Friday, July 07, 2017

July 7, 2017--"To Make Enhancements to Your Citibank Banking Experienece"

There was a letter from Citibank and another from American Express.

The letter from Citibank said that "to make enhancements to your Citibank banking experience" they are shutting down our local branch and since that is where we have our safe deposit box, we need to find a new location for that. There were no suggestions regarding where to look and so later in the day I called my local branch with two questions--

First, how was closing my local branch an "enhancement"? The woman who answered the phone said I needed to talk with the manager and she put me on hold for that. After 10 minutes of waiting I was disconnected.

I called again and the same person answered. When she heard my voice, she hung up. A third call went unanswered.

Wish us luck in finding a bank with a vault. We live in Manhattan and pretty much every piece of commercial real estate is either a pharmacy, restaurant, or bank. But banks with no safety deposit boxes.

Rona said, "I guess this means we'll have to hide our stuff under the mattress."

"Including our deeds, will, my mother's wedding ring, and my Uncle Ben's Patek Philippe watch?"

The other letter from American Express Rona opened on the way home from the New Harbor post office. I could hear her muttering to herself.

"What does it say?" I asked, sensing nothing good.

"Why don't you wait to get home. No need to get upset while driving."

"I can handle it. Please, tell me what it says."

"It's just a form letter about changes in your account terms."

"If it's no big deal why were you muttering and thinking it would upset me?  I'll pull over so you can tell me what they're up to."

"Whatever you say," she said as I pulled off the road.

"Each month you always pay the full amount so the changes don't affect you."

"Who do they affect?"

"People who have their so-called 'Pay Over Time' feature."

"What's that?"

"If you don't pay the full monthly amount they charge interest. The letter is about changes in the APR rate."


"The annual percentage rate."

"Which is?"

"The amount of interest they charge if you make partial payments."

"I don't do that."

"That's why I said it doesn't apply to you."

"But you were muttering."

"Because people with more modest incomes pay over time and the new rate for them is $29.99%"

"What?" I was happy not to be driving. I would have crashed the car. "Isn't that usury? Aren't there laws about that?"

Rona said, "Not in Donald Trump's America."

"Thirty percent. Loan sharks charge less."

"Not 30 percent."

"You just said . . ."

"29.99 percent."

"A bargain."

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