Goodbye Wells Fargo, Hello Credit Union

Tim Iacono profile picture
Tim Iacono

Wells Fargo (NYSE:WFC) just reported its third-quarter earnings and, apparently, all is not well at the nation's fourth-largest bank, as revenue and earnings came in at $19.6 billion and $4.1 billion, respectively, short of analysts' estimates.

Too bad. Don't look for any help from me in doing better in the fourth quarter.

It really does seem to be the "least bad" of the Too-Big-To-Fail banks in the U.S. - far better than Citigroup (C), Bank of America (BAC), JPMorgan Chase (JPM), and the other organizations the government has bailed out before, and will bail out again when the time comes. But I'm still closing my account with them and moving my money back to a credit union or elsewhere.

To date, the bank has been pretty good about not nickel-and-diming its customers (or at least not nickel-and-diming the customers who pay close enough attention), but the recent change of terms it announced for checking accounts was a step too far, and now I'm voting with my feet.

On November 5, there will be a nationwide effort to move money away from the TBFT banks and into smaller banks and credit unions, so it's probably not a bad idea to beat the rush.

In the mail the other day came word that Wells Fargo will now charge a monthly fee of $15 for checking accounts, unless you have a mortgage with them or three additional linked accounts with a combined balance of $7,500.

Previously you could escape any monthly service fee with a very small minimum balance or with a regular automated transfer to another account (I never understood the logic behind this, but I didn't argue). Now the only way to get free checking is to either pay them interest on a home loan or park $7,500 with them -- which, most likely, would earn virtually nothing for

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Tim Iacono profile picture
Tim Iacono is the founder of the investment website 'Iacono Research', a subscription service providing market commentary and investment advisory services specializing in natural resources. He also writes a financial blog known as 'The Mess That Greenspan Made', a sometimes irreverent look at the many and varied after-effects of the Greenspan term at the Federal Reserve. Use the links below to visit Tim's website/blog.

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