Posted 3 years ago on Oct. 5, 2011, 5:52 p.m. EST by RightsOfMan
from Brownsville, TX
This content is user submitted and not an official statement
I work part-time as a waiter. It's a small business (a single restaurant) and they handwrite the paychecks (so I have to cash them at the bank). The restaurant I work for recently changed banks to Chase. Chase charges 6.00 to cash a check if you don't have an account (I had one and I hated them so much I closed the account).
Since most of my wages are paid in cash daily my paychecks are always under 100.00. One of my checks was for 56.00 and they charged me 6.00, that's nearly 11% of my check for the honor of waiting in their line and using their lobby (and when I requested a printed fee schedule they told me they didn't have them). Out of my most recent check it was 6 out of 66: 10%! I discussed it with the a Chase manager and I was so mad that I went home and researches the relevant law: "Earlier this year the Texas legislature passed a law that required that banks cash their own checks at their face value (the "par value" law). In other words, if someone walked into a bank with a check drawn on that bank, and proper identification, the bank could not charge a fee to cash the check. On August 17, two weeks before the effective date, the largest banks in Texas filed suit and a Federal District court judge granted a temporary injunction halting implementation of the new law. But the recent actions are part of a more complicated history that shows the "split personality" banks have on the issue. On one side is the decades-old pattern of banks abandoning low-income and minority communities in Texas. On the other is an industry trend that recognizes there is a profit in "fringe banking"- check cashing and other non-depository services. Banks are now returning to the communities they once abandoned, hoping to cash in on the revenue from high fees once the exclusive territory of the check cashers, pawn shops, and payday lenders. ... With the help of the Office of the Comptroller of Currency (OCC), large national banks have been able to avoid state consumer protection laws by asserting that state laws are preempted and not applicable to nationally-chartered banks. In fact, the OCC filed a brief in support of the banks' preemption claims in the Texas "par value" case." (see Wells Fargo et al, vs. Randall S. James Texas Banking Commissioner, Fifth Circuit, case no. 01-51298)
In short, the O.C.C. has permitted banks to consider people whose only interaction is to demand money rightfully theirs as being "customers." And charging customers usurious transaction fees is all fine and dandy.
Due to my disgust with the current banking system I do not have a bank account and I am therefore without other viable options. Under the U.C.C. I can sue my employer but I don't want to harm a small, locally-owned business that I work for with costly litigation.
The Texas Par Value law, the O.C.C. construction of the definition of "customer," and the resulting court case were all years before we as a society had to bail them out and foot the bill.
I don't expect Chase to voluntarily 'do what's right,' but I do expect my government to ensure that they do and the non-elected officials at the O.C.C. have forgotten that in a fit of cronyism and backscratching that it seems the rest of the 99% is unhappy about as well. ...I thought it was just me... We must require better! I don't want regulations: regulations amount to endorsement! I demand abolition of fees for claiming what is rightfully mine