Several national banks have begun looking into the possibility of charging a negative interest rate on all accounts, both check and savings, to all their accountholders.
UE Bank, one of the nation’s largest private banking firms, was the first to implement the change to their customers’ accounts, and since then several other large banks, including Bank of The United States, C.J. Manhattan, Wells-Fortune United, and CitiCorp have all started looking into changing their interest rates to negative amounts as well.
“What this means for our customer is that instead of us paying you a few pennies a month to hold your money, you pay us instead.” Said Maxwell Chase, CEO of UE Banks. “A normal interest rate is about .08%, so you know, it’s not like you’re earning much anyway. We [banks] are taking all the risk holding onto your money. We have to insure it and all that. Heck, we could get robbed! It’s high risk handling cash. So we decided that on top of our normal banking fees, we’ll now start implementing a -.08% interest rate, so every month you give us just a small taste of your account balance, and we’ll promise to keep it safe and working for you.”
Naturally, banking customers are furious over this new change started by UE, and customers from other banking institutions are already protesting by removing their cash and closing accounts.
“I got hit one day with a $48 fee because I was over-drafted by eleven cents.” Said Chris Sharpe, a longtime customer of Wells-Fortune United. “I went in to talk to them about it, and they wouldn’t do a thing for me. Not a damn thing. I’ve been a customer for over 20 years, and never had any other incidents, and they just shut me down. I should have left then. I tell you what, if they’re going to charge me to hold onto my money, I’m taking it out right now. My mattress will hold my cash for free!”
Sharpe isn’t the only person to complain about banking fees, with many other customers of several banks saying they experienced similar problems.
“I was a customer at UE for about 4 years. I had my identity stolen through PayPal or eBay, and it charged my card about $200.” Said Francis Miller. “I asked them to reverse the charges, and they wouldn’t, saying I had to prove that it wasn’t me. How can I prove that it wasn’t me who did something? It cost me the $200, plus another $45 a day in overdraft fees. After about 2 weeks, it was all figured out. They took care of the $200, but those overdraft fees? Yup, I still owed them. I hate banks.”
“That’s not an uncommon feeling.” Said Professor Richard Kim, a financial advisor and teacher at Columbia University. “These banks, they charge what I call ‘fictional fees.’ There is no reason they need to charge you hundreds of dollars for over-drafting a small amount. All that money, it’s completely digital – completely fake, if you will. They have every ability to wipe away whatever they want, but they’d rather just try and force people to pay for something that they don’t rightfully owe.”
With most banks starting their new fiscal year on July 1st, it’s possible that these new negative interest rates could be implemented this year. So far, only the five major banks mentioned here have begun to look into the option, but Professor Kim warns all banking customers to keep an eye on their institution’s interest rates and fees.
“They change these things on a whim, always.” Said Kim. “Keep your eye on the big guys!”