5 ways thieves steal credit card data
Finding Info on Bank Fees May Take Digging
Published: Friday, 21 Oct 2011 | 11:09 AM ET Text Size
By: Molly Tilghman and Sandra Block
The hullabaloo about Bank of America's decision to charge customers a monthly debit card fee has prompted many consumers to take a hard look at the cost of their bank accounts.
Here's the problem: Almost all bank websites will prominently disclose the fees they don't charge. Identifying the fees they do charge is much more difficult.
USA Today analyzed the cost of opening a basic checking account at the 10 largest banks and credit unions. In most cases, information about monthly maintenance fees, requirements to waive these fees, and the minimum needed to open an account are readily available on the institutions' websites. Other fees, such as the cost of taking a withdrawal from an out-of-network ATM or closing an account weren't prominently disclosed.
Searching for a List of Fees
To learn about these fees, consumers must dig up a "Schedule of Fees and Charges." This is where banks and credit unions compile a more detailed list of service fees that apply to their customers. Some financial institutions, such as the SunTrust Bank and Alliant Credit Union, featured a link to the fees on the main checking account page. This, however, was an anomaly. In some cases, we had to Google "Schedule of Fees," and the name of the bank or credit union. Even then, the schedule of fees isn't always comprehensive.
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Credit unions fared better than banks: With the exception of Security Service Federal, we found a schedule of fees on all their websites (although it sometimes took several clicks). We were also able to find a schedule of fees on websites for Bank of America [BAC 7.35 0.13 (+1.8%) ], Chase [JPM 36.69 -0.33 (-0.89%) ], SunTrust [STI 20.63 -0.38 (-1.81%) ] and Wells Fargo [WFC 27.08 0.01 (+0.04%) ].
With help from Google [GOOG 600.14 1.47 (+0.25%) ], we were able to find the fee schedule for PNC Bank [PNC 55.07 -0.90 (-1.61%) ] and U.S. Bank [USB 26.03 -0.19 (-0.72%) ].
But even the world's largest search engine couldn't unearth a fee schedule for HSBC, TD Bank, Citibank [C 34.16 -0.01 (-0.03%) ] and Capital One [COF 46.90 -0.17 (-0.36%) ]. To get their fee information, we had to email or call the banks.
Determined customers can search for information about fees in banks' official disclosure documents, but they'll need a lot of time and a couple of cups of coffee, too. An analysis of checking accounts for the 10 largest banks by the Pew Health Group found that the median length of their disclosure statements was 111 pages. None of the banks provided key information about fees on a single page, the study found.
"As a result," the study said, "consumers must navigate a confusing maze of disclosure documents in their efforts to locate all of the important account information."
This story first appeared in USA Today.
Investors Show Interest in Foreclosure Plan
Published: Thursday, 27 Oct 2011 | 3:03 AM ET Text Size
Big investors are showing interest in an evolving Obama administration plan to sell off foreclosed homes, although the government will have to make the offer sweet enough to coax private funds.
Reed Saxon / AP
A home is advertised for sale at a foreclosure auction in Pasadena, California.
The White House is assessing how best to encourage private companies and investors to snap up foreclosed properties held by the government and convert them into rentals.
Officials want private partners to take over as much as $30 billion in single-family properties that are currently on the books of government-run Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac and the Federal Housing Administration.
Several money managers with large fixed income funds are interested, according to sources, and a request for ideas on how to construct a program received nearly 4,000 responses.
A glut of foreclosures has weighed on home prices and the overall economy. An effort to get some of that inventory off the market could help stabilize it, while providing affordable rental options to Americans unable to obtain a mortgage.
The foreclosure conversion program would come as the next step to complement other government supports for housing, including an expanded refinance program announced on Monday.
The main question for prospective investors, which include broker-dealers and firms already overseeing similar rental programs, is the type of financing the government will make available—an issue officials are still struggling with.
"In order to get a better bid, there has to be some incentive involved to get qualified investors involved," said Ron D'Vari, co-founder and chief executive of NewOak Capital. "The reality is not a lack of interest, but so far it looks like a lack of financing."
Incentives could include low interest rates, tax benefits or some type of rental assistance, said D'Vari, a portfolio adviser who has been involved in mini-bulk auctions of real estate-owned properties, or REOs, in California.
REO properties are those acquired by a lender, whether a bank or the government, after an unsuccessful auction attempt. Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac and the FHA own about 250,000 properties, close to a third of the country's REO pool.
