Banking customers may not be as aggressive as they think about avoiding fees. "It's surprising how little attention consumers are paying to their banking account at a time when we're being hit with an endless barrage of fees," says Gabe Krajicek, chief executive at Kasasa, an Austin Texas checking and savings account services provider.
Customers Say They Care About Bank Fees, but Don't Show It | Save | Get the best rates on mortgage, home equity loans, CD, money markets and checking accounts | BankingMyWay
Considering the staggering changes in banking we’ve experienced over the last decade, it’s safe to say predicting what will happen next is like trying to guess who is going to win the World Series. We can make some educated guesses, but — to really hammer the metaphor home — there’s always a chance a curve ball is thrown our way. That said, a number of banking industry trends have emerged that say a lot about where the industry is going. And understanding where it’s headed can help better shape your finances today.
4 Banking Industry Trends Shaping the Future of Banks
Since the financial crisis, central banks have slashed interest rates, purchased vast quantities of sovereign bonds and bailed out banks. Now, though, their influence appears to be on the wane with measures producing paltry results. Do they still have control?
Here's a little glimmer of hope for savers: the return on inflation-adjusted savings bonds is going to increase significantly over the next six months. Based on the latest Consumer Price Index released today, the U.S. Treasury will set the total return on Series I Savings Bonds to at least 1.82% for all bonds sold between May 1 and Oct. 31. That yield is better than you can earn on most CDs or money market accounts.
Return on I Bonds set to jump this spring | Interest.com
On Friday the SEC charged an Indianapolis man, Timothy J. Coughlin, 63, “with conducting an Internet offering fraud in which investors lost millions of dollars by investing funds in a fictitious credit union.” The fake credit union, named Oxford International Credit Union, was the front through which Coughlin allegedly collected funds from more than 5,000 investors from all 50 states and the District of Columbia.
SEC Says Fake Credit Union's Ponzi Scheme Stole 12.8M
At least 4m Android smartphones in the US, and tens of millions worldwide, could be exploited by a version of the "Heartbleed" security flaw, data provided to the Guardian shows. Worldwide, the figure could be 50m devices, based on Google's own announcement that any device running a specific variant of its "Jelly Bean" software – Android 4.1.1, released in July 2012 – is vulnerable.
Of the smartphones in use, only Android devices are vulnerable to this form of attack. Apple does not use the vulnerable version of OpenSSL on the iPhone or iPad, while Microsoft said that neither Windows Phone nor Windows is affected.
Heartbleed makes 50m Android phones vulnerable, data shows | Technology | theguardian.com
All retirement funds should have a clear, understandable label that provides consumers with relevant, concise, and accessible information about fees. Improved fee disclosure could help individuals make better financial decisions—especially since data show that higher-cost funds do not necessarily perform better—and could encourage firms to provide lower-cost options.
Fixing the Drain on Retirement Savings | Center for American Progress
WASHINGTON -- The Social Security Administration is suspending a program in which thousands of people were having their tax refunds seized to recoup overpayments that happened more than a decade ago. Acting Social Security Commissioner Carolyn W. Colvin said Monday she has directed an immediate halt to the program while the agency does a review.
Social Security halts effort to collect old debts - AP State Business News - The Sacramento Bee
We have determined that we are not affected by the Heartbleed bug, and therefore, we do not recommend any specific actions by our customers at this time.Read more
US Bancorp (USB) has announced that its lead bank, US Bank National Association, has entered into a definitive agreement to purchase the document custodian business of Ally Bank.Read more
Breaking news such as the massive data breach at Experian or Target now seems common. Leaving aside the victims of actual fraud, I hear constantly from people who've had to swap out every debit and credit card, or whose cards were unilaterally replaced by their bank. This causes all sorts of problems. Sometimes it makes you long for the days of cash. While cash is not practical for everything, there are very compelling reasons to consider it or other alternatives instead of those debit cards.
4 places you should not swipe your debit card
According to National Retail Federation data published on CNN, the number of Americans choosing to save their tax refund has consistently climbed since the Great Recession. Concurrently, years after the economic turmoil of 2008 to 2009, interest rates today are starting their slow assent.
The US Federal Reserve’s plan to keep interest rates low even once the economy is back to normal could risk a policy mistake, a Fed policy maker has warned in an interview with the Financial Times. James Bullard, president of the St Louis Fed, said he did not see a persuasive reason to think interest rates should be below their long-run level in 2016, if unemployment and inflation are back to normal.
Fed policy maker warns on low rates stance - FT.com
Texas will not treat Bitcoin and other virtual currencies as legal money, according to a new memo from the Texas Department of Banking. Yet some companies that deal in Bitcoin transactions could draw state oversight, even if they are based outside of Texas.
Texas Banking Chief Issues Rules for Bitcoin | The Texas Tribune
“Interest rates that have prevailed for the last few years have made it more challenging for savers to accumulate wealth, particularly if they are trying to do so in a relatively risk-free way," James Poterba, professor of economics at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Cambridge, told Bloomberg.
'Financially repressed' seniors struggle in retirement | Interest.com
In the spring of 2012, some of America’s largest banks were coming under attack, with hackers commandeering servers around the world to direct a barrage of Internet traffic toward the banks’ Web sites. The assaults, believed to have been launched by Iran, were bringing the sites down for hours at a time and disrupting customer business — the first significant digital assault of its kind undertaken against American industry computers by a foreign adversary.
Two of the world’s most prominent economic institutions, the International Monetary Fund and Former US Treasury Secretary Larry Summers, recently warned that the global economy may be facing an extended period of low interest rates. Why is that a bad thing, and what can be done about it?
Across the nation, hundreds of thousands of taxpayers who are expecting refunds this month are instead getting letters informing them that because of a debt they never knew about — often a debt incurred by their parents — the government has confiscated their check.
H&R Block said Thursday it has a new deal to sell its banking business, this time to BofI Holding Inc., the parent company of Bank of Internet.Read more
WASHINGTON (MarketWatch) — Federal Reserve officials had a secret video conference call in early March and reached a general consensus that the 6.5% unemployment rate threshold for the first rate hike was outdated, the central bank said Wednesday.
Fed dropped jobless target in secret meeting - The Fed - MarketWatch