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Robber Banks: All Banks are Robbers; but Some Banks are More Robbers

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Robber Banks or Robberbanks.org

All Banks are Robbers; but Some Banks are More Robbers 

Edip Yuksel

"'A Debit-Card Nation' (July 31) missed an opportunity to warn consumers about the perils of overdraft loans provided through debit cards. It says one of the virtues of debit cards is that you spend only the money you actually have, but most banks now allow customers to use debit cards even when they don't have enough money in their accounts. Instead of rejecting a transaction, the bank covers the draft with a loan and charges a fee of $25 to $35. The interest rate often exceeds 1,000 percent, turning your debit card into the most expensive credit card on the market. Banks can enroll their customers without asking them, fail to disclose the interest rates and often don't warn customers before charging the fee." (Eric Halperin, Director Center for Responsible Lending, Washington, D.C., Letters to the Editor, Newsweek, August 14, 2006).

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Every year, billions of dollars are stolen from bank customers not by criminals but by banks and other financial institutions through legalized robberies. They have created a number of ways to separate their customers from their money entrusted to them. One of the most lucrative ways of robbing their customers is through various fees, which are continuously increased far above the inflation rate. Early account-closing fees, paycheck fees, pay-card fees, account information fees, overdraft fees, overdraft protection fees, special fees such as for stopping payment on checks, ATM fees, and more fees. Unfortunately, our political system has been distorted through lobbies; banks have passed numerous laws to increase their exploitation and abuse.

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One of the frequent financial abuses is their 30+ dollar fee for overdraft charges, which in reality is unconscionable usury for unsolicited short term loans. Every year, millions of bank customers become the victim of their manipulative computer programs that deliberately delay or prioritize certain payments and transfers in order to inflict such fees on their customers. I use debit card, and I do not want to be charged when I do not have money in my account. But, my bank will try its best to force-feed me a short term loan in order to charge me 30+ dollars per such a loan. Customers are occasionally charged 30+ dollars for a few cents overdraft or for a couple of dollars charge for coffee. 

They employ various programming tricks to charge as much as possible for nothing. For instance, I learned that they do deliberately charge the checking account service fees in 13th or 14th of each month if their robber-guided program learns that it is the lowest balance time in the account of their "customers" (read it, milked cows) account. They know that this will increase their chance to inflict an overdraft fee, which is a euphemism for "screw-the-customer" or "usury". When once I asked them to change the service charge date for my checking account to another date, they told me that it was "impossible." Even though I offered to pay them full service charge for an extra month, their "impossible" excuse did not change; they know that they statistically have more chance to hit me with their 1000+ percent usury once a while in the future.

Together with some of my friends we decided to launch, robberbanks.org or robberbanks.com so that we can provide a voice for millions of scammed citizens and start a real class action against banks that use their complex automated services to rob their customers, especially those who hardly make the ends meet. This site soon will become more active in providing useful information for bank customers who are forced to work with banks through our modern financial system. The site also will contribute to the political and legal efforts to battle these giant leaches. We will open forums, provide links, and campaign for legal protection against robber banks. Most importantly, we will expose these sharks, by ranking banks according to their skills in robbing their costumers.

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We cannot have a healthy society if the gap between the haves and have-nots grow so much. Banks are contributing to this social malaise, and people need to be informed and organized to stop their taking advantage of those who can afford the least.

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EDIP YUKSEL, J.D. is a progressive American-Turkish-Kurdish author/philosopher/lawyer/activist (too many hyphens and slashes, I know). His recent English books "Quran: a Reformist Translation", "Manifesto for Islamic Reform", and "NINETEEN: God's (more...)
 

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