Looking at Options
One key challenge would be finding big enough blocks of properties in specific geographic areas that could be sold at one time. Analysts say this is what it would take to make the program attractive to large institutional investors.
More on CNBC.com
A Foreclosure Snapshot from ChicagoUS Mortgage Applications Bounced Last Week
The transaction and liability costs property managers will face as they try to bring deserted units back up to code also pose a hurdle.
The government also needs to determine how it will protect taxpayers, and it might explore ways to pair up with investors and allow Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac and FHA to keep some type of an ownership stake in the rental properties.
A public-private partnership, somewhat along the lines of a program the Treasury tried to use to soak up toxic bank assets during the financial crisis, would allow the government to gain from the sales.
"The submissions are a source of ideas, some of which may be incorporated in transactions, and they supplement work that has already been done," a spokesperson at the Federal Housing Finance Agency, the regulator for Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, said of the suggestions from private investors.
"We don't believe there is any 'best' program. For any given locality, market conditions may dictate one or another type of transaction," the spokesperson said, without elaborating.
Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac and the FHA have already undertaken some small efforts to reduce the backlog of foreclosed homes. They have donated a few vacant properties for demolition and have held some small auctions.
Having already received $141 billion in taxpayer support since being seized by the government in 2008, Fannie Mae and Freddie are under enormous pressure to make sure they maximize the returns from the properties they hold.
"This has got to be thought out. Fannie and Freddie would need to assess if they are getting the return they need from a rental," said Ken H. Johnson, a real estate professor at Florida International University. Johnson said one way to get over the hurdle would be for the two agencies to be given an explicit mission of market stabilization.
Copyright 2011 Thomson Reuters. Click for restrictions.
HOW FRACTIONAL BANKING WORKS TO ALLOW FOR A REVALUATION OF THE IQD - JOSEY WALES At OOMF - 10/17/2011
From Dinar Recaps
(Post by Red Lily)
How Fractional Banking Economics will allow a high RV EXPLAINED:
First off, I’ll use the exchange of a 10,000 IQD note as my example. To help
explain the economics of this cash-in example, I will use a 1:1 cash-in ratio
between the USD and IQD, that is given a two-tier payout, and a 2% bank spread.
What You Will Receive:
If you were to cash in your 10,000 IQD note with a bank that charges you a 2%
spread, you would personally receive a net take-home of $9,800 credited to your
What Your Bank Will Receive:
Your Bank will receive a $10,000 credit to its Federal Reserve Account. They
will also be able to add the $200 profit to their “capital account”.
If you don’t understand the “Fractional Banking“ concept that runs our country, you may want to, as that is what this is based on, and is what is behind this entire concept and plan. To learn more about this concept, I suggest you click HERE, and go to a video post I brought to the forum previously, and posted in my “Tidbits“ section.
Ultimately, the bank wins because they are able to gain $2,000 in lending power under the 10% “Fractional Banking“ model.
What the US Treasury Will Receive:
First off, the US Treasury will receive $3,500 in estimated taxes in the
quarter after the exchange, because you are now in the “rich” category and get to enjoy the 35% tax bracket. This lowers the “net cost” of the IQD exchange to the US financial system to $6,500 USD (i.e. $10,000 out – $3,500 in).
Furthermore, the US Treasury’s rate is higher than the banking rate (we will
use in this example 1.25), thereby further reducing their “net cost” from
$6,500 to $4,000.
Oil Now Enters the Picture:
At some point, a Fed-appointed agent orders $12,500 worth of oil from Iraq.
Payment will consist of a $12,500 transfer from the Fed’s foreign currency
reserve IQD account to the IRAQ Oil payment account at the CBI in a form
otherwise known as PetroDollars/PetroDinar. Even though the world spot price of oil is defined in terms of USD, the actual transaction may take place in any internationally recognized currency agreed to by the parties. For example, Iran only accepts Yen from Japan for their oil orders, because they don’t want USD in their foreign currency reserves.
How the CBI “RECAPTURES” the Money:
The $12,500 order is filled with 250 barrels of oil based on the spot price on
the date of the sale (for this example we used a $50 USD spot price). What does it cost Iraq to produce the oil to fill this order? Well they have negotiated productions agreements for approximately $1.50 USD/barrel. From that price $.50 USD goes to the national Iraqi oil company who is the partner in the field the oil came from. Out of the remaining $1.00 the other oil field partners have to pay the Iraq government a profit tax of $.35 USD (35%). The net cost to Iraq to produce a barrel of oil used in this scenario is $.65 USD. (i.e. $1.50 – .50 – .35)
What does all that mean? It cost Iraq $162.50 to bring back a 10,000 IQD note!
