Credit Unions: Another Place To Do Your Banking

My mom loves her credit union.  She has had great experience with refinancing, college savings and small loans. I always thought credit unions were banks only for employees of a certain company or government organization, but they are not. There’s a new site called CU Lookup where you can find a credit union in your area.

ING To Split In Two By 2013

From the New York Times, Dutch bank and insurance company, ING, is breaking up.

The Dutch financial services company, said Monday that it planned to break up its insurance and banking businesses and raise up to 7.5 billion euros, or $11.3 billion, in a stock issue, after reaching a deal with the government to repay ahead of schedule half the money it received in a bailout last year.

As part of the deal with the European Commission, ING agreed to sell its U.S. Internet banking arm, ING Direct, by 2013. The company anticipates that it will take several years to get out of the business, but said that it regards the operation as “a very strong franchise” and the U.S. market offers potential for growth.

Personally, I am a INGDirect customer for more than five years. I love their products, and recommend to anyone I know who is fed up with their current bank.  I hope Ally would consider buying ING Direct which would be a nice complement to their high yield online savings accounts and CDs.

Take 5: Saver’s Blog,Dollar Store Finds, Compare Banks

ING Direct has a new blog, We The Savers, that give money saving tips.

The Budget Fashionista suggests what to buy at a dollar store.  Party stuff is always a good bet.

Brooklyn based startup, My Bank Tracker, is a new site that compiles and compares the best savings, checking and CD rates  for most banks.

Outright is facilitating new entrepreneurs by partnering with Network Solutions with the website, Unintentional Entrepreneur.  There are also offline events as well and the next one is August 5 in  theDC/VA/MD area.

Lauren from Lifestyler Mag interviewed the founders of Thrive.  Here’s Part 1 and Part 2.

Take 5:Find A Better Bank, Buy Happiness And More

Hate your bank?! There are other fish in the sea.  Find A Better Bank (via Lifehacker).

Speaking of banking, use online banking to manage cash flow, save time and be green.

USA! USA! USA! Microlending with Kiva is now available. Kiva has partnered with Accion USA to provide loans online to entrepreneurs. Read more about this new program on Outright’s blog.

Summer’s here.  If you are not doing summer school, you can still learn by checking out Learn Vest which gives you tools and information so you can a handle on your personal finances.

Money Can Buy You Happiness!!! Here are eight tips on how money can solve problems, create more time with family and keep you from sweating the small stuff.

Web 2 Point Dough: Broke, Tax Forms, HealthCare and Zombies!

snails and foam

Today, I am combining my love of food photography with tips about money and taxes. I took the picture on Wednesday while out to dinner at Tailor, a restaurant in Soho. The green foam matches the blog. Yay!

Broke: This Is Why You’re Broke is a blog that may shame you into never spending money frivolously again (or maybe not).

Healthcare Option for the Jobless and Uninsured: Lauren from LifestylerMag tipped me off to Walgreen’s Take Care Clinics across the country.

Understanding Tax Forms : There’s a great blog post on that gives you the skinny on tax forms and schedules.

Zombies: Ever since I met the guys from Lost Zombies at SXSW, I pay attention whenever I see the word “zombie”. Well there’s a financial term that I know now thanks to WordSpy, “zombie banks”. Zombie banks are banks cannot lend money because its liabilities are greater than its assets, but remains in business thanks to government support. Hopefully the government can either wipe out the zombie banks or make them thrive.

Web 2 Point Dough: Banks and Jobs on Twitter, Tax Tips

Share photos on twitter with Twitpic

Royal Bank America is on twitter with their Spur The Economy Program. Maybe not all banks are evil. I going to follow them to see what’s the deal.

Looking for a job? Posting a job? On Twitter? Check out Tweet My Job.

Less than one month to go before the April 15 tax deadline. Here are some tax tips. Don’t forget to make a contribution to an IRA.

Can You Bank On The Amount “Available” According To Your Bank?

Question: Is the bank balance shown on your online banking the actual amount available?

A friend of mine ran into this problem at Bank of America. I totally feel for her and for my bookkeeping clients whose balances were not exactly what the bank says.  Even though the banks offer “real time” bank balances, it is actually not true. The problem is since transactions posted in the afternoon (i.e. deposits) usually don’t appear until the next day whereas debit card transactions at a store, restaurant are immediate no matter what time of day.  That’s why bank reconciliations are still important.

Online banking sites use the terminology “pending transactions”, “uncollected amounts” and “amount available” but what does it really mean?  As much as I love online banking and personal finance sites, you have to remember that the more frequently that you have automatic debits and credits to your bank account, the more you have to  be vigilant of what you actually spend.

