Cindy Writes With A Quill. I Write With A Hammer.
by Mark Singleton
Many of my colleagues and customers tell me that Cindy Burch’s column is their favorite part of the Ellis County Living Magazine. My articles in this magazine just don’t stir up the same warm and fuzzy emotions.
Cindy Burch is a wonderful writer; a wordsmith that weaves a story like an artist.
I’m a nuts and bolts writer; a scribe that hammers home points for water cooler discussions.
Cindy writes about her dog, Maggie and I write about Congressman Barney Frank, that dog! She writes about sailing in the AbacosIslands and my topic is about the financial criminals in the Cayman Islands. In one issue Cindy wrote about how her mother always included a dove in the art she painted. In that same issue I talked about the vultures in Congress.
Since most of the ardent readership of Living is females, Cindy’s articles will naturally have much more appeal. However, women should also be keenly interested in the things that affect their budget planning since research clearly shows that most family banking accounts are handled by the woman-of-the-home.
Therefore, my article in this issue of Living centers on how the trickle down of federal financial laws are going to be a white water rapid by the time they reach you and me.
On July 21, Barack Obama signed a 2,300 page bill with sweeping overhauls regarding financial regulations. To administer this mammoth legislation, the government will establish the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau that will have hundreds of employees and a $450 million yearly budget. Well, that’s one way to ease the nation’s unemployment problem, hire more government workers.
The new regulatory agency will be the watchdogs of the $700 billion TARP bailout bill that passed earlier this year, plus billions of more dollars now in the pipeline of congressional enactment. So, what does it all mean to those of you that must handle family finances?
First, make no mistake about it, the federal government is going to dictate to you how you will do your banking in the future. It already has with the Reg. E laws that will go into effect on August 15th.
That mandate says that unless you specifically tell your bank that you want overdraft protection, whether you currently have that benefit or not, it will be taken away. At CNB of Texas we have contacted more than 30,000 customers that will be affected by the Reg. E legislation at least three times. That is 90,000 letters, plus ads, and e-mails and other communication channels. Although the great majority of our customers have opted to have overdraft protection, some have not responded.
This article will appear after the August 15th deadline for compliance with Reg. E goes into effect. By the time you read this, we will have had calls by irate customers who won’t understand why the bank didn’t cover their debit card transaction and they were embarrassed at the grocery check-out line. We will explain that we sent loads of reminders of the new Reg E. rulings, but they will still be mad.
These customers may not have had an overdraft in years, if ever. But the new laws are so strangling that the whole financial playing field is dramatically changing.
Even after August 15th you can call your bank and request overdraft protection. We hope you do it before the new banking regulations put you in a compromising situation with your debit card or ATM card. However, under new government regulations, those that have never needed or wanted overdraft protection will wish they had requested this service from their bank. It is going to get ugly out there and the federal government is handcuffing bankers. The door is being slammed on areas where we have been able to help in the past.
The next thing you will soon discover about the bailouts and boondoggles is the cost. They haven’t hit your pocketbook yet, but they will. Here is my prediction.
Many U.S. Congressional and Senate seats will be up for grabs this November. There is a likely chance that citizens will vote out the rascals that are putting us and future generations in financial chaos. There will be a sigh of relief that the new crop of legislators will heed the voices that got them elected and shame on them if they don’t.
However, between election day on November 2 and the time of taking office in January, 2011, defeated congressional representatives will vote every tax, levy and albatross as possible. What do they have to lose, they’ve already lost their election.
You will need every advantage you can get to fight against the financial carnage Congress and the Senate are waging from Washington. Why, you ask? The answer is simple. All the bailouts and blunders have to be paid. The United States owes so much that deficit spending is like Thelma and Louise in a speeding convertible going over the cliff. There are only two solutions left: spend less or tax more. Guess which one the federal government is going to chose.
Your bank has lots of ways to help you take control of your budget and the great majority of those benefits are free. We love it when customers come to us to seek our financial expertise because it helps establish a strong, friendly relationship between the customer and a banker, which is the most important objective in building customer loyalty.
The banker/customer relationship may not be the warm and fuzzy feeling Cindy Burch wrote about her dog, Maggie. However, it is a doggone good relationship to foster when the wrath of Washington begins to touch all of our lives.