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Thursday, July 24, 2014

Financial institution warning signs



Last year I had to deal with the hassles of my credit union being bought out by a bigger credit union. What a mess that turned out to be. My lovely wife and I planned to travel all winter. That required that we be able to do our normal business electronically. It was all we could do to straighten out our business before heading south in October.

The credit union web site went though a couple of redesigns, requiring new passwords and procedures. One day all the debit and credit cards in our branch simply refused to function. They made an error transferring the accounts to the new server. Every card read like they were maxed out.

Since we've gotten back from our trip, there have been a number of little red flags popping up. Things that I was able to do with the old credit union can no longer be done. Services have been cut back and restrictions added that were not there before. One of the big warning signs for me was walking in the credit union during the day, seeing only one teller on duty, and not having to wait for service. Of course, the teller was unable to complete my transaction due to a new policy.

Today I started to take steps to untangle myself from that institution. By August I should be able to move my business elsewhere. Right now it looks like my business will be split between a tiny credit union and a mid sized state bank. Thay should be able to handle my rather modest needs.

This is also a good time to simplify my financial doings. Over time household business can get more complicated than it needs to be. Things just sort of evolve. Last winter I had to do electronic banking at least once a month, sometimes more often. My goal is to have things at a point where if I did nothing at all for six months there would be no major negative consequences. That would allow me to explore some really remote places.

It would not surprise me to see the old credit union taken over by another institution or even closed down. There are warning signs.

-Sixbears

19 comments:

  1. Scary stuff for sure!

    Good luck getting it all ironed out.

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    1. It will take some time to do it smoothly. Too many of my eggs are in that one basket.

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  2. Sixbear remember all the bank closings in 09 and 10.Kinda funny it has just stoped since the bailout.Isnt a buyout or a merger forced by the goverment the same thing as a failure?We use a sweep acount all drafts power gas water insurance on one account one monthly transfer to cover.Other account has debit card and checks for daily use.

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    1. I remember the bail out all too well. I wonder if this is just a local problem with my credit union or the start of something bigger.

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    2. Well, last year my credit union gave me a dividend of $10 just for being a member, so there is at least 1 exception... of course, they don't HAVE any branches, I have to do everything remotely.

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  3. You're absolutely right. Time to move on!

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  4. I use a major bank chain that's gone through name changes/buyouts over the last 10 years. Always been pretty good. I pay everything with a credit card and make a transfer from the bank to the card every month. I get rewards spendable at amazon. It was enough to pay for my daughter's college textbooks all through college. I never allow a balance carry over each month. Works for me.

    Now if amazon would just handle ammo for my Mouser Russian capture I could stock up for SHTF. Their price/availability, last time I checked, wasn't that good at amazon

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  5. But you're right, time to move on to a better institution. Good luck moving.

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    Replies
    1. Thanks Wade. The lesson for me is that even a good institution can change quickly.

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  6. Isn't wonderful that you have enough money to have those kind of problems (grin)?

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    1. When you've only got a little extra care is needed.

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  7. I think your idea of being able to not have to deal with any bills, etc for six months is brilliant. Tell me more...do you just pay extra? I pay electronically also but I don't have the payments taken out by the company I pay. I would like to give that a try or at least work towards that goal.

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    Replies
    1. The main idea is to have very few bills that need to be paid. I still have a mortgage, but that's automatically taken out. My retirement check is direct deposit. I've few services, living in a rural area. Those that I have, like Internet, can be suspended while I'm gone. House and car insurance are on a 6 month payment plan.

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  8. Once upon a time, banks seemed to serve us. There was even a bank here in the Antipodes that had an advertising catchcry - "It's your money, Ralph". Now, our money seems to belong to the bank shareholders.

    Completely OT: I cannot fnd how to contact sixbears directly. I have a cool boating link to send. Try me here: strathbogan(AT)bigpond(DOT)com

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    1. Hi dweeze. In less than 6 months my credit union went from friendly to mean. My e-mail is at the bottom of my blog page. I'm sending you an e-mail.

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  9. just talked to a young lady last night who said her husband went to cash his pay at a branch and was told he could only have 300$!
    he had enough to cover if the check of a major employer were to bounce. he took his check to his regular branch and cashed it no questions asked.
    also recently had their savings acct. closed against their will. told they made 'too many'' transactions! what does that mean? and whose business is it anyway? certainly not the bank's.
    i don't know what is wrong with some of these banks but if it is a disease that spreads we will all be facing major hassles soon.

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    Replies
    1. These might be early warning signs of impending bank troubles. 2008 all over again? Only more so?

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  10. My bet is on confiscation of small savings accounts if we have another financial crash like in 08. All you have to do is read what's already being put in place over in the EU and elsewhere to know what is coming.

    Good luck. We are all going to need it.

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