While I don't defend TCF, I would mainly fault the students for falling for this marketing. Do a little comparison-shopping, and any idiot can see the U's checking account is nothing more than a regular crappy checking account for U of M students. Surely the enlightened student body at our prestigious research university can comparison-shop personal financial offerings? I easily found an online checking account that offers interest and a no-fee line of credit to dip into when my cash goes negative.
Comment by bork
This story is garbage. If people spend money they don't have, they should pay a fee, end of story. I will never feel bad for somebody having to pay a fee for not being able to balance their checkbook.
Comment by Jeff
While it is true that the banks are taking advantage of the larger transaction before the smaller one, and there are examples of times when overdrafts were in error, we cannot discount the issue of responsibility of the citizen. It is shocking the amount of people who do not know how to use a register to track checking accounts in this technological age. Also, there are several discrepancies with this story. TCF does not have booths all over Welcome Week/orientation offering checking accounts. Only TCF employees trained in account openings can open accounts in designated TCF branches and the UCard office. TCF also has in fact offered financial planning classes on campus, but it is a matter of initiative on the student's end to attend. Also, the account offered by TCF for students was tailored to students and offers the best benefits for them on campus. It is true that banks need to cut back on overdraft charges and amend the system, but we as citizens also need to get off of our computers and learn how to add and subtract again.
Comment by Anna
Great article, David. Thanks for lifting the dead tree to reveal the maggots underneath.
As difficult as these last few years have been for most Americans, I think it's worth it, to expose these unethical, unprincipled, dishonorable, greedy bankers for the vermin they really are.
Thanks for shining a light in their beady little eyes. We can't save this country if we don't see what brought it to its knees! Rage on.
Comment by Jack
from St. Paul
While I have never been a fan of TCF (and that is putting it mildly), there is one flaw with this article. There is a US Bank branch inside Coffman Union and an ATM outside, plus a US Bank Branch down Washington Avenue in Stadium Village as well as in Dinkytown. There are other options (too bad U.S. Federal closed their branch in Stadium Village, but they still have an ATM in McNamara). I might also add I work at the U.
But yeah, parents should teach their young-uns before they send them off to college about balancing a checkbook, etc. I know my mom hauled me off to the bank when I was 17 to get a checking account so she could teach me about this stuff before I went off to college clueless. (I know that not everyone has parents who have these skills, but the ones who do have no excuse for not teaching kids about stuff like this.) But this is beside the point of banks doing crummy stuff like TCF is doing in charging overdraft fees like this. Mistakes happen; why hit up the people who can probably afford it the least? It's kind of like red-lining in poor areas where there are no banks and people have to use check-cashing services with high fees.
Comment by K
This article is completely ignorant. The stadium was financed predominantly through the sale of $137,250,000 in fixed-rate Special Purpose Revenue bonds and several subsequent variable rate issues used as bridge financing while awaiting receipt of contributions. TCF only paid for the naming rights (approximately $20 million), which is at best a small supplement to the overall financing. Whether you think overdraft fees are onerous or that students need to be smarter, TCF didn't pay for the stadium.
Comment by Seamus
If a person can't balance their checkbook they will quickly learn how to after their first statement with an overdraft charge.
Comment by Mark L
from St. Louis Park
TCF is the worst! They pay the highest payment of the day first to ensure that if there is a possibility of an overdraft they will get it. I have no sympathy for TCF. Thank you, City Pages, for this article. I recommend any other bank over this piece-of-crap bank. They make their money off of the poor.
Comment by Ruth