Why is there a two hour line at this particular ATM in New York City?

Every day, people from all over New York travel to the ATM at the East 22nd Street branch of KeyBank in Manhattan and wait more than two hours for their chance at the machine. Why? One reason is to avoid the fees they'd get hit with by withdrawing their unemployment benefits from many other banks' ATM. Unemployment benefits are distributed via KeyBank debit cards sent to residents; unfortunately, there are only two KeyBank branches in NYC and one of them is closed due to the pandemic. There are other fee-free options — including direct deposit or non-KeyBank ATMs with lower withdrawal limits — but apparently scores of people didn't read or understand the fine print, or the bank didn't clearly communicate. From the New York Post:

Some said they endured the line and rolled the dice on their health to avoid getting gouged with surcharges at out-of-network banks. Others said the KeyBank machine was the only one where they could get a daily maximum withdrawal of $1,500. And some simply didn’t know that the bank was part of a network of 1,000 ATMs — because neither the state nor the bank told them when they sent the “Key2Benefits” cards.

“It’s crazy, but we have to do it,” said May Adams, 73, who withdrew $500 for rent. She walked across town to the East 22nd Street branch from her home in Chelsea.

Eric Kwan, 40, a former Food Network “Chopped” champion who is now out of work, said he biked from Chinatown to save $3[...]

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Fellow buried $280,000, not a good investment

Five years ago, a farmer in Anhui Province, China buried the equivalent of $280,000 on his property. Unfortunately when he recently dug up the cash, the bills were completely falling part. Apparently, employees at the Agricultural Bank of China did the best they could separate the mess of deteriorated paper bundles but he still lost about 25 percent of his savings. From UPI:

According to the People's Bank of China's regulations, bills that retain 75 percent of their original features can be exchanged at full value, but bills disfigured such that only 50 to 75 percent of the note is recognizable, can only be exchanged for half the amount.

FYI, here are United States Treasury Department's similar rules:

Lawful holders of mutilated currency may receive a redemption at full value when:

• Clearly more than 50 percent of a note identifiable as United States currency is present, along with sufficient remnants of any relevant security feature and clearly more than one-half of the original note remains; or,

• Fifty percent or less of a note identifiable as United States currency is present and the method of mutilation and supporting evidence demonstrate to the satisfaction of the Treasury that the missing portions have been totally destroyed.

image: Wikipedia Read the rest

Mint: late-stage adversarial interoperability demonstrates what we had (and what we lost)

In 2006, Aaron Patzer founded Mint. Patzer had grown up in the city of Evansville, Indianaa place he described as "small, without much economic opportunity"but had created a successful business building websites. He kept up the business through college and grad school and invested his profits in stocks and other assets, leading to a minor obsession with personal finance that saw him devoting hours every Saturday morning to manually tracking every penny he'd spent that week, transcribing his receipts into Microsoft Money and Quicken. Read the rest

Bank teller allegedly attempted to burglarize customer who made large withdrawal

On Monday, a 78-year-old man in Harford County, Maryland, withdrew a large sum of cash from his bank. That night, an intruder forced his way into the man's house and assaulted him until a relative interrupted the beating. As the relative called the cops the intruder ran off. Police later identified the culprit as 19-year-old Nathan Michael Newell, a teller at the victim's bank.

Newell is currently in the county jail. He was also fired, probably for lousy customer service.

"We are shocked and appalled to hear of the events that led to the assault and injury of a longtime member of our credit union," (Freedom Federal Credit Union president Michael) MacPherson said. "Our thoughts go out to him, and his family, during this difficult time."

(CNN)

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What happened to the 2008 bailout money?

In 2008, Congress authorized a $700b bailout of the finance sector, with almost no strings attached (notably, the bailout did not require banks that were receiving public subsidies to abstain from foreclosures or penalties for the members of the public who had just bailed the banks out). Read the rest

Credit card activity as a predictor of mass shootings

The New York Times has published an investigation into infamous American mass shootings and found that a significant proportion of mass shooters go on credit-card fueled spending sprees prior to their acts of terror, and that these shooters worry (needlessly, as it turns out) that their unusual credit-card spending will be flagged by financial institutions, resulting in their cards being frozen. Read the rest

American banks' secret subprime exposure stretches into the billions

On paper, America's bailed-out banks learned their lessons from the crash of 2008 and got rid of their exposure to subprime debt, especially "deep subprime" loans to people who are so broke that it's basically impossible that they'll ever pay their loans back. Read the rest

Beer brand's giant graffiti Advent calendar 'tells it like it is'

There are Advent calendars and then there is the Banks's Brewery's Advent calendar.

Launched on December 1, the UK beer brand's countdown to Christmas stands over 36 feet tall because it's spray painted on the boarded-up windows of a deserted building in the English city of Wolverhampton.

Their bluntly-stated calendar is part of a larger campaign called "Tells it like it is" and its gritty commentary is meant to appeal to a young, working class audience.

Big Al’s Creative Emporium, the London-based creative agency behind it all, explains:

How do you reassert an identity for a traditional pint of Black Country bitter on a shoestring? Paint it on the walls. That’s how.

