Ask the grumpies: How do I find a good bank?

Susan asks:

We’ll be leaving BofA. What recommendations do you have?

I’ve been googling and what is defined as “ethical” seems confusing (mostly synonymous with green?). I think we need: direct deposit, online/picture deposit, billpay, and ATMs, though we don’t use cash much. We’ll need to link to Vanguard. So, pretty simple, and online only is going to be fine I think, it’s been years since I’ve been to the B&M. We keep ~$10k in checking. We have a Capital One account already (from when it was ING).

I don’t know that I have good recommendations, and #2 and I have very different feelings about credit unions. (I think it’s a good idea to have both a local CU and a national bank, she is very against CU for reasons.) I will say I’m enjoying the interest on our capital one online-only account (that we opened because of a special extra cash offer), but I think people generally prefer Ally.

In terms of ethics, I have no idea, though obviously Bank of America and Wells Fargo have many strikes against them on that front.

There’s some online people who have looked at the question of ethics, as you note, but I’m not sure how trustworthy the sites are.  Here’s the ethical consumer for UK banks and here’s nerdwallet with US banks.

Mr. Millionaire says:

I love Ally (not sponsored). The only drawback is that if I want to deposit cash (side hustle), I have to buy a money order and mail it in.

gasstationwithout pumps says:

When my son and I were both looking for interest-bearing accounts, we ended up with Alliant Credit Union. For us, it is online only, except that we can use any credit-union ATM for deposits and withdrawals. The interest rate is a bit better than Ally or Capital One. It’s early days yet, but the only problem I’ve had was depositing the check for closing out the Wells Fargo account—it exceeded the maximum for ATM transactions, and I had to do a 2-step transfer (first in-person at my local credit union, then electronically from there). It is a good idea to retain one local brick-and-mortar institution in your portfolio.

Maybe the readers will have more suggestions?

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My family and WWII

Nazis suck.

My father was a child in one of the countries the Nazis trampled.  He doesn’t talk about it.  He still has an odd fascination with fire that shows itself with birthday cake candles.  And he’s 5’2″ because although he never went hungry, he didn’t get a lot of nutrition either.  His mother and siblings moved to the US after the war.

I found out recently that although my bonmama was Catholic (along with most of my family on both sides), her father was Jewish.  Her husband (I’m not clear if this would be my grandfather or my step-grandfather) moved to Argentina with his mistress after the war (taking all the money, and triggering Bonmama and her children’s migration), and it is thought that he was a Nazi sympathizer.  Funny what one learns when Nazis are in the news again.

My mother’s mother joined the war effort as a nurse.  At her (Catholic, military) funeral, this time period featured prominently as the most important time in her life.  She rose up the ranks in the air force to become a Captain.  When she taught me how to knit, she gifted me with the knitting needles she’d used to while away the time flying towards a battlefield.  On the way back, the needles would be put away while they tended the wounded.

She met my grandfather during the war.  He wasn’t an enlisted man.  I’m not sure why not– whether it was preference or a medical condition.  He was a counselor for the American Red Cross.  While my grandmother treated the physical consequences of war, he treated the mental and emotional consequences.

My maternal grandparents’ commitment to public service filtered down to most of their children (I guess technically my horrible Trump-loving uncle is a forest ranger).  My uncles are veterans, one aunt is a federal judge, the other is a nurse practitioner who ran a hospital system.  My mom, the professor, was elected to our local school board for several terms.

We can’t let Nazi values of hatred and fascism take hold in the US.  We need to honor the ideals of this country that fought against evil in the second WW.  It is true that our own history is full of horrors like slavery and internment and xenophobia.  But we can’t let those forces win.  We must keep fighting.  Concentration camps didn’t start killing people overnight.  Germany didn’t start out evil.  We cannot tolerate injustice.  Keep calling your representatives.  Keep protesting.  Keep recruiting people to vote and donating and encouraging campaigns.  It’s a long slog to freedom.  But the alternative is something our grandparents lived.  They fought with their lives.  We should fight with our time and money and words so that we don’t have to get to that point.

What did your family do in WWII?  How was your family changed by it?

One reason not to consolidate bank accounts

Bank of America freezing accounts of customers suspected of not being US citizens.

When you have multiple accounts, you have access to multiple streams of money.  If the US government infiltrates one and steals your stuff, chances are that they won’t get everyplace at the same time.  There will be some warning.  So if something of yours gets seized, you’ll be able to live off of one of your other accounts while finding a lawyer (or, if we continue going the pre-WWII Germany route, getting your ducks in order to flee the country).  If, say, Bank of America is your only account, then you’re going to run up a lot of credit card debt (or worse) while waiting for things to be sorted out.  If you can get them sorted out.

Now, of course, it doesn’t have to be fascism that causes inaccessibility to one of your accounts.  Sometimes your account will get compromised by theft or there will be some kind of clerical error that freezes an account.  When DH’s debit card got spoofed and our Wells Fargo account was temporarily frozen, I was grateful to have access to a checkbook from a credit union account with money in it to pay the monthly bills.

How would you access money if your main account got frozen?

 

Link love

Mississippi senate race headed to runoff November 27th.  Click here to donate.

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How fascism is using cult psychology to recruit (via public debate…)

Why conservatives collectively pretend to believe something they don’t believe

1984 is now

Why reading diversity is important

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Thoughts on employing post-docs

Sex…Romance…Frugality

Basement cat strikes again

Word of Tom: Other students

Ask the grumpies: Have you seen the pursuit of happyiness?

Leah asks:

Have you seen the movie “Pursuit of Happyness”? I watched it with my students tonight. I was amazed to learn it was a true(ish?) story. Does it just break your heart?

Neither of us have… heard of it?  Oh hey, it’s that one with Will Smith and his son.  I guess one of us has heard of it.  I didn’t want to see it partly because I get a little squicked with monetized inspiration porn these days and partly because I don’t really watch movies because they’re too long and I just don’t have time or the attention span.

Spread the word! Protest Trump’s interference in Mueller investigation Thursday 5pm local time

You can find more information either here:  https://act.moveon.org/event/mueller-firing-rapid-response-events/search/

or here:  https://www.trumpisnotabovethelaw.org/event/mueller-firing-rapid-response/search/

The info on both pages is the same, but you may have trouble with one or the other if they are overloaded with traffic.

This is really important– if you’re in a family and one person can make it while the other watches the kids, do that.  We have to protect the Mueller investigation with a strong and immediate response.  Tell your friends.  Bring them along.  Tell them to bring their friends along.  The administration will think they can get away with it if the protests are small or non-existent.

My small town has an event scheduled– we don’t have to go into the city to protest, though the second time I clicked my town’s name it said nothing scheduled (the first time it had the original info– I think they’re updating the webpage in real time).

VOTE!!!!

US Readers who have not yet voted–

Vote today as if people’s lives depended on it.  Because they do!

Here’s google with where to vote based on your registered address.

Vote to save democracy.  Vote to save the constitution.  Vote to save the children.  Vote to save the planet.

Vote Democrat and double check your final votes to make sure they didn’t get switched by the machine because of machine errors.