The Night All My Money Disappeared

Earlier this evening, I tried to get some cash out of the ATM, but it said insufficient funds. I assume it could be low since so far this week, I have paid on my student loans and bought $40 worth of tights since it is now fall.  I got home, watched the tail end of the debate, and then was about to retire for the night. Then I remembered to check my Citibank balance. I look at the screen in horror. There was $0.00 in all three of my accounts.  Nothing, nada, zilch.

My voice was shaking when I talked to the bank representative. I thought it may be identity fraud, but I knew I had both my debit card with me and my checkbook.  The rep told me that a restraining order has been placed on my account by Midland Funding. The attorneys representing them are Rubin and Rothman.  They are in Islandia, New York.

Googling Midland Funding, I found several complaints on consumer sites like Rip-off Report, but no solution.

I found another person who lives in Oklahoma and a similar thing happened.  The interesting thing is that their original creditor is Citibank.

I don’t know if I owe. I don’t know how much. I don’t  know what for. Midland Funding apparently is a mortgage broker. I don’t have a mortgage. I live in an apartment share. I think it is a scam.

The henchman (AKA the lawyers are Rubin & Rothman). They have complaints as well on Rip-off Report.They are based in LongIsland in Islandia.  There are several complaints about them as well on Pissed Consumer.

I did a “Whois.Net” on the domain name and the domain name owner lives in Rocky Point which is out on Long Island.  1and1 is the hosting site.

I will file a claim with the Better Business Bureau.  I need a lawyer to make expedite the restraining order to be lifted. I want Midland Funding and all the shady lawyers who facilitate their scam to be thrown under a jail. Plus, Citibank should train their employees to be aware of suspicious companies and create a database that is reviewed regularly. Also, they Citibank should also tell their customers who put money into the bank when someone is taking money out of the accounts.

Consumer Complaint in Arkansas

Also, if the creditor/scammer is supposedly suing me because the debt has not been collected then it is “volenti non fit injura”. I guess this means that they cannot recover damages for an act that they volunteered for.  (via Paul Exposes)

I didn’t find anything on Consumerist about Midland or Rubin Rothman.

By the way, this is the listing of the statue of limitations on debt by state.

It’s 3:30am, and  I can’t sleep.  I have $5 in cash, a monthly metrocard, and at least October rent is paid. I wish I could talk my mom and dad right now and they would tell me everything  will be alright. I’ll call them in the morning, if I can go to sleep.

Noon. October 8.  I feel like staying in my bed all day and watching shows, but I got up.

I emailed the situation to a reporter at CBS2 and she replied back with the number of the consumer reporter producer.

I called Citibank again, and a supervisor suggested that I file an exception with the state prosecutor’s office.

I called the law firm/collection henchmen and the woman who answered wanted my social security to look up my account. I would not give her that, so I hung up. I feel so compromised.  I feel like I need a “financial rape kit”.  The funny thing is that I have no money to pay for it.

Web 2 Point Dough: Wired, Fired, Less Energy Expired

Wired Magazine has a contest for small businesses. Application is simple but the deadline is August 30. Hurry!

Author/Blogger/Adult Film Director Audacia Ray closed all her accounts at Citibank after they refused to set up a business account for her business asserting that they have a policy against depositors operating an adult industry business. This may not escalate to Jeff Jarvis’ “Dell Hell”, but it is interesting that a bank would refuse to take money especially in this economy.  [blog URL is NSFW, but content on the blog post is.]

There’s a good article in the Wall Street Journal Small Business section that has tips on how your business can consume less energy which will reduce your overhead expenses and be green.

Tripping Wires Led to Spitzer’s Downfall

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Eliot Spitzer, Smiling, originally uploaded by azipaybarah.

By now you have heard about “Eliot Spitzer’s Mess“. How does this relate to you and your business finances?! First and foremost, keep business and personal expenses separate. Only put business expenses through your business checking and/or business credit card. For personal expenses use your personal checking/debit card. It may even be a good idea to use two separate banks, but as long as you don’t pay additional fees. Second, wire money only when you absolutely have to. To wire money, the banks always charge fees, since the bank act an intermediary for wire transfers. The banks perk up for unusual wire activity with your account, and due to recent anti-money laundering laws, they may be required to contact to the IRS for suspicious activity. If you owe money to a vendor, be proactive and schedule a payment well ahead of time via online check or snail mail. Additionally, it is wise to give your banker a head’s up if you’re suddenly making huge expenditures. If you don’t have a personal contact at your bank, make one now. Go into your local branch and introduce yourself and exchange business cards, because this kind of “personal touch” is totally OK.:)