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Congressional Bill Giving You Right To Close Account Without Fees

Tuesday, October 29, 2013 - 8:10 PM
A bill has been introduced in Congress that that will stop banks from
charging a fee to close accounts or to move your money. Some banks charge
up to $50 to close an account and make it so difficult to move your money
elsewhere that they effectively force one to stay put.

Consumers Union has a website making it quite easy and quick to send your
congressional representatives a message in support of this legislation.

There's also an amusing spoof video of a fictitious bank (First Money
Lending) which may be a little too close to the truth---bringing to mind
me1004's nightmare (comment #3) of a few days ago.

The bill, introduced by Senator Tom Harkin (D, Iowa) is "S. 1534: Freedom
and Mobility in Consumer Banking Act" and can be found here.

Prognosis: 2% chance of getting past committee; 0% chance of being enacted.
All the more reason to vote if you believe it worthwhile.
7
cumuluscumulus329 posts since
Jan 16, 2010
Rep Points: 1,553
1. Tuesday, October 29, 2013 - 10:11 PM
Signed it earlier today. 
3
Ally6770Ally6770909 posts since
Jan 16, 2010
Rep Points: 2,643
2. Wednesday, October 30, 2013 - 3:40 AM
I don't want to be the skunk at the party but not sure I agree with this bill. One does not have to commit money to a bank with closing fees. As long as it is disclosed, I say let the customer decide. Too much govt micromanaging everything in our society, including healthcare.

I am an adult; I don't need the govt holding my hand to keep me from making mistakes. Are we invalids?
3
loulou541 posts since
Aug 3, 2010
Rep Points: 3,388
3. Wednesday, October 30, 2013 - 7:48 AM
Fee structures and disclosures change and customers are not always notified by mail or email. How many times do you check for any changes for any of your accounts. Disclosures were required to be printed for each account opened. How many people read the disclosure that at one of my credit unions was 26 pages long?  We have had to ask for copies of account signature cards, beneficiary papers, and disclosres at many banks and credit unions when my husband and I opened accounts. One credit union lost the beneficiary papers for his IRA's and we found out about it after his death. I had a copy of the account opening papers and the beneficiaries signed by their manager and the disclosure that we had to ask for when the account was opened. The would not accept them and threatened to give the IRA's only to probate or his personal representative after a probate case was opened. We had things set up so that nothing had to be probated and I threatened a lawsuit. The disclosures that I had to ask for that stated the account would go to the wife (which I disclaimed and gave to the contingent beneficiaries) but the credit union still would not give it to the contingent beneficiaries until I said they would hear from my lawyer and once that lawyer wrote them a letter I would not settle out of court.  They now have a new disclosure that says if they have no papers with name beneficiaries it would go to probate. I have had to now get copies of all accounts with named beneficiaries  on their letterhead papers in my file for my children. I also had a very large credit union combine one of husband's  Roth IRA's with mine (because it had the same interest rate and maturity date) and even though my member number or account number was not changed I found out when I requested a copy of the beneficiaries on all my accounts on their letterhead paper that  all of my beneficiary information was lost. Mistakes are made. Employees are not trained like they used to be. Customers need to be protected by things that they may not know about and from mistakes made by business. 
5
Ally6770Ally6770909 posts since
Jan 16, 2010
Rep Points: 2,643
4. Wednesday, October 30, 2013 - 10:11 AM
 I am not talking about banks making changes and applying them retroactively or refusing to honor your beneficiary documents. I am refering to this legislation which bans closing fees...period. The problem with telling banks they can't charge fees like this is that they will get the money in other ways. That's the reason why it is getting harder to find a free checking account. I would not be against legislation prohibiting banks from making changes retroactively.
5
loulou541 posts since
Aug 3, 2010
Rep Points: 3,388
5. Wednesday, October 30, 2013 - 5:28 PM
I assumed they would retroactively charge fees, like the credit union changed the disclosure on beneficiaries retroactively and like the credit union down in North Carolina retroactively changed the rules for additional CD deposits about 2 months or so after the CD's were opened and other credit unions changed the EWP retroactively. 
2
Ally6770Ally6770909 posts since
Jan 16, 2010
Rep Points: 2,643
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