The Palm Beach Post from West Palm Beach, Florida on December 1, 1997 · Page 55
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December 1, 1997

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The Palm Beach Post from West Palm Beach, Florida · Page 55

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West Palm Beach, Florida
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Monday, December 1, 1997
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Page 55
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' f ! ' : 8 THE PALM BEACH POST .a DECEMBER I,' 1997 ,'-- persoi;;if'nance Big banking mergers tough on the little guy Highest nationwide yields as of Nov. 25 Accounts are federally insured up to $100,000 per person. Yields are based on method of compounding and rate stated for the lowest minimum deposit CD figures are for fixed rates only. Low minimum CDs rat I MONEY.BACK GUARANTEE ! 1-800-929-3311 Let the Law Offices of Jack Schrold attempt to improvechange your credit reports. 29.00 per item, paid after item is successfully removed. No additional costs. The hirins of a hewer ii hi imiwrtant derision that ihould Institutionarea Comp Anl Avg MMA