Can they afford that? I think so! So, instead of paying out $12,500 for a
10,000 IQD note, they only pay $162.50! That doesn’t add to the money supply much at all does it! They receive their IQD back and place it in the CBI, or destroy it.
The transaction is completed with the Federal Reserve exchanging foreign
reserve credits which are equal to $12,500 USD (which had a net acquisition
cost of $4,000 USD for the US) for 250 barrels of oil (which has a TOTAL COST to produce of $162.50 USD for Iraq.
More completely explained, and simply put, it cost Iraq $162.50 USD from their foreign currency reserve accounts to redeem the value of 10,000 IQD, which goes into their operating accounts. At the same time the US got $12,500 worth of oil for a net cost of $4,000. That’s how it was originally planned for Iraq to RV at 1 IQD = 1 USD, with the variable being the political element (i.e. UN Sanctions, GOI actions, IMF actions, World Bank actions etc.)
Other Factors that Strengthen Iraq’s Position and Ability to RV:
■DFI Funds Returned & Other Assets: $280+ Billion USD, plus other frozen
assets (estimated at $100 billion) will be returned back to Iraq and added to
their foreign currency reserve, bringing it up to $430+ billion USD.
■CBI IQD Reserve Requirement
Adjustment: The CBI will change the current fractional IQD reserve requirements from 100% to 15% at the appropriate time.
As a result, the the total potential money supply will be raised in value to
$2.8 Trillion (430 billion/15), while at the same time, the total physical IQD
in circulation will be reduced by removing the large bills with the 3 zeros
over a period of 2 years, as they have indicated.
■Oil Production Increased: Iraq will also execute the plan they announced to increase oil production from 2+ million barrels/day to 10 million barrels/day with the resulting revenues flowing directly to the Iraq treasury.
■Oil Futures & Forex Contracts Added: To further stir the pot, the
CBI will continue to use it’s sales window to market oil futures and forex
contracts. They have shown they can generate significant cash flow in the
private market. Think of their impact in public markets.
There, my friends, is how this plan will be enacted and made possible. Taking NOTHING, and turning it into SOMETHING, then bringing it back to a “manageable and reasonable something” that is accepted and supported by seeming endless supplies of oil. This is how the world’s ENTIRE NEW MONETARY SYSTEM will be regenerated and supported and backed, given, in essence, a re-birth and renewed for most governments and economic regions… even by “Black Gold”.
So, here’s the summary for all the “players” involved, giving ballpark numbers, and not taking into account superfluous costs, fees, and other small details that don’t really affect the larger picture:
■Investor’s Net Gain: $10,000 –
$200 = $9,800 x .65 = 6,370 for an investment
that cost $10
■Bank’s Net Gain: $200 added to
“capital account”, plus $2,000 they can use to loan out.
■US Treasury Net Gain: $2,500
from the .25 spread on top + $3,500 in quarterly taxes = $6,000
■CBI/GOI/Iraqi People Net Gain:
$12,500 – $162.50 = $12,337.50 + Profits from
■Overall Net Gain for All
Involved: $6,370+$200+$6,000+12,337.20 = $24,907.20
This is the wealth that was generated from a single 10,000 IQD note that was
given an original value of approximately $10! Is that amazing or what?! You
tell me… can Iraq afford NOT to RV?!!! Will the IMF allow them to NOT RV their currency, but simply replace their large denoms for smaller ones?!!! LOL!!!
In this scenario, EVERYONE WINS… and the IQD is slowly (over 2 years) taken back in to the CBI… eventually destroyed, leaving a manageable M2 behind, having created HUGE WEALTH throughout the world to re-supply what was allowed to be destroyed in the “great bleed” over a period of just a few weeks a couple of years ago, even the greatest redistribution of wealth the world has ever seen. Believe it or not, it has happened for this very purpose, and it IS coming!
Banks Starting to Kill or Scale Back Debit-Card Fees
Published: Friday, 28 Oct 2011 | 8:16 PM ET Text Size
After heavy criticism, big banks are starting to rethink their monthly debit-card fees.
Bank of America [BAC 7.35 0.13 (+1.8%) ] is revamping its plans as rivals Wells Fargo [WFC 27.08 0.01 (+0.04%) ] and JPMorgan Chase [JPM 36.69 -0.33 (-0.89%) ] have decided not to charge monthly fees, ending test programs in certain states.
