Is your money safe?
“I’m “I’m your father. I sometimes find it necessary to teach you about the ways of the world.”
“Dad I’m eighteen. I know a lot more than you think I do.” Jane looks at her father with condescending eyes.
“When I was eight I started a bank account. I think it was a good start in learning about finance and how our system works.”
“I’m learning economics in school. I don’t need a bank account.”
“At Suncoast Schools Federal Credit Union, you can open an account with any amount and you can keep it for free for as long as you like. Later, if you decide to buy a house they may have the most competitive mortgage rates at that time, and by being a member, you can use them then.”
“Okay, here is thirty dollars, but I want just my name on it.”
“How about if something goes wrong and you are not here to deal with it. You are starting school in the fall, and who knows where you’ll be after that. If I also on the account, I could deal with it for you.”
“My money. My account.”
“Alright, but I had my name on your other bank account you didn’t use, and I got your money back when it was turned over to the state for inactivity, I could only do that because my name was on your account I set up for you.”
Seven years later Dad inadvertently opens a letter to his daughter sent by Suncoast Schools Federal Credit Union. He reads it because it is now opened and finds Jane’s account has been accessed fees because she has had a balance under one hundred dollars and now it has reached the point that it is to be closed due to lack of funds. Dad rushes down to Suncoast to see what he can do.
“I’m sorry sir. There is nothing to be done since your name isn’t on the account.”
“Let me explain it to you again. My daughter hasn’t lived with me for years. You might have sent her mail about these fees but she never got it. She has been out of the country. On her return I was to give her mail to her. When we opened the account there were no fees, so I figured I could wait. I have an account here and I was never informed about this new rule.”
“Your account maintained a balance above one hundred dollars, so the fees didn’t apply to you, and you weren’t informed.”
“How did this happen anyway? When I was a boy, I had accounts with balances under one hundred dollars for decades. It was a way to let kids be involved and interested in the banking system so when they grew up they would put the majority of their money in the bank. They would get interest, the bank could loan that money out and charge even more interest. I win and the bank wins. Everybody wins. What happened?”
“Things have changed sir. Banks find no profit in maintaining small accounts. With postage, and accounting, it costs the bank more to have the account, than it would to not have it. Banks would rather deal with bigger clients, who have bigger accounts, so they can make more money with fewer people to deal with.”
“But what about the little guy? He is the majority. He might be a big guy later. Why make him a non- player and possibly want to dismantle a system he cannot participate in.”
“When he is a big guy, we will be happy to take his money then.”
“I’m telling you at that time he will not want to give it to you. His feelings have been hurt. He will go somewhere else. This is bad business. It is one-sided. It should be a win-win for both parties. To live through the good and the bad as relationships used to be. I think we are losing sight of something in particular about this institution that got me to get my daughter involved with it in the first place.”
“What is that sir?”
“I was a state employee. This was a benefit for having worked for the government to get an account here for me and my family. Get a break for having worked in the system. Are you going to tell me that I will have to go back to my daughter and tell her that the system has stolen from her, why were these fees established anyway? I want to talk to the president of the Credit Union.”
“If you wish sir. But I don’t think that will get your daughter’s money back.”
“And why is that?”
“Because it was his idea to impose fees on small accounts.”
“And why would he ever want to do that?”
“To run the credit union more like a bank.”
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