Daily Archives: January 29, 2010

Ungrateful, greedy banking industry can’t take this away – yet

I am very probably like many Americans just now. I am wondering how the U.S. banking industry can show such filthy ungratefulness and bottomless greed.

First, it contributed significantly to the housing crisis and the economic woes we as a nation have suffered the past few years.

Second, the government bailed out the industry.

Third, to end-game credit card and banking reforms, the banking industry drove up interest rates and added excessive, oppressive fees to banking and credit card services.

Fourth, excessive bonuses continued to go to the very people who helped create the problem in the first place.

Yes, the country likely would have been in a far worse situation if the government had not bailed out banking institutions, but the hedonistic greed and gluttony must stop or the banking industry is likely to see a fiscal revolution the likes of which it cannot imagine. I am already planning on moving my banking and credit card services to smaller, more personal community financial institutions. It will be a fraction of a drop in the bucket, but it is my own very tiny protest against the indifference, greed and ungratefulness.

And here is another very tiny protest – I am keeping good credit despite having been out of work for nearly a year! I just opened a quarterly credit report from one of my credit card companies. I continue to have a credit rating in the high 700s.

The dirty, ungrateful, greedy banking industry can’t take away that – yet

Frankly, I was amazed, even though I shouldn’t be. I have been pretty good about avoiding the use of credit cards since being laid off from a newspaper job in Stockton, Calif., so the balances on my several credit cards generally go up only due to interest – which is a killer – or because of new fees – which is cranking me up quite a bit.

And for the past couple of years I have been making larger payments to pay down the credit card balances built during a part of my career when I was not being adequately paid. I depended on the credit cards for necessities – food.

Looking at the credit rating, the big three – Experian, Equifax and TransUnion – each had me in the high 700s for the first fiscal quarter. Each of them showed a 3-point reduction in the second quarter, which was the first full quarter that I was without a job. I used the credit card to purchase a laptop computer and other items needed for the job hunt, so there were charges placed on my various credit cards. And, unfortunately, I could only make minimum payments.

But as unemployment continued, I shied away from using credit cards at all, I do not have a mortgage payment and I am rather stoic in my spending, even before being laid off.

To my surprise, two of the credit agencies showed my score in the third fiscal quarter as constant to what it was the previous quarter and Equifax upped my score by 8 points!

I held my own in the fourth quarter, too. There was no change up or down in the fourth quarter compared to the third quarter.

While I doubt I will be able to hold this credit rating steady if unemployment continues for very much longer, I find it terribly positive that I have been able to maintain excellent credit it a time of personal and national economic upheaval.

I, therefore, pat myself on the back. Someone has to.

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40 employees laid off at Central Maine Power – Portland News Story – WMTW Portland

 40 Employees Laid Off At Central Maine Power – Portland News Story – WMTW Portland.

15 Maine schools join effort to raise funds for Haiti

By Roxanne Moore Saucier

Bangor Daily News, January 29, 2010

BANGOR, Maine — Fifteen schools around the state have signed up to partner with the Galen L. Cole Disaster Relief Program to raise funds to help victims of the earthquake in Haiti.

The schools were among the 29 that last week were invited to join in the project because they have been most active in bringing students to Cole Land Transportation Museum to visit the museum and interview veterans through the Ambassadors of Patriotism program.

Galen Cole, founder of the museum and the Cole Family Foundation, said Thursday he was thrilled to have the schools agree to raise money for Haitian relief. The Cole Disaster Relief Program will match what each school raises, up to $2,500 per school.

Cole, who was wounded and saw five of his fellow servicemen killed while in the U.S. Army in Europe, expressed compassion for what the Haitians have suffered, especially the children.

“What those kids are going through down there,” he said Thursday, “is far more severe than what I went through in World War II. If I’d lost my entire family and been 6 years old — think of it.”

Click on this link for the rest of this story.

Coffeehouse observation No. 27

I just saw a guy in a burgundy Zoot suit outside the coffeehouse smoking loose tobacco from what appeared to be a straight marijuana pipe. Ah, Stockton, you never fail to disappoint in your vast collection of characters.

Go to Coffeehouse Observer for more coffeehouse observations.

Coffeehouse observation No. 26

Caffeinated angry people shouldn’t abuse their laptops and talk out loud in the coffeehouse.

Go to Coffeehouse Observer for more coffeehouse observations.