Saturday, April 3, 2010

Moving Your Money

Well, it took a a day or so, but I finally closed down my Wells Fargo account. I had an account for around 10 years with a local bank that was bought out by Wells Fargo a year or so ago. I never had any problems with the local bank; you could always get someone on the phone, and they were never trying to screw you over with fees every chance they got.

Wells Fargo, on the other hand, was another story. At one point they deposited a tax refund in the someone else's account, and then refused to credit me even after months of IRS correspondence resulted in a copy of the EFT which showed that they didn't bother to check the name. I had to begin legal proceedings in order to get this money credited; apparently, they realized that it might look bad to screw a customer out of their tax refund so soon after screwing millions of taxpayers out of billions of dollars.

And that's the real reason I changed banks. I can no longer in good conscience support the activities of the top six banks in the United States, all of which are using the money of depositors like you and me to fund a giant gambling operation which adds no value to the American economy, and in which the executives pay themselves massive bonuses with their winnings and simply bill the taxpayer when they lose. Those top six banks are

  • Bank of America
  • Citibank
  • JPMorgan Chase 
  • Wells Fargo
  • Goldman Sachs
  • Morgan Stanley

There are plenty of modern local and mid-sized banks in the country which did not gamble with your money in the derivatives market, who are not still gambling with your money in the derivatives market, and which are not going to gamble with your money in the derivatives market. These six are not among them.

One of the defenses that these big banks like to use is that they provide financial innovation.

This is true. The problem is that the innovations they provide are just fancier and more complex ways to screw their customers and the US taxpayer.

As Paul Volcker, the former Federal Reserve chairman, said last year, the only useful financial innovation to occur in the last 30 years has been the ATM.

This is no longer actually true. My new bank, USAA, has recently introduced a mobile banking application for the Iphone which allows me to deposit checks by simply taking a picture of them. I no longer have to go to a bank to do this. It works, and it's awesome. This is actual innovation.

USAA, incidentally, was never in danger of insolvency, and, in fact is not even a corporation. It is an exchange, and since it has no shareholders, it returns its profits to its members or uses them as the ensure that it is adequately capitalized. This is pretty much the epitome of responsible banking.

USAA is reserved for former military people, so it might not be an option for many readers. However, there are thousands of well-capitalized, well-run banks in the United States, and if you're using one of the banks listed above, I urge you to close your account and move your money elsewhere. There is a national movement underway to do just that; you can find more here at

Consumer deposit accounts are the lifeblood of the banking cartel which is strangling our economy. Instead of investing in businesses, these massive banks are taking your money and gambling with it or using it to pay off regulators to look the other way. The are the reason we have massive unemployment and massive public debt. And they are using your money to defeat reform legislation which would cut them down to size.

If you think Congress will ever pass any meaningful reform, you're mistaken- because these big banks, as Senator Dick Durbin said, "frankly own the place." And if Congress won't act (and they won't), then depositors are the only people who can actually do anything about it.

You have the power. Don't think of it as just a statement. It is one, but it's also an action that will deprive these banks of the ability to further destroy our economy.

Move your money.

Update: Reader Jose Castillo emails the following info:

USAA is great, and they allow anyone to open an account. Some products are limited to military, but anyone can apply for a bank account or credit card*. Go to:

*A few cards are reserved for military only


  1. USAA is great, and they allow anyone to open an account. Some products are limited to military, but anyone can apply for a bank account or credit card*. Go to:

    *A few cards are reserved for military only

  2. I'm not sure how I forgot about USAA. I had auto insurance through them when I was in the service (90-94). Really glad I cam across your article through reddit, bye bye Wells Fargo, hello USAA.

  3. USAA is the best. My wife and I have moved all of our services over to USAA. Banking, home owners insurance, auto insurance, you name it. It is unlike any banking experience I have ever known because when USAA does well they pass it on to the customer. Unfortunately, the current financial reform bill, specifically the "Volcker Rule" may have a negative impact on institutions like USAA and of course, USAA customers, by raising the cost of doing business and making USAA's products more expensive. If you are a customer of USAA, please contact them ASAP. They will be able to provide you with specifics of how the legislation will effect you, and if you feel the need, how to contact your representative in congress.