Mr. Wegner, the U.S. Bank customer, said that once he mentioned that he needed a bank account, an employee started selling him prepaid cards, check cashing and short-term loan options. Mr. Wegner, who makes about $1,200 a month, said that he felt like a second-tier customer.
“It was clear that I was not getting the same pitches that wealthy clients would,” he said. Since that initial visit, Mr. Wegner said he avoided the branch so he was not approached with offers. “I go through the drive-through now,” he said.
Bank payday loans, which are offered as advances on direct-deposit paychecks, are a particularly vexing part of the new pitch from lenders, consumer advocates said. The short-term, high-fee loans, like the one Mr. Wegner received, are offered by a handful of banks, including Wells Fargo. In May, Regions introduced its “Ready Advance” loan after determining that some of its customers were heading to storefront payday lenders.
The loans can get expensive. When the loan comes due, the bank automatically withdraws from the customer’s checking account the amount of the loan and the origination fee — typically $10 for every $100 borrowed — regardless of whether there is enough money in the account. That can lead to overdraft and other fees that translate into an annual interest rate of more than 300 percent, according to the Center for Responsible Lending.
In case you forgot that banks are assholes.
Weeping the tears of George Bailey.
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