Bank of America is likely to allow many customers to sidestep the fee by taking measures such as maintaining minimum balances, having paychecks direct deposited, or using Bank of America credit cards, the person said.
Under earlier plans, customers might have needed balances totaling $20,000 across all their Bank of America accounts to avoid the fee.
Bank of Americas unleashed a firestorm of criticism from customers, consumer advocates and politicians last month when it disclosed plans to charge customers $5 per month for using their debit cards, starting sometime next year.
The goal was to make up revenue lost to a law that slashes the fees banks charge retailers when consumers swipe their cards.
While some banks have disclosed plans to apply similar fees, many banks and credit unions decided not to institute the charge and have encouraged customers to switch banks.
Charlotte, North Carolina-based Bank of America is not abandoning the fee now and will likely include it in new account types the bank is testing in three states. The bank plans to roll out these packages nationwide next year.
The $5-per-month fee may still remain an option for customers, the person said.
The bank has said the purpose of the new account types is to provide customers with upfront pricing, instead of hitting them with penalties after the fact. Customers can pay monthly fees of between $9 and $20, or avoid the charges by keeping minimum balances, using their credit cards or having a minimum amount deposited to their account.
Among other banks, Wells Fargo said late Friday that in response to customer feedback it has canceled a five-state pilot program that would have charged customers $3 per month to use their cards
After testing a $3 per month fee in two states since February, JPMorgan Chase has decided not to charge customers, a person familiar with the situation said on Friday. The test will end next month and will not be extended or expanded, the person added.
Citigroup [C 34.16 -0.01 (-0.03%) ] announced an account overhaul in mid-September that did not include a monthly debit card usage fee. Stephen Troutner, head of banking products for Citi's U.S. consumer bank, said at the time that the New York-based bank found customers were strongly opposed to such monthly maintenance fees.
Richard Davis, CEO of US Bancorp [USB 26.03 -0.19 (-0.72%) ], said during an Oct. 19 conference call with analysts the Minneapolis-based regional bank is monitoring the results of other banks imposing debit card fees. Davis did not rule out instituting a fee in the future, but said the bank has no immediate plans to do so.
"We will find out if customers complain and move, or just complain," he said. "We will take all that in time and we will make our decision."
SunTrust Banks [STI 20.63 -0.38 (-1.81%) ] is charging a $5 per-month fee on everyday checking account customers who make purchases. A spokesman declined to comment on the bank's strategy.
Norma Garcia, manager of Consumers Union's financial-services program, applauded JPMorgan's decision, but said that, without more details, it was unclear if Bank of America's changes would be better for customers.
"Clearly, there is overwhelming public support to drop the fee," she added.
Recording of Conference Call 10-25-11
Ty Rhame, President Dinar Banker
The IQD Team thanks Ty for his knowledge, experience and for taking
the time to share with our listeners and the dinar community about many commonly asked questions:
Questions about Cash In Procedures
Lower Denoms Availability
New E-Check System
Other Currencies Offered
Upgrades to website
Books we Recommend
Thanks to One of our LIsteners Greg for this FREE Download (248 pages 2000 Version) OR purchase it below....Enjoy
Link we mentioned last night to do your own Financial Planning Research
How to invest in the Iraq Stock Exchange
First, confirm for yourself that your broker is an official broker of the Iraq Stock Exchange. See the list of official ISX brokers at the Iraq Stock Exchange website: http://188.8.131.52/isxportal/portal/brokerListContainer.html.
Next, visit the brokers website. The link, if available is located in the ISX Brokers section on the home page of this site.
Before you start any consideration of investing in the Iraq Stock Exchange, be aware that you MUST comply with the requirements set by the ISX directed to non-Iraqi investors. See http://184.108.40.206/isxportal/portal/rules.html
Download the Word document titled "I.O.T. for Non Iraqi.
Quote:"Non-Iraqi investor personality should be checked by the broker. The following documents should be required by electronic mail followed, within 15 days time, by copies certified by the Iraqi Embassy.....".
a) ID (note from IraqStockX - this is usually a drivers license)
b) Valid Passport
c) Incorporation contract ... for legal entities
d) .... address .... info
e) three sample of signature.
These mandates by the ISX require you to send scanned copies of your drivers license and passport to specific entities. If you are not comfortable with this, I see no way for you to invest in the Iraq Stock Exchange. One exception is to invest through a proxy company although we do not support this method here. See www.InvestorsIraq.com for these instructions.