Banks’ was a traditional West Midland’s beer in decline, feeling a bit dated and with an ageing core of traditional drinkers. Despite an extremely limited marketing budget, we wanted to give the brand new lease of life by appropriating the straight talking wit and grit of its industrial Black Country roots.

Our solution was to develop a graffiti campaign around the thought ‘Tells it like it is’ and getting our messages on to unconventional urban spaces to create a subversive ambient campaign, which in turn we were able to activate as social media campaign taking on a life of its own.

Here's a peek at some of those messages:

See the rest over at Ads of the World.

Previously: There's an advent calendar full of weed Read the rest

JP Morgan-Chase paid its billions in fines for mortgage fraud by committing billions in mortgage fraud

A lawsuit against JP Morgan-Chase -- the nation's largest bank -- asserts that the institution paid off the $4,200,000,000 in mortgage forgiveness that it agreed to as a settlement for widescale mortgage and foreclosure fraud by committing a lot more mortgage fraud, in which homeowners, ethical lenders, and American cities were stuck with the bill. Read the rest

Man stuck behind ATM slips "help me" notes through receipt slot

Yesterday in Corpus Christi, Texas a contractor was changing a lock inside an ATM room when he got locked inside without his phone. So he wrote "help me" notes that he slipped through the working ATM receipt slot until someone took him seriously and called the cops. From KRISTV.com:

"We come out here, and sure enough we can hear a little voice coming from the machine. So we are thinking this is a joke. It's got to be a joke," (police officer Richard) Olden said.

It turns out it was true, and the employee said afterward he got stuck changing out an electronic lock. Later the contractor supervisor arrived, and police had to kick down a door to get the gentlemen out of the ATM room.

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Leaked tax-haven data shows that the super rich are way, way richer than suspected

When Thomas Piketty and his team undertook their landmark study of wealth inequality in the world, they had to rely on the self-reported income of the super rich to see just how income was distributed -- by definition, they couldn't directly measure the unreported income hidden in tax havens (though they did estimate it, with what was eventually shown to be pretty good precision). Read the rest

Artist specialized in paintings of Chase bank on fire

I love Alex Schaefer impasto works depicting branches of Chase bank going up in flames in daytime. They were from a series by him called "Disaster Capitalism," and apparently the banks (and cops) would pretend he was planning acts of arson to try and make him stop painting. [via mutantspace, via Janie]

On July 30, 2011, Alex Schaefer set up an easel across the road from a Chase bank and began painting the building in flames. However, before he had finished the police arrived, asked him for his information and if he was planning on actually carrying out an arson attack on the building. Ridiculous. Later they turned up on his doorstep asking about his artwork and looking for any signs that he was going to carry through an anarcho – terrorist plot based on his paintings. If this wasn’t bad enough a year later he was arrested for drawing the word ‘crime’ with a Chase logo in front of an LA bank.

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Deutsche Bank fined for laundering Russian money

U.K. and U.S. authorities fined Deutsche Bank of Germany $629 million for helping crooked Russian plutocrats move $10 billion out of Russia.

Via Bloomberg:

From April 2012 to October 2014, mirror trades were used by Deutsche Bank customers to transfer more than $6 billion from Russia, through the German lender’s arm in the U.K., to overseas bank accounts including in Cyprus, Estonia, and Latvia, the FCA said. Another nearly $4 billion in suspicious "one-sided trades" were also carried out.

The mirror trades allowed clients to buy local blue-chip shares for rubles, while the same stocks would be sold in London for dollars, in order to obtain the U.S. currency. Although such trades can be legal, there was a lack of controls in place at Deutsche Bank to prevent money laundering and other offenses.

A couple of weeks ago Western Union was fined $586 million for colluding with organized crime. The CEOs of both companies kept their jobs.

By Christoph F. Siekermann - Fotografiert am 17. September 2005, CC BY-SA 3.0, Link Read the rest

Man buried retirement cash, only to have it eaten by worms

Five years ago, a fisherman in Deyang, China, buried his entire life savings. The amount he buried totaled about US$5,500. When Wu Chen, 67, and his family recently dug it up, they discovered that the plastic bag the bills were in had deteriorated. Worms and insects had eaten through much of his cash. Read the rest

Bankers' "Vulnerability Index": scoring employees' desperation

Back in 2009, SF author Peter Watts had dinner with a retired investment banker from TD who described the bank's "vulnerability index" -- a numeric score that expresses how desperate you are for your paycheck and thus the extent to which you can be reliably expected to forego your dignity and principles to keep your check intact. Read the rest

Suit: Wells Fargo sent contractors to break into our house, loot family treasures rescued from Nazis

David Adier missed two mortgage payments on his home in Morris Township, NJ, so Wells Fargo, his mortgage lender, sent contractors who illegally broke in and "trashed-out" his home as though it was abandoned, stealing the family treasures his father smuggled out of Nazi-occupied France. Read the rest

Chip-and-PIN cards let nearby fraudsters steal $1M at a time

Visa's new Paywave chip-and-PIN credit-cards have a $1M limit on foreign-currency transactions that can be verified "in-card," meaning that someone who gets close enough to your UK wallet can simply wave a phone at it and charge a megabuck to it without raising any realtime security alerts. Read the rest

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