Banks Are Assholes

Published by Rick on Tagged Uncategorized

                     I haven’t written an extended note for several weeks, and any number of excuses will fit here. This morning I decided I was going to write SOMETHING, but wasn’t sure what. Should I join the chorus of those deriding Samantha Brick, the vain blond who wrote the detestable Daily Mail column questioning why women hate her for being beautiful? Should I do another political diatribe about the stupidity of seemingly the entire Republican party and get into the usual disagreements with the usual suspects? More recently, should I write about the opening of the baseball season and how the Giants must be VERY concerned about Tim Lincecum? My gigs? Easter holiday? Freezing UK weather that refuses to acknowledge the calendar? Nothing was inspiring me. Until the mail came today.

                          There was only one letter, but it was one I sort of expected, because I’d gotten the same a year ago. It was from Halifax Bank, and it was my MasterCard statement. This MasterCard is only used for emergency cash advances, and in January, when I began my move to the new house, I was about £300 short of what I needed for deposit money. I knew I’d be able to pay it off within the next month, but the bank had other plans, plus I had a brain-dead moment when I made the first payment, not sure what I was thinking.

                          Just before I went to California in mid-February, I got a fair chunk of money in, so I decided I’d pay this bill in full and save on interest. I have no idea what caused my mind to blank, but when I went to the bank, I only paid £200 of the £300 I owed. I didn’t realize it until a couple of days later, when I was on a plane to San Francisco. OK I thought, I’ll pay the balance off when I get back. I did that, but a week later, the March statement came in the post claiming I owed £2.34 in accumulated interest on the £100 I hadn’t paid in February. OK. my bad, I went right to the bank, gave them the £2.34, and thought foolishly that we were settled. So if you’ve read this far, you know what’s coming, and I sort of knew it was coming: Today’s statement read that I owed the princely sum of £0.01!!!

                           How absurd that possibly an entire tree died for the four-page notice plus return envelope and flyer to notify me of my single pence debt which would only be profitable to them if I decided not to pay it, then they could slap a late charge on me. This same inconvenience was imposed on me a year ago under virtually the same circumstances, though the middle amount I’d owed was only 10 pence, not £2.34. Still I was billed a month later for 1p, because apparently the banks didn’t feel they had bled me dry enough.

                          About 40 years ago, I opened my first bank account, at Bank of America, whose B of A nickname is believed to stand for “Bunch of Assholes.”  My brother advised me to do so because it seemed dangerous to be keeping cash in the house, and he had a point. It had only been a couple of months after I opened up the account that I was assessed overdrawn charges for something that was THEIR fault. They relented, but only because I had the deposit slip which indicated the time of my last deposit, which was indeed before they had paid the check they claimed I overdrew on. As we haggled, I said to the bank flunkey, “You know my brother told me to put my money in a bank so I could avoid getting ripped off. He didn’t say anything about the BANK being the ones ripping me off!”

                         When I left B of A about five years and at least as many rip-offs later, they were so NICE and apologetic for all the misunderstandings, and offered all these fantastic “savings opportunities.” Wells Fargo Bank didn’t turn out to be a blessing, either, but at least it took them a bit longer to start gouging me. I’m grateful to Halifax Bank, though, that the one thing they, and as far as I know the other UK banks follow suit, don’t charge me a monthly service charge if I don’t maintain a certain minimum daily balance.

                        I keep being advised to open a US bank account so I don’t have to go through what I do every time I work in the US and can’t cash the paycheck before I leave the country. On Thursday, my check from The Comedy Store in LA finally was cashed and added to my Halifax account, a full month after I’d deposited the check, and SEVEN weeks after I’d done the gigs! But then, who’s to say the banks in the US wouldn’t find some creative way to fuck with my money just to get what they think is their right and privilege to have? At least this 1p assessment didn’t dampen my holiday spirit, though I plan to celebrate Easter by gigging in London, otherwise it would just be another Sunday. Happy Easter, y’all!! Banks are Cunts!     

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