Wednesday, April 1, 2009

New Bank Independent Promotion

Like many in the Shoals area, I'm a Bank Independent customer by default. When the Colonial BancGroup sold its Northwest Alabama holdings, mine was one of many area branches purchased by the local Bank Independent.

At first, I was neither happy nor unhappy with my new bank. Then the time arrived when a direct deposit didn't make it into my account on the appointed day. I knew that I had uncharacteristically bounced a check, but was shocked to find that I had been charged with two. It seems that Bank Independent is among the growing number of banks that pay the largest draft first. I looked into the practice and found several financial pundits who called the procedure a scam, but since I usually keep my checking account sufficiently padded, I mentally reprimanded myself and thought little more about this particularly unfair money-making scheme.

That is until today when I retrieved a soaked advertising flyer from my city mailbox. I initially wondered why Bank Independent was sending me literature touting the virtues of its debit card when I already use mine an average of five times a day. Reading glasses are a wonderful invention, and when I gently placed mine atop my nose I began to read Bank Independent's latest spiel. Then I removed the readers, cleaned the lenses, and read the offer a second time. Apparently I hadn't misread it the first.

Yes, if I, or you, or perhaps any debit card toting simians out there, will just tell sales personnel to ring Bank Independent debit cards up as a credit, we can be the beneficiary of a $5.00 gift card from chez McDonald's--that is if we do it 15 times within the span of two weeks.

If some of you are scratching your heads and asking what difference it would make to Bank Independent, then you've obviously never looked closely into retail banking fees. For every $100.00 one spends using a debit card, the bank charges the merchant an average of $1.29; using a credit card, the bank charges retail establishments an average of $3.07. Assuming one's 15 purchases totalled $1,000.00, by using that little piece of plastic as a credit card, the card holder has just made Bank Independent $12.80 and taken an extra $17.80 from local merchants who will be sure to pass their loss on to the consumer in the very near future.

Yes, Bank Independent touts itself as the homegrown institution. It's really a shame that the Shoals has grown something so twisted.

What's up with this: I see we have a fan from the Monroeville area. Keep reading; it's only going to get better in July.