Failing Us, which is seriously not helping us stop failing each other.


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