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paper checks, you see, so we have to open a checking account at some other bank if we want to continue to that sort of outdated, Luddite thing.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.