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Would you leave your bank over new monthly fees for debit cards or checking accounts?
October 5th, 2011
05:00 PM ET

Would you leave your bank over new monthly fees for debit cards or checking accounts?

FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:

Take a good look at your bank statements, because financial institutions are tacking on new fees as fast as they can.

Bank of America has come under a lot of fire for a planned $5 monthly charge for debit card use.

The only way to avoid the fee is to have a mortgage with the bank, keep a $20,000 minimum balance, or use the debit card only for ATM transactions.

And Bank of America isn't the only one going the way of debit fees:

Wells Fargo says it's testing a $3 monthly fee in several states. and JP Morgan Chase announced a similar test last year.

The banks are blaming new fees on Wall Street reform enacted after the bank bailouts, and more specifically the so-called Durbin amendment.

The measure - named after Democratic senator Dick Durbin of Illinois - limits banks to charging $0.21 per debit card transaction. They used to charge an average of $0.44. The new rule is expected to cost the banks about $5 billion a year.

So naturally they are looking for somewhere else to make that money up; and what better place than the consumer, right?

But Durbin himself claims that debit card usage costs banks less than $0.12 per transaction - far below the new cap of $0.21. He says consumers should consider switching banks to where they're treated better because of fees like this.

Meanwhile, Citibank - which bashed Bank of America on debit fees - will soon be charging many customers monthly fees for their checking accounts - unless they maintain much higher balances.

Here’s my question to you: Would you leave your bank over new monthly fees for debit cards or checking accounts?

Interested to know which ones made it on air?

FULL POST

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Filed under: Money
Does the U.S. have any business telling Europe how to fix its financial troubles?
Pensioners carry a banner reading "We refuse to pay the head-tax," as they march in Athens to protest against further austerity measures.
September 28th, 2011
04:33 PM ET

Does the U.S. have any business telling Europe how to fix its financial troubles?

Here’s my question to you:

Note to the United States from Germany: Mind your own business.

Can't really blame them. President Obama, the owner of a $14 trillion national debt and $1 trillion plus annual deficits, scolded European leaders for letting the Greek debt crisis get out of hand.

Mr. Obama said that Europe's financial crisis is "scaring the world."

Germany's finance minister pushed back, saying "it's always much easier to give advice to others than to decide for yourself. I am well prepared to give advice to the U.S. government." Ouch.

But he's got a point. The United States hardly presents a picture of fiscal soundness.

We're facing unsustainable $1 trillion plus annual deficits and a $14 trillion national debt. So far, no one in the government has been serious about doing anything meaningful about either one.

There's also the president's $447 billion jobs program. It's going nowhere fast. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, a fellow Democrat, says the Senate won't even take up the bill until they come back from this week's recess. Reid says, "we'll get to that."

Meanwhile, Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner spent the last three weekends travelling around Europe meeting with their leaders and telling them how to conduct their affairs. It's no wonder he was given the cold shoulder on several of his stops.

Granted in today's global economy, what happens in Europe greatly affects us here in the U.S. - but there's an old saying: "Let he who is without sin cast the first stone."

Here’s my question to you: Does the U.S. have any business telling Europe how to fix its financial troubles?

Interested to know which ones made it on air?

FULL POST

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Filed under: European Opinion • Money
June 2nd, 2011
05:00 PM ET

Do you believe another financial crisis is around the corner?

FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:

Housing prices falling back to their lowest level since 2002, before the Great Recession began, back-to-back discouraging jobs reports, a slowdown in consumer spending. Take your pick: There's not a lot of rosy news on the economy this week. So much for that whole recovery thing.

Traders work on the floor on the New York Stock Exchange.

Traders work on the floor on the New York Stock Exchange.

Stocks plummeted yesterday on all this news. The Dow Jones Industrials were off more than 2 percent. And the Dow and S&P 500 were down again today.

The big employment report for the month of May comes out tomorrow. Economists are hoping to see 185,000 jobs added. If not, it could be another wild day for the markets.

Talk of a possible double-dip recession is now heating up among economists. And earlier this week, fund manager Mark Mobius told a Foreign Correspondents' Club in Tokyo that another financial crisis is just around the corner because little has changed to regulate what largely caused the first collapse - the derivatives market. New rules to regulate derivatives are scheduled to roll out later this year and others are in the pipeline… but Wall Street-friendly lawmakers are putting up a fight.

This all comes at a time when Washington is trying to figure out how to cut spending in order to lower the deficit... all while playing chicken with the debt ceiling. Moody's Investor Service is threatening to slash the U.S. credit rating if lawmakers do not make significant progress on budget talks by July, out of fear the U.S. could default on its loans. It's going to be a long, hot summer.

Here’s my question to you: Do you believe another financial crisis is around the corner?

Interested to know which ones made it on air?

FULL POST


Filed under: Money
January 5th, 2011
06:00 PM ET

Your financial resolutions for the new year?

FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:

Instead of the more traditional New Year's resolutions to lose weight or hit the gym, how about getting your financial house in order in 2011?

According to one recent survey, a whopping 70% of consumers say their top financial resolution is to decrease their debt. That's followed by improving their credit score, relying less on credit cards and saving more.

USA Today takes a look at five easy financial resolutions that could save you big money.

  • Order your free credit reports. This is especially important because a damaged credit report can hurt your ability to get a job.
  • Get a medical exam. Preventive health care can help your doctor identify medical problems before they become serious, thus reducing future health care costs. Thanks to changes in Medicare and the new health care law, millions of Americans can now get free physicals.
  • Update beneficiaries on your insurance policies, pensions and retirement plans. Experts say people often forget to do this and if they unexpectedly die, the money doesn't go where they want it to.
  • Increase your 401(k) contributions. Many workers reduced their retirement savings during the economic downturn, when companies froze matching contributions. But many of these companies are starting to match again.
  • Re-balance your 401(k) portfolio. Financial advisers recommend reviewing your investment portfolio at least once a year. Ignoring the changes in the market can cost you a lot of money.

Here’s my question to you: What are your financial resolutions for the new year?

Interested to know which ones made it on air?

FULL POST


Filed under: Money • Personal Finances
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