Florida credit union GTE-FCU has decided they hate the working poor – so much that they have passed a poverty tax against them. It works like this: if you have a thousand dollars in savings, you can cash your checks. If you don’t, well, you can’t.
Not right away, anyway. They have decided to hold your checks – 1, 2 days. Or more?
“Please cash my checks, GTE-FCU? I’m mighty hungry? Please?”
The message is clear: if you work check to check, GTE-FCU doesn’t want to help. GTFO, in fact. Go to payday loans and pay a usurious rate. Do whatever you got to do, but don’t come to GTE-FCU for help.
Perhaps GTE-FCU forgets the fact that they are a credit union. These are supposed to be a nonprofit. From Wikipedia: “Credit unions are “not-for-profit” because their purpose is to serve their members rather than to maximize profits.”
Serve their members! Hear that, GTE-FCU? Is that news to you? Because if they are passing a poverty tax to piss off and alienate their poorest members, this would almost seem that they are discriminating against those with no resources, in favor of those with savings that they can make money off of.
This is how the poverty tax works: say I want do my errands on one day – deposit checks, pay bills, buy groceries. Well, now I can’t. Because I can’t access the money right away, this will take me 2 days, or 3 days – which means double or triple the gas, my time, and general pain in the ass. Worse, 2 or 3 days delay means I could pay a bill late, which means a late fee. Even worse, say I am a Mom just barely getting by (like a lot of Americans today) – and finally payday rolls around on Friday! Now I can feed my hungry children! But wait – GTE-FCU says Fuck you Ma! You can’t get the money until Monday! And then, only 200, and the rest later in the week . . . so this mother can’t wait until Monday, you sonsabitches, so she goes to payday lending joints, and pays through her nose just so her and her kids can eat that weekend. GTE-FCU, really? Who the hell do you think you are? Bank of America?
So last Friday I deposited checks at my local GTE-FCU, then drove to the gas station. CARD DENIED. INSUFFICIENT FUNDS. What the-? So I drive back to the GTE-FCU branch, and the teller informs me there is a new ‘point system.’ I can get a point if I have a thousand in savings. But I don’t have a thousand in savings. In fact, I just spent a thousand bucks on a new pump and tank for my well so I could have water. I am plum broke. My gas meter is on E. I am all outta cat food. Etc. So after waiting ten minutes the teller asks the woman next to her and she says, “Just this once, but this is our new policy so after this no.”
The teller tells me there have been a lot of bad checks passed lately. So, this is my problem? What is this, collective punishment then? Ala kindergarten?
The teller tells me it will take a day to get my money from now on.
So I ask: “So if I deposit a check Monday I get it Tuesday?”
“Yes.” she said.
You see this is important, because yesterday was that Monday, and I deposited that check. I asked because today, Tuesday, I need to make my house payment. Today is my deadline. But guess what, the teller lied. Only 200 of the check is available today. The rest tomorrow – which would incur me an extra 50 dollar fee for making my house payment late.
Like Barbara Ehrenreich says, [pp] “It is expensive to be poor!” Since the start of the Great Recession, over 90% of the gains have gone to the 1%. For most Americans, the recession is still going on. In fact, according to recent numbers, nearly half of America still lives paycheck to paycheck. Americans are suffering, man. Me included. I wasn’t always living like this, and I won’t be forever, but for right now, it is check to check for me like a lot of fellow Americans.
And my credit union has decided to make this worse. For me, and all the other members living check to check – which, if close to national numbers – is near half of them. Instead of being a decent nonprofit and giving us a helpful nudge up the prosperity ladder when we could really use it, GTE-FCU has decided to give us a nasty kick down. At a time when most Americans are suffering economically, credit-union-in-name-only GTE-FCU has decided to levy a poverty tax against those who can least afford it.
Shame on you, GTE-FCU.
“GTE-FCU doesn’t hold my checks! Perhaps you should work harder, prole!”