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Banks are Evil
and a Credit Card is a Passport to Hell

Banks, like beggars, cockroaches, taxmen, and bad drivers, seem to be here to stay. I don't imagine that we will be able to eliminate them any time soon, and I don't endorse any pointless act of violence against them. Bombing a bank is like pulling up a dandelion; if you don't kill the root, you haven't done anything useful. Nor do I hope that legislation, litigation, or protest will improve banks. It is the concept that is evil, not the implementation. But we will make considerable progress if we simply accept that banks are evil, and shun them whenever possible.


Why are banks evil?

A big part of the problem with a bank is that, like any corporation, it is a construct for the dispersal of responsibility. It is impossible to hold any one employee responsible for all the bank's crimes and sins against gods and men. From the CEO and president on down to the teller and guard, everyone can point to somebody else to shift the blame. "It's our policy."

Dispersal of responsibility is inherent in the notion of the modern corporate bank. But it is not inherent in the plain, simple concept of banking. Many of the ills of the corporate bank cannot thrive in a bank on a smaller, more personal scale. All these abuses of the public trust and of the individual are, by definition, due to the corporate nature of the bank, and cannot be treated properly here . See: Corporations are Inhuman.

The other classes of harm wrought by banks are inherent in the idea of accumulating money, storing it, paying and demanding interest. These ills are peculiar to banking and will be treated here.

Standard Marxist doctrine holds that labor is the only true value; capital is an accumulation of labor. This is only partially true. Capital also represents an aggregation of resources and land. (Qubble noted.) Labor itself is properly divided into creation and toil. Therefore, capital is the sum of creation, toil, resources, and land.

I hold it as a tenent that it is wrong to exchange these four values freely. This tenent cannot be fully explored here -- See: The color of money. I will have to ask my readers to accept this tenent in order to move on.

Obviously, banks facilitate the exchange of values. In particular, they give great power to those who hold capital. Worst of all, they give the greatest power to those who hold not even true capital, but merely money -- the abstraction of capital.

Banks make it possible for the very rich to remain rich, without investment of any kind of labor -- and to become richer. Since it is not possible to generate true wealth without labor, banks must steal from others to give to the rich.

In other words, banks promote The Man's agenda.

If you believe, as I do, that it is wrong for anyone to take from another by force, then you must agree that banks are evil.


Who says are banks evil?

Jesus Christ says so:

...and Jesus went into the temple, and began to cast out them that sold and bought in the temple, and overthrew the tables of the moneychangers...And he taught, saying unto them, Is it not written, My house shall be called of all nations the house of prayer? but ye have made it a den of thieves.
-- Mark 11:15-17
Saint Paul says so:

For the love of money is the root of all evil: which while some coveted after, they have erred from the faith, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows.
-- Timothy 6:10
Muhammed (may his Name be praised) says so:

And what you give in interest that it may increase on (other) people's wealth, increases not with Allah...
-- Koran 30:39

"Those who consume interest shall not rise, except as he rises whom Satan by his touch prostrates (i.e one who is misled); that is because they say:"Trade is like interest"; whereas, Allah has permitted trading but forbidden interest. Whosoever receives a warning from his/her Lord, he shall have his past gains and his affair is committed to Allah; but whosoever reverts (to devouring interest) those, they are the inhabitants of the fire, therein dwelling forever.
-- Koran 2:275

These English translations by:
Asadi, Muhammed A. Koran: A Scientific Analysis. Lahore. IPU. 1992

Liberals say so:

  1. IMF/World Bank structural adjustment programs have increased poverty around the world.
  2. IMF/World Bank "debt relief" for poor and indebted countries is a sham.
  3. The IMF has helped foster a severe depression in Russia.
  4. The IMF helped create and worsen the Asian financial crisis.
  5. The IMF bails out big banks.
  6. IMF/World Bank structural adjustment programs devastate the environment.
  7. IMF/World Bank structural adjustment programs contribute to the spread of HIV/AIDS.
  8. IMF/World Bank structural adjustment programs harm women.
  9. IMF/World Bank structural adjustment programs and Bank project loans have led to deforestation worldwide.
  10. World Bank policies have displaced millions of people around the world.
  11. The World Bank's International Finance Corporation (IFC) provides corporate welfare for environmentally destructive projects.
  12. April 16 (2000, protest in D. C.) is a chance to make history.
--A Dozen Reasons to Oppose the IMF and World Bank
By Russell Mokhiber and Robert Weissman

http://www.whisperedmedia.org/reasons.html

Conservatives say so:

A bank founded by DNC (DEMOCRAT) chairman Terry McAuliffe, which federal regulators determined used unsafe and unsound banking practices, awarded an "unusual and unsecured" loan to Rep. Richard Gephardt in the late 1980s.

