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The Latest Bankster Scam: Preying on the Unemployed

Posted by libhom Saturday, February 21, 2009

I'm on the fence when it comes to bank nationalization. However, when I keep seeing the ethical misconduct of the banksters, I wonder if we will need to take over the big banks just to keep the rest of us from being completely screwed over by these slime.

Just when I thought the banksters had sunk as far low as they dared in the current political climate, I read this on the Consumerist.

The Associate Press says that 30 states have cut deals with bailed out banks like JP Morgan Chase, Citigroup, and Bank of America to distribute unemployment benefits on debit cards instead of paper checks. The catch? All of these programs have fees — and in some states the cards are mandatory.

The AP talked to one recently laid off worker who paid $6 in fees to access $80 of her unemployment money.

"It's a racket. It's a scam," Rachel Davis, a 38-year-old dental technician from St. Louis who was laid off in October, told the AP.

In another posting, they list some of the fees that the unemployed are getting stuck with in Pennsylvania.
The Comerica Bank MasterCard debit card used by the unemployment benefit program has fees like: $1.50 every time you make a withdrawal, after one freebie at Wachovia or PNC, $1.50 each time you transfer $ from the debit card to a checking account, $.40 to check your balance, $.50 every time your card is denied after one freebie, $4-$12 for replacement cards after losing your card twice, and $1 fee every month if you go without using the card too long.

Replacing checks with debit cards saved the state $2 million in processing and postage. Recipients can bypass all the fees by filling out additional paperwork and opting for direct deposit. Only 54% of Pennsylvanians have done that. Perhaps that number would be higher if someone told them about all the fees upfront.

Pennsylvania's Gov. Rendell is such a scumbag. $2 million won't make jack difference in the state's fiscal troubles, but the fees will make a big difference in the lives of the unemployed. I can't say that I'm surprised by Rendell's slimy behavior. He is the scumbag who violated PA's election laws to help Hillary Clinton's campaign last year.

This story of bankster cruelty and greed should have been the lead story on nightly newscasts and on banner headlines on front pages of newspapers. Yet, the story was buried or not even mentioned at all. Is it any wonder people aren't buying as many newspapers? Why pay for corporate propaganda? A lot of us would buy newspapers if they had more news and more honest reporting.



  1. JayV Says:
  2. libhom, I have to do some checking...but do you know if the food stamp programs (c.f. Vermont uses a debit card) have the tied-in fees, too?

  3. libhom Says:
  4. JayV: I read about this on the Consumerist, a website whose audience is middle class and wealthy. I don't think they would have looked into this. Please let me know.

  5. C Woods Says:
  6. I am so outraged by the unethical behavior of bankers. Except for my 401k and IRAs going down the toilet, I haven't been affected as much as many, yet I am outraged for those who were conned into buying homes they couldn't afford or who have lost jobs because of the failing economy. And I feel helpless because I don't know what I can do to make things better.

    Did you know that an editorial in The Wall Street Journal tried to link the banking scams to atheists? Without actual statistics, I have to believe that bankers are believers in about the same proportion as the rest of our society ---depending on what poll you read, 80 - 90%. So much for having to believe in God to be moral.



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