Petaluma: Attempted Bank Robbery?

Back Story…

In Are You Being Robbed As You Read This? I offered several tips on how to monitor suspicious activity on your credit cards and checking accounts.

One point in particular from that article needs to be restated: “Monitor your credit card bills and bank statements closely. If there are any suspicious charges or debits, contact your bank or credit card company immediately.”

While the purpose of this warning was to focus on third-party charges  to your bank accounts or credit cards, it also applies to sudden or unexplained charges by your bank. 

Case in Point…

We recently added an automatic savings feature to our checking account at our bank–a very large bank whose name shall not be disclosed.  We have had accounts with them since 1985.

  • In going through the process of setting up the automatic savings account, we repeatedly stressed that we were not willing to pay any fees for the privilege of depositing money with them. 
  • We were repeatedly assured there would be no fees–a good thing, considering that the savings interest rates these days are essentially zero.

All went well until the second month when the bank statement listed a $25 monthly fee on the savings account.  To be fair, the statement did show that they paid us interest of 11 cents…thus reducing our “loss” to $24.89.

To make a long story short, we visited a branch office  and a bank officer immediately reversed the $25 fee stating that the person who created the account must have “pushed the wrong button” while setting it up.

Fair enough. Mistakes happen.

However, I can’t help but wonder…

  • How many times has this happened and the account holder did not catch it on the monthly statement?
  • How many “senior citizens” have been caught by such mistakes?
  • Why would a  bank have a system that allowed the charging of a $25 monthly fee on savings accounts that currently pay .o5% interest?
  • Is the bank secretly counting on people being  unaware enough to sign up for a savings account that charges a fee? Such customers would be better off stuffing their money in their shoes!

Readers can offer their own answers to these questions–particularly the last two.