--Dittohead Deb at
http://www.dittohead.org/views.html

Banks are killing us with charges. ATM services are services that banks offer to expand their business, to make it easy for them to expand their customer base, so what should we be charged. They should be paying (us) to use their banks. I work in the computer industry so I know how much resources are used with the ATMs. Everything is done mostly between computers (not with) human intervention. Yes there is some cost but if you average the cost between the ATM fee and customer use, the banks are making a killing on use. We can and we should make them lower these fees.

-- Larry at
http://www.rushonline.com/visitors/atm.htm

The New York Times says so:

At least 1,000 banks are encouraging customers with low balances to overdraw their checking accounts, allowing the banks to skirt credit laws and collect billions of dollars in new fees....

Unlike (traditional) lines of credit, which typically charge annual interest of up to 20 percent, the new programs charge flat fees for each overdraft that translate into an annual rate of 1,000 percent or more. Unlike traditional lines of credit, which allow repayment whenever the customer chooses, these programs require customers to bring their accounts back into balance in only a few days. While traditional lines of credit have limits of several thousand dollars, the new programs have limits of $100 to $300. After that, banks allow the checks to bounce....

The rapid spread of the programs has turned overdrafts, and the fees that come with them, into one of the largest sources of profit for banks, according to consultants and statistics compiled by government bank regulators. Washington Mutual charged customers more than $1 billion in overdraft fees last year, some industry analysts estimated.

But regulators, consumer groups and some bankers and industry analysts say the overdraft programs, which come with fees of up to $35 per overdraft, are essentially high-interest loans aimed at working-class customers. And because the programs work automatically with debit cards, customers often do not realize they have overdrawn their accounts until they receive a letter from the bank disclosing the fee....

--Alex Berenson, NYT, 23 Jan 2003 (emp. added)

Pink Floyd says so:

...I'm alright Jack keep your hands offa my stack...

--Money, from Dark Side of the Moon

At least one Tasmanian Messiah says so:

For any "fool" who does from another "Steal," legally or not, does his own fate seal." This is what your God does say through His pen today.
And what about the "Bank" and its "Policy" that says:
"Your funds are safe if you give them to me."?
But the reality is, they will give the funds away if the "robber" shows power play, and does use some "threat" of "Legality." In reality, immoral impropriety, that any should wish to another's funds "Seize" is for sure a sickening "disease," and the people on earth now need to know which way the power boys go, seeking, every which way, to "legalise" the theft of another's daily pay. All in the guise of:
"We are the ones "wise," we know what is best for you. You just shut up, pay up, and thus be true to our incessant demand, that is in fact an "irrevocable" command, and for sure we will solicitors "employ" who will for sure any "dissident" destroy."
--Malaher, The TAXATION & BANKERS Doc. at
http://www.the-testament-of-truth.com/web/bank02.htm

War Stories

Mike Hiras:

Being of Greek descent, I like cash!...Being treated like a subject rather than a customer seems to be a reoccurring theme in our country today by banks and a (slew) of other companies....it seems customers have gotten so used to being treated like morons that they will take so much abuse and not do a thing about it....this is what gives companies like banks the ability to continuously treat customers like crap while continuing to increase profits and business. Amazing isn't it?...

My local bank was originally Commonwealth Bank, taken over by Meridian, then taken over by someone else, and finally Sovereign Bank. Each takeover has resulted in poorer and poorer customer service, less competitive rates, me having to purchase new checks...and a shrinking ATM network. Customer service lines have gotten worse, and expecting to resolve an issue usually never happens....

To describe the incident which has caused me to hate this bank...I use the (debit card) for deducting my Internet service from my checking account....under a credit card, if it is "maxed" out the transaction gets declined. That's how it is supposed to work! To my surprise my account gets overdrawn, thus the addition of a $25.00 overdraft fee to my account. I thought this had to be a mistake. If my account was a $1.00 short of what was needed to be in there to cover the transaction, it should have been declined....

