Last month, the people behind the Occupy Wall Street movement called for citizens of the United States to support Main Street by moving their money from large banks to small, local credit unions. There is a website—Move Your Money—dedicated to helping people do this. I’m ashamed to say that with all of my good intentions, I have failed to act—until now.
It isn’t easy closing one bank account in favor of another—not when you have automatic payments & deposits set up—but I’m willing to inconvenience myself and make that transition over the next couple of weeks.
I have banked with Wells Fargo since 1999; and although Wells Fargo isn’t the worst offender out there, they’re certainly on the list. I wrote the following letter to the CEO of Wells Fargo, John G. Stumpf, this morning:
I have been a customer of Wells Fargo since 1999; until recently, I have been satisfied with your customer service. Lately, I have been running into problems when trying to cash/deposit my paycheck. My employer banks with Wells Fargo, yet apparently a new policy prevents me from having access to my funds for 24 hours after I deposit my check; therefore, I have gotten into the habit of cashing my check and then immediately depositing that cash into my account. This strikes me as a bit absurd, but I’ve been willing to put up with it.
Here’s the problem: my wife and I are married, have the same last name, and share a joint account. Since my employer does not offer direct deposit, she takes my check to the bank on payday. Sometimes, depending on who is helping her, things go smoothly; other times she has been told that I have to write “pay to the order of” and sign the check before they can cash it.
Well … okay. This is how we’ve been doing it for months—until today. We live in New Brighton, Minnesota, yet my wife had business this morning in West St. Paul, which is many miles away. My wife stopped at the branch located at 1710 Robert Street South, West St. Paul, MN 55118-3918. The teller told her that they could not cash the check and that she would have to wait 24 hours for it to clear; the branch manager confirmed this. My wife called me in tears because she was stuck there with no cash, no gas, and no way to get home. I called the branch manager and explained the situation; she told me that she didn’t see a reason why they couldn’t cash the check and that I should send her back inside.
I told the branch manager—politely—that if they did not cash my check, which is a Wells Fargo check, that I would close my account. This manager—I believe that she said her name was Janet—became immediately hostile and rude, saying that she was going “above and beyond” by even speaking to me and that I had no reason to “speak to her that way.”
I’m not sure how doing one’s job constitutes “going above and beyond,” but I thanked her and had my wife go back inside. My wife called me minutes later and said that the manager had reluctantly cashed the check and then said, “Tell your husband never to call me again. Now get out of here—I have a conference call.”
Mr. Stumpf, if this is how one of your managers treats loyal customers, then I want no part of it. There are many banks and credit unions to choose from; what’s more, for three dollars a person can cash their check at Wal-Mart and then purchase money orders for bills. Even though it will greatly inconvenience me, I am closing my account with Wells Fargo and taking my business elsewhere. I don’t expect that losing one person’s business will have much impact on your bottom line, but I’ve done a little research this morning and found that I’m not the only one experiencing these kinds of problems. Furthermore, I am the editor & publisher of an online magazine—and this fiasco will be featured prominently in my next column.
My account number is (was) [WITHHELD].
John T. Schmitz, Editor & Publisher, http://secretlaboratory.org/
I’m a man true to my word, so there it is—and even though I doubt he will, I hope that bastard Stumpf reads this column. If you find yourself with a spare minute in the coming days, call the branch manager on Robert Street at 651-205-8940 and tell her that you read about her piss-poor customer service in this magazine and that you hope Wells Fargo misses the next bailout.
Besides my personal problems, the top news today is that Congress has passed a budget bill that is expected to clear the Senate on Saturday and avoid a government shutdown. Reading the details of this bill, it seems to me that both Republicans and Democrats had to make some sacrifices—a compromise, if you will. Well … shit. Will wonders never cease? Now if they could just extend those unemployment benefits and tax cuts for the middle class, we’d be set….
In other news, it is now apparent that being enrolled in college is no indication of intelligence. A student at Rutgers University sent an e-mail on September 28 to other members of her English class inviting them to an all-white screening of Song of the South, a 1946 film made in very poor taste by Walt Disney.
“If you do come, hooch is most welcome, as are strawhats and other Darkeyisms. I might even buy a watermillyum if I get enough interest,” the email read in part, according to the Daily Targum, the student newspaper. The email also noted that guests should be careful whom they brought, because “I might yell racist things at the TV.”
I’m not surprised to hear about something like this occurring; however, I find it disturbing that while this is universally denounced as bigotry, intellectual dullards such as Rick Perry and his ilk are allowed go on national television every other day and decry homosexuals as sinful perverts because “God says so.”
If you’re interested in knowing just a few of the other things that God supposedly supports and/or condemns, read this Open Letter to Dr. Laura Schlessinger.
Did you know that Newt Gingrich’s sister is a lesbian? Neither did I, until I saw her on The Last Word with Lawrence O’Donnell the other night. That shameful prick doesn’t even support his own family in their sexuality.
Here’s a bit of good news: the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has charged six former executives—including the CEOs—of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac with securities fraud, alleging they misled investors about their exposure to risky subprime mortgage debt (which gives a thinking man pause, considering that Fannie and Freddie own or guarantee about half of U.S. mortgages, or nearly 31 million loans).
According to MSNBC: “Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac executives told the world that their subprime exposure was substantially smaller than it really was,” said Robert Khuzami, Director of the SEC’s Enforcement Division. Khuzami added that these misstatements “misled the market about the amount of risk on the company’s books.”
Naturally, the former CEO of Fannie Mae, Daniel Mudd, is crying foul: “This is a lawsuit that should never have been brought in the United States of America. Every piece of material data about loans held by Fannie Mae was known to the United States government and to the investing public. The SEC is wrong, and I look forward to a court where fairness and reason—not politics—is the standard for justice.”
And as long as we’re on the subject, Daniel “Rudy” Ruettiger, the inspiration for the horrible 1993 film, Rudy, has also been charged with fraud by the SEC, who described his actions as “a classic pump-and-dump scheme involving a penny stock called Rudy Nutrition” that occurred between February and September 2008 and generated more than $11 million in illicit profits.
As good as this makes me feel, I can’t help but wonder what it’s going to take to get just one of the greasy-fingered crooks who were responsible for the 2008 crash into a federal prison. Just one.
And it turns out that Congress’s approval rating is so low—a staggering 9%—that the only thing in this world that people disapprove of more is Fidel Castro.
Finally, in Louisiana, at least two people have died after using nasal-irrigation devices known as neti pots. Rather than filling them with distilled or otherwise sterilized water, these folks just filled up their snot pots with tap water, which unfortunately contained a brain-eating amoeba called Naegleria fowleri. They sell these things at Walgreen’s in the Elderly Section (between the canes and the pill containers that attach to your key ring), but remember: if you have a stuffy nose, sometimes it’s best just to walk a few feet to your left and buy some Sudafed instead.
Welcome to the weekend.
Here’s your wisdom:
John T. Schmitz is the editor & publisher of Secret Laboratory; he is the founder of Maple Hills Press and has also freelanced as a writer and photographer, contributing to various local and international publications. Mr. Schmitz lives in Minnesota with his wife, Megan, and their two children; he is the author of four books.
E-mail Mr. Schmitz at firstname.lastname@example.org.