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June 29, 2011

Wells Fargo has dropped the fees for its Direct Deposit Advance line of credit.

The Direct Deposit Advance is a short-term cash advance available to Well's checking account customers (in good standing) in about 15 states.

Wells charges $1.50 for every $20 increment that a customer is

June 28, 2011

The Senate Committee for Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs is taking testimony this morning on how pulling back the role of the GSEs would impact small banks. Senator Tim Johnson (D-SD) is hearing from small bankers, credit unions and two policy advocates:

"What you really find out is not the down payment, it is really other things: what is your debt-to-income,

June 27, 2011

A large shareholder has decided to take its concerns about the share price of MetaBank to the public.

The SEC published a June 21st letter from Philadelphia Financial Management, a private equity firm from San Francisco, written to MetaBank's Board of Directors. The letter seems to have no basis and

June 24, 2011

There are new reasons why the Amex prepaid card presents some problems.

I have written twice about the Amex card already. The Amex card appears to be a great card but hard to use. BillPay only works for vendors that accept American Express. It won't use recurring ACH transactions,

June 23, 2011

The political current in Washington seems predisposed to wind down Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. The drive is so strong that even a center-left group like the Center for American Progress has abandoned its support for some public-purpose entity. The climate is so hostile that supporting the GSEs, even in a very different and scaled-down orientation, is somewhat of a radical point of view.

The logic provided by the supporters of such a measure is that private investors will step in to buy mortgages on the secondary market. That

June 20, 2011

I can agree that we need to address how Fannie and Freddie operate. It isn't as if there is only one problem, either. The GSEs took on too much leverage. They started buying sub-prime mortgages. They had a finance structure that made no sense at all. It isn't just a problem for people that want a mortgage, for shareholders, or for people that have been outgunned by GSE lobbyists. It is an issue that should concern anyone that pays taxes. Taxpayers have been forced to recapitalize the GSEs.

But even when all of that is acknowledged, the ongoing value of the GSEs is irrefutable.

June 16, 2011

Fifth Third offers free ATMs transactions. Fifth Third says that it will not charge fees for its customers in North Carolina when they use a competitor's ATM. Fifth Third has plenty of ATMs in the state, but they still have far fewer than Bank of America. The offer does have some limits. It only applies to new customers and it only works for ten free

June 15, 2011

American Express says that it will offer a new prepaid debit card, but the card's features are not competitive.

Amex has designed a card with some very unusual high-value benefits. The card comes with roadside assistance. The card has a rewards program. I can't think of another prepaid product with those offerings.

Unfortunately, American Express isn't providing basic features that make a prepaid card useful to an unbanked household.

June 9, 2011

First, the OCC has clarified that the June 8th guidance from the OCC ("Deposit-Related Consumer Credit Products") is intended only for debit cards attached to a traditional deposit account.

Prepaid is not covered by this guidance. Still, a person at the OCC intimated that a similar guidance is forthcoming for prepaid debit cards.