The FBI put the Mafia away for extorting money; maybe they should look at banks....

Last month the exact same incident reoccurred. Now the overdraft fee was raised to $30.00. Twelve days later, I received a notification in the mail to let me know that the account was overdrawn and with an additional $5.00/day fee for every day the account was (overdrawn) past 5 business days. Needless to say I was mad! When I got on the phone this time, I was told that Sovereign Bank allows overdrafts to occur on (debit card) transactions as a "courtesy" to their customers to avoid declines. When I asked if the $30.00 +$5.00/day overdraft fees were also a customer courtesy the lady laughed....

The only plus side: they give doggie treats at the window....

--"Sovereign Bank" on Epinions at:
http://www.epinions.com/content_31614537348

bionicroach:
When you have 18 million dollar wires not showing up when and where they should be, it tends to be a problem!...

The bottom line is, unfortunately, that pretty much all banks are evil empires when you get down to it. They are all getting filthy rich using other people's money. The only saving grace is that some of them actually do some work for that money...

--29 Dec 2000 at
http://greggman.com/pages/wellsfargo.htm

7sefton:
i have been with the halifax (bank) for many years, and it has been mistake after mistake and scam after scam....

i have been reduced to tears in my branch twice in the past two years...

the staff belittled me constantly.

their arrogance and crude greed has been extraordinary, both with my personal affairs and national outrages such as the flip-board scandal, the mortgage robbery and other matters....

never in my life have i ever dealt with such a distant and incompetent institution.

-- at
http://www.dooyoo.co.uk/banking_finance/credit_cards/halifax_in_general/_review/364957/

xiong:

I could tell several personal war stories about evil banks, but I'll just restrict myself to two. You can fill in the blanks.

Recurring Overdraft

When I first moved to China, I was at sea, cut off from all normal means of communication. It was months before I figured out how to get permission to make an international phone call from my own telephone -- until then, I could only go to the post office, naturally only during Chinese daytime, worthless for doing most business with Americans. Mail to my little provincial home took weeks. But I thought I'd covered my bases before I even left for China, because I had my checking accounts and credit card bills plugged into the online bill payment service PayMyBills.

One month, I used PMB to issue a check drawn on Charter One Bank -- to pay a credit card bill, naturally. I knew I didn't have enough money in the account yet, so I sent a check to COB that, together with my existing balance, would adequately cover my debit. I was careful to leave plenty of time for the deposit to clear before the debit would be presented.

I discovered that the debit did not pay, though. Why? When I finally got my paper statement in the mail from COB, I discovered that they had failed to credit my deposit in the time I'd allowed -- even though the deposit had cleared the issuing bank. And although they did not pay the debit, they still charged me for an overdraft.

(Meanwhile, of course, the credit card bank was annoyed that I'd not paid, and hit me with a late fee, which altogether brought my balance overlimit, so of course they charged me an overlimit fee, too, aggravating the overlimit. This went on for months, too; every time I got a statement, I'd pay what they demanded, and more -- but it was never enough, because they'd continue to hit me with more fees. But that's another node!, or at least, another writeup.)

I quickly responded to the overdraft at COB by dumping about $200 into it. That, I thought, would take care of the overdraft fee and any other fallout, and re-establish my reputation as a serious customer (not = deadbeat). How wrong! I got the information late, due to the slow mail to China, but I eventually learned that my entire previous balance, plus the new deposit, had vanished.

It seems that the credit card bank presented their debit to COB a second time, and unaccountably they paid it, now that they had got around to crediting my first deposit -- seeing, no doubt, that the money was now there. But it was not all there, because of the first overdraft fee. So, they paid the debit, but charged me again for an overdraft.

And, while the mail was making its way to China, COB continued to charge me a recurring overdraft fee -- some piddling little sum of 7 dollars -- every single day. By the time my emergency deposit arrived, it just disappeared into the black hole thus dug.

Not content with stealing all my money, COB continued to rack up endless charges on my account. I could not email them, because banks don't want you to do that. I could not phone them, because of the time change and weirdo ChinaTelecom. I wrote them a paper letter, to receive in return a terse notice that my account had been closed and sold to a collection agency.

