Thursday, November 22, 2007

Timing Isn't Everything

Tomorrow, of course, is Black Friday. I, for one, will not be out at the crack o'dawn to scour for bargains. I used to work retail during the Christmas Season. I'm sure I reduced my sentence in Hell by at least a quarter. It's an ugly time.

However, if I was out there at the crack o'dawn, my bankcard would not be workable. As in kapput, da nada, no matter how many crazy American $$ I have in my account. Why is this, you ask? Let me digress.

The end of September a major bank went bust. As in bust like during the Depression, minus the long lines outside. There was virtually no news coverage of the event, which you would have thought should have created a financial ripple or two. The bank was NetBank who had started as a humble Internet bank and risen to prominent size and scope. They were apparently heavy into the mortgage business and got their corporate mammary glands caught in a ringer. When Ever Bank tried to buy them out, things didn't work out. So the Feds closed NB. This was on a Friday. We left for England the next Tuesday. Yes, there was some panic on this end as I'd moved a sizeable portion of $$ into our checking account so we could get to it while in Merry Olde. I also had a lot of Brit currency, which was all we actually needed. Luckily, the Feds and the bank that took control of the assets (ING Direct, the folks with the orange lion logo) got the online banking back up to snuff quickly. Somehow I suspected that not all of the shoes had dropped.

Then we got the email. On Friday, Nov. 23 our debit cards would not longer work. Sorry for the inconvenience. And that was ALL the message other than a phone number you could call if you were confused. No explanation why. I suspect the suspension of the debit cards (curiously 8 exact weeks after the takeover) is a Fed rule, but you never saw that in any of the paperwork we rec'd. Just "so sorry" and poof the debit cards are now neutered.

As is our checking account on Dec. 7th. ING doesn't do paper checks, you see, so we have to open a checking account at some other bank if we want to continue to that sort of outdated, Luddite thing. Okaaaaay. There are some folks who have to paid by check as they aren't wired for the online bill pay. Which is going away, as well. All those lovely accounts I've set up with addresses, acct numbers, etc. POOF.

Do you see a trend here? So we are trudging over to The Other Bank on Black Friday and opening accounts. They are a smaller banking group, very friendly and just what we need. We'd already moved our business accounts to them and been very pleased with their customer service.

So, Mr. Big Orange Lion -- ya got a snappy logo, I'll give you that, but nothing else is that exciting. That's one of the joys of America -- you can't sling the proverbial dead feline without hitting a bank. Hopefully this one does a much better job.


steve said...

Jana--these guys seem to have all the business ethics of your Time Rovers corporation. When I lived in Philly, I used tor ride the train by ING headquarters--Wilmington, DE. Delaware is one of two states that has no usury law--they can charge loan-shark interest (probably they should call it "vig") legally, and our Supreme Court says that a DE or SD corporation does not have to abide by the usury laws of any other state. Wilmington probably has more banks per capita than any city anywhere.

That's one reason I don't trust Joe Biden. He was one of the chief sponsors of the 2005 bankruptcy bill that gave the Wilmington banks even more wealth.

Pam Wyant said...

That is interesting, I wasn't aware.

With the mention of Biden that reminds me Jana that I was going to poke you with a stick and remind you that for those of us in Iowa, our little local gab fest, also known as "THE CAUCUS" is just around the corner. Actually at the rate we are going it could be any minute now.

So I'm still waiting on your very interesting point of view on other candidates. We got your input on Mr. G. but you know I'm not going there anyway. I'm interested in the other group of crazies. I'm not convinced any of them have a good answer on how to get us out of our current mess or how to do better in the future.

You know how I love it when you get on your soapbox!

Jana Oliver said...

We opened our new accounts at The Other Bank and are in the process of shutting down the ones at the bank formerly known as NetBank. It's going to mess up my bookkeeping, but that's already trash for the year anyway.

And yes, Pam, I do owe you folks a thought or two on the candidates, don't I? See next post.

Jana Oliver said...

An update on ING Direct. Well, they're pissing off their customers right and left. We've been receiving a blizzard of mail from them. Hubby called the other day, based on three letters we'd rec'd asking us to contact them immediately (one letter for each account, though one is already closed. So he called in an effort to expedite the closure of our checking account and to ensure the CD $$ are winging their way to us.

ING wouldn't talk to him unless he had a PIN number (which they had yet to send) and answered a lengthy list of personal questions. Hubby refused. They said unless he did all this, they wouldn't refund the $$ (!!!)

Hubby quoted from the letter he'd rec'd -- in 30 days, if we hadn't opened an account, ING would send the cash. So that's the way we're playing it. No need to give another entity a ton of personal information when we don't intend to do business with them.

It'll be interesting to see if we get the $$ in a timely fashion or not. If not, we'll be dialing the FDIC like a lot of other folks.

Film at 11...