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Tag Archive for 'bank'

Disabling Virtual Assistant on Citibank website

citibank-virtual-assistantEvery time I log into my Citibank account I get two pop us: Chat and Virtual Assistant. They take room on my browser, they slow it down, and they are simply a distraction. I have not found so far a way to turn them off.

I contacted Citibank customer service and received back a very vague response, which to me says they don’t know how to do it. Here is the full text (below), enjoy the typical corporate outsourced language. ;-) And if you use Citibank and know how to turn these annoying pop ups off please let me know in the comments.

Continue reading ‘Disabling Virtual Assistant on Citibank website’

High Yield Bank Accounts – October, 2007

This is another update from BankDeals — my favorite banking blog. On average the rates have come down compared to July when I did an update last time. The long term CD’s are affected the most. Market is obviously betting on Fed to keep cutting rates in the near future.

Noticeably, H&R Block and Countrywide are two banks with great CD rates. These two banks have been significantly affected by the sub-prime crisis and aggressive CD rates is a way for them to fix liquidity problems (read more: CNN Money on Countrywide, Reuters on H&R Block).

Checking/Savings/Money Market Accounts:

3-Month Certificates of Deposit:

6-Month Certificates of Deposit:

9-Month Certificates of Deposit:

12-Month Certificates of Deposit:

18-Month Certificates of Deposit:

24-Month Certificates of Deposit:

36-Month Certificate of Deposit:

48-Month Certificate of Deposit:

60-Month Certificate of Deposit:

Source: Bank Deals Weekly Summary for October 27, 2007 at BankDeals

Fed Funds Rate affect on Bank Savings Accounts

Jonathan from MyMoneyBlog has touched the topic that has always interested me personally: how Fed Funds Rate affects all these savings accounts.

Banks make money by borrowing and reinvesting funds and I would assume Feds Fund Rate is the benchmark they don’t want to go over when borrowing since this is the rate at which they can borrow from the government or from each other. On the other hand if they attempt to borrow at low rate (offer low interest rates on savings) they will have trouble attracting deposits from people.

To see the relation on a live example, Jonathan has collected historical data for savings rate at two popular online banks: ING Direct and Immigrant Direct. The result of his work is this chart:

Fed Rate and Savings

You can definitely see some correlation, but it’s not perfect. It looks like ING was more aggressive in 2002-2004, and then gradually become satisfied with fatter margins. Emigrant seems to be following the curve closely, which would indicate an interest rate drop soon.

The bottom line is that while there certainly is a correlation, each bank sets its marketing strategy differently and can offer savings rate higher or lower than Fed Funds Rate depending on how aggressively they need to attract deposits. Higher rate means more money coming in to the bank but less profits to make. Lower rate means less people opening deposit accounts but also means fatter margins for the bank. For more ideas on the subject read Jonathan’s blog post.

Extreme saving: hide your money from yourself

Stone walletI will confess, I lied to you when I said I would pass on that ING promotion. I couldn’t resist a good deal and applied. Guess what, my application was turned down because I am ineligible. When I called the support I was told that I already have an account with ING. This came to me as a surprise since I don’t recall ever opening it. It appears not only I have an account at ING, I actually have a few hundred dollars stashed in it.

This discovery made my day today and I immediately thought of this new money saving technique that will work best for compulsive and disorganized yet motivated to do something people like myself.

Extreme money saving for compulsive and disorganized

  1. Find good bank savings or CD promotion
  2. Apply for it using your usual credentials
  3. Stash your money away and do your best to forget about it
  4. Repeat the procedure from step 1.

This is somewhat similar to what squirrels do when they hide food for winter in random places. The step 2 is actually somewhat important since it will make it easier for you to recover your money later when you need it. Not that you cant get it w/o the credentials but it will save you some time.

I see several advantages to this “squirrel style” saving. First, you are not tempted to spend the money since you don’t keep thinking about (having) it. Second, you don’t feel accomplished since you never exactly know how much you have and hence you keep saving. Third, well, if you ever discover your own money like I did today, you will have so much fun!

Now, I wouldn’t probably do this for my primary savings (retirement) but I think it is a very good way to build an emergency fund of some sort. In fact, I would have none if I wasn’t forgetting about accounts and missing CD maturity dates. The temptation to spend is just too strong!

Are you nuts? How do I find my money when I need it?!

I knew you would ask it. In practice however you will have more problems hiding than not finding it. Bank statements, emails, 1099-DIV forms, and credit reports, everything will remind you of it. Here are a few tips that will help you hide your money more effectively:

  1. Hide small amounts. They are easier to forget about
  2. Use smaller banks, they tend to send less ads
  3. Sign up for paperless statements
  4. Use an email address you rarely check

And the last, but not the least. If you ever find your money by accident, resist the temptation to celebrate by spending it on that trip to Las Vegas. Instead re-hide it in a better place and keep the game going. ;-)

Update: I gave my wife to read this post. According to her, the best way to hide your money is in the pocket of your winter coat when you are about to change for spring weather. :-)

Disclosure: I am not a financial adviser and this is not a financial advice. Hide your money at your own risk!

Photo courtesy of TruShu @ Flickr

High Yield Bank Accounts – July, 2007

This is another update from BankDeals — my favorite banking blog. FNBO Direct keeps the leading position in savings accounts. I wonder how the rate changes on 9/28 when this deal expires.

On banking deals, the Banking Guy has just published this list of places to go when you need to find the best banking deal. There are some interesting sources there. Check it out!

Checking/Savings/Money Market Accounts:

3-Month Certificates of Deposit:

6-Month Certificates of Deposit:

9-Month Certificates of Deposit:

12-Month Certificates of Deposit:

18-Month Certificates of Deposit:

24-Month Certificates of Deposit:

36-Month Certificate of Deposit:

48-Month Certificate of Deposit:

60-Month Certificate of Deposit:

Source: Bank Deals Weekly Summary for July 21, 2007 at BankDeals




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