Now I am in ChexSystems, and though back in US, I can't open a checking account at most banks. But I will never, ever pay COB or their agency a penny, not if they lay a stack of 132 column greenbar on my legs and beat me with a used toner cart.

Non-customer

Since joining the ranks of the gainfully employed, I've had to deal with the paycheck. I took my first check to the nearest Bank of America, upon which it was drawn. The teller refused to cash it, as I am not a customer of BofA. The teller supervisor told me it was too much to cash outright -- less than $600 is "too much", in this grand multimillion dollar temple to Mammon.

I went back to my boss and told him the story. He said he couldn't imagine why I had trouble. He called the evil teller sup and said that none of his other workers ever had trouble cashing his paper. She said that it was not BofA policy to cash such large checks and that all the other tellers who had, were wrong.

He said he'd opened the account at the Powell Street branch and they would surely cash it there. We agreed that, one week only, I'd go to Joe's liquor store and pay him the vig to cash it with no bullshit.

Today, I got another check, this one for a princely sum indeed. I took it to Powell Street, where the teller said the check was not drawn on that branch at all, but on "Los Angeles". So, she would have to fax the check down to LA for verification. Forty-five minutes later, oops -- too bad -- the signature on the check does not match that on the signature card. Some discussion with my boss on cell phone. The teller sup at Powell Street took my check, fooled with it for 10 minutes at her desk, and said, "I'll cash it now. I know this account; they're good customers here."

Meanwhile, I am illegally parked in an alley, my bladder is bursting, and I'm losing time (= money) from work. When I asked a teller for the restroom, what do you think? "Oh, that is the employee's restroom. We don't have a restroom for customers."

The teller sup counted out my money, telling me all the while what a courtesy she was extending by cashing a $900 check drawn on her own damn bank. She shorted me $5, a penalty for daring to demand real money. Why don't I play the game, hand the paper off and let it rot for a few days before claiming the cash?

Next payday, I go pay Joe the vig. But somehow, I'm going to beat that out of my boss.


Rant

Banks are evil. We all know it, we all say it. But most of us shrug, as we do so often, and say banks are a necessary evil. I don't. I fail to see what service they provide society at large. I agree that they provide some of their customers valuable services, but so do hitmen. They do so by extorting money and time (= life) from the rest of us. Banks are thieves and thugs.

Why should I pay a bank to cash my check? I pay Joe because he's taking a risk. It's not his job anyway; his job is to sell booze. He takes my boss's paper as a business proposition, a gamble. But BofA is already earning interest on my boss's money, and if that's not enough, charging him for the privilege. If my boss doesn't want to pay cash like an honest man, let him pay the bank, fine. But if what he pays isn't enough to fill out BofA's bloated bottom line, why should I make up the difference?

It is particularly upsetting and nasty that I be shoved in the direction of joining the system -- opening an account -- by means of the runaround and fee. Bank advertising covers huge areas of what would otherwise be sky and trees -- isn't it enough? When ads fail, we'll penalize you for your freedom. And if you complain too loudly -- and we say what that is -- why, that's why Chuck is standing in the corner with his nightstick. It's not business; it's totalitarianism.

Personal checking accounts are loss leaders for most banks; there just isn't enough cash in them to make the overhead pay. Some banks just accept that checking is an opportunity to showcase excellent customer service in hopes of getting a customer's eventual loan business. Some banks insist on high minimum balances and monthly charges to help even the scales. But the current trend is "free" checking, with brutal overdraft fees (and anything else they can think of). As the NYT noted above, this is a gigantic moneymaker and a heinous abuse.

Let's face the plain truth: The world religion, the one being foisted upon the Earth by America and her First World allies, is Greed. Like Europeans of the Middle Ages, you do not have a choice; you must and will pay your respects to the official god -- Mammon, today, who demands his drop of blood from every exchange of value. Banks are nothing less than temples of the God of Money, and if you respect any other god, you'd better be prepared to fight -- or quit.

A Ray of Sunshine

Strict Muslims will not borrow money at interest, because they believe that all interest is usury, and forbidden. Islamic Banking is a response to this demand. But that's another node!

Special note to bankers:

Yeah, I know. You're just doing your job. But you won't march me to the gas chamber quietly.

See also:

Things you don't want to hear from your bank

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