Things Could Certainly Be Worse; GiST: Part 34 of 365

  1. I have a good job.
  2. I have health insurance.
  3. I have vacation and personal days.
  4. I have a roof over my head, the mortgage is manageable, I have nice clothes to wear and good food to eat, safe water to drink.
  5. I have the luxury of complaining about the banks, Bank of America in particular, and how they appear to be rather ungrateful that I’ve been stupid enough to carry a couple-thousand dollar balance on one of their credit cards for years, nearly a decade (held in good standing since 1998!), paying them interest ad infinitum.

Yes, so they’re raising my rate. I emailed to inquire WTF, and surprisingly they actually deigned to reply (emphasis mine):

Thank you for your inquiry dated 4/6/09 regarding an increase on your
APR. We are happy to assist you.

The increase in rates on our accounts reflects the current economic
environment in which our costs of providing credit have significantly
increased. Therefore, your account is subject to a future Change in
Terms, in which your Annual Percentage Rate will be increased to the
following variable rates:

– Balance Transfers: [redacted]%
– Cash Advances: [redacted]%
– Purchases:

You should be receiving further information about the Change in Terms
via mail within the next few days.

This increase will be effective on 05/08/2009.

Please be advised that the Change in Terms does not affect promotional
rates if your account is subject to any.

Unfortunately, we are not able to cancel the Change in Terms.

You are being offered the option to decline the increase by writing to
the PO Box address that is provided with the Change in Terms
notification or reply to this e-mail with your confirmation of the
rejection. The deadline for us to receive this rejection is 07/02/2009.

In addition to your rejection being received by the date indicated, you
also need to discontinue the usage of the credit card. This also
includes recurring transactions. Therefore, please advise the merchants
to stop making those charges if you want the rejection to be valid.

If we receive your rejection and you use the credit card, the rejection
will expire automatically, and the Annual Percentage Rate will increase
to that on the Change in Terms. If that is the case, we regret we will
not be able to reverse the change.

This change is not connected to how you handle your account. We are
making this change due to the changing environment in the financial
industry in which the cost to lend has increased significantly. We are
making these adjustments so we can continue to make unsecured loans in
this very difficult environment.

We value you as a customer and appreciate your business. If we may be of
further assistance, please contact us again by e-mail. Thank you for
choosing Bank of America.

Lopez José, Bank of America

Daytime Phone#: None
Evening Phone#: None

I love how the phone numbers are “None.” I hardly even use this card….maybe ten times a year for small too-close-to-payday-to-push-it purchases. Yeah, I’ve heard that the economy’s not so hot. However, Citi doesn’t seem to have a problem with me…my credit line with them has increased from $2K to $18K over the last few years. $18K! Who needs that much available credit on a credit card?! That’s insane. Believe me, I’d love to carry zero balances on all the cards, but I’m STILL paying off stupidity debt from college and shortly thereafter. It’s never been a real budget issue; I’ve never been late or over limit except one disastrous month in 2001 when Dickface Andretti the other super-ex-boyfriend stole several of my checks and forged them, leaving me broke and moving in with a friend. My dad once had a friend who accepted every single offer for a credit card that came in the mail; he ended up with a total available credit line of over one million dollars. He could have bought a house with credit cards. I wonder what that did to his credit rating!

Yes, the economy is in the crapper. The evidence is everywhere. I have a modest secured line of credit using a small chunk of my leftover college fund as collateral with Ameriprise. Twice in the past year they have sent a form demanding my signature to pledge additional shares as collateral because the existing ones have either disappeared or lost so much value that they don’t cover the nut anymore. And they’ve decreased the credit limit by a couple hundred dollars. I get it. Times are tough. So stop paying bonuses to CEOs and start valuing the customer base you still have. Like talking to a wall, I know. Blerg.


9 thoughts on “Things Could Certainly Be Worse; GiST: Part 34 of 365

  1. Bazarov says:

    Dickface Andretti. HA!

  2. There’s a great story for that nickname, which we’ve used for years to refer to him…pealing (peeling? whatever, squealing tires) out of the apartment complex parking lot in his Ford Taurus. I remember thinking, What, you’re pissed because I don’t like to have my finances ruined? What a tool.

  3. suntzusays says:

    "….friend who accepted every single offer for a credit card that came in the mail; he ended up with a total available credit line of over one million dollars. He could have bought a house with credit cards. I wonder what that did to his credit rating!" — If he ever stopped getting more and always paid them off on time, then his credit rating would probably be pretty good because his ratio would always be low (I'd say a FICO score >800). Applying all the time though, I'm somewhat surprised they kept sending and accepting new applications. Ahh the perils of significant others stealing money and ruining finances. There are advantages to not trusting other people. But there are less fun nicknames that way.

  4. You got that right! I was so freaking upset – that nickname was the only thing that could make me laugh that night!

  5. suntzusays says:

    Incidentally, Bank of America has an odd origin history. One I’m sure you’re somewhat familiar with. It took me a few days to realize this was yet another useless connection of my vast trivial knowledge arsenal to pass along.

  6. Hmm. Not ringing a bell…off to google.

  7. Ha! That probably would have warmed my heart toward it if they weren’t being dicks for no reasonable reason. My account is still in my maiden name, too…would be nice if that held any water these days!

  8. suntzusays says:

    Well the Italians did basically invent banking. They’d sort of forgotten about it by the early 20th century though, seeing as most immigrants had not much money. Calling a bank “Bank of Italy” however was clever marketing for the time. Ethnic enclaves tended to stick to things they knew a lot more often. The really interesting story is how the bank’s money survived the San Francisco earthquake/fire. He had a special fire vault that he was able to open sooner than his competition (more portable). That exploded his business in the aftermath/rebuilding stages. They basically plopped the vault down on a street corner pile of rubble, cracked it open to show they were ready to go, and started making loans. Sort of reminds me of the misrepresented Chinese character for ‘crisis’. Danger + opportunity does not = crisis, but everyone acts like it does.

  9. Excellent. We are a resourceful people ;-).

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