Follow the instructions below. Total cost=$183.00 for a personal account.
Step 1. Download and complete the necesary form to open an account with an official ISX broker. Links available in the ISX Broker Box located on the home page of this site.
Step 2. You must have your identity documents notarized locally then verified by the Iraqi embassy. IraqStockX has created an on-line form to help you with this, http://www.IraqStockX.com/Documents/ISXRegistrationDocument.asp
The web page stores copies of your legal documents (drivers license and passport) in a temporary session variable on our server so the document prints properly. Your license and passport images are deleted from our server as soon as you close your browser. Print the document and have a local notary confirm your 3 signatures, passport, and drivers license. Then send the document to the Arab American Chamber of Commerce where they will:
a) Notarize and certify the document with the court.
b) Certify the document with the Secretary of State.
c) Authenticate the document with the Department of State.
d) Legalize the document with the Embassy of Iraq.
The AACC address is:
Arab American Chamber of Commerce
Attn: Arab Chamber Certification
1615 Bay Head Rd. Annapolis, MD 21409
See the AACC website at http://www.arabchamber.org/. for up to date fees and address.
The current fee to authenticate documents for Iraq is $153.00. Use the United States Postal Service priority mail and include a stamped self addressed envelope for the return of your documents.
Title your request to the AACC, "Please authenticate these documents". Do NOT request authentication for purposes of the Iraq Stock Exchange. For some unknown reason, they will authenticate your documents but not for the specific purposes of the Iraq Stock Exchange.
When you receive your authenticated documents back from the AACC, scan them and send the scanned documents to your ISX broker by email as attachments. If your passport and drivers license are not clear on the scanned authenticated document, the Iraq Stock Exchange will request copies of your original passport and drivers license. Through experience, we suggest you attach scanned copies of your drivers license and passport with your authenticated documents to your broker. Your ISX broker will have the documents approved by the Iraq Stock Exchange and provide you with your official investor number from the Iraq Stock Exchange. Note, the ISX investor number is different than you broker account number.
After you receive your ISX broker account number and your ISX investor number from the Iraq Stock Exchange, wire funds from your bank to your ISX broker. Wire information for each broker is also available in the broker links located on the home page of this site.
Your ISX broker will provide specific documents that you must use to request purchases and sells of shares in the Iraq Stock Exchange. See your ISX broker website for these forms.
Please make sure that you are buying or selling companies that are currently trading. Check the Iraq Stock Exchange website for the current bulletin to see which companies are active and how much you are likely to pay for a share of stock. Link: http://220.127.116.11/isxportal/portal/marketPerformance.html
You should also review price graphs on IraqStockX.com comparing the last 6 months (default) to all time (since 8/2004) to see which companies trade consistantly and have shown staying power since the Iraq Stock Exchange opened for trading. Link http://www.iraqstockx.com/DrawGraph.asp. You will be wiring dollars which will be exchanged for dinars by your broker before the trade. Go to the Central Bank of Iraq website, http://www.cbi.iq/, to get the current dollar exchange rate. Multiply your dollar investment amount by the exchange rate to determine how many dinars you have to invest in Iraq Stock Exchange stock.
Thanks to Scott Gonzalesd
Are Brokers Being Punished for Not Pushing Enough Product?
Yes, at one firm at least
You'd expect a financial firm to fire an advisor for not serving the best interests of his or her clients. Merrill Lynch is also demoting those who don't bring in enough revenue, according to Financial Advisor magazine.
The media report says that advisors who have at least 10 years of experience but don't bring in at least $250,000 annually in commissions and fees won't be allowed to be advisors anymore — continuing a trend that many large brokerages have been following for years. The firm says the move "aligns advisors' interests with those of our clients and shareholders," according to the magazine.
It's obvious how Merrill's move might help shareholders: More revenue produces more profit. But it's harder to see the value for clients. The only way brokers generate commissions is by selling investment products. That means the brokers must constantly pitch new products to their clients. Is that compatible with the clients' financial goals?
Merrill's policy might explain, in part, why thousands of brokers are leaving big brokerage firms to join smaller independent firms and why many of their clients are following them. At the end of 2008, big brokerages managed 48% of individual investors' assets, while independent firms managed 19%, according to Cerulli & Associates. But the research firm projects that the big firms' market share will drop to 41% by 2012 while independents' share will rise to 23%.
Could it be that the prediction I offered in my second book, The New Rules of Money — that big brokerage firms are dinosaurs and will become extinct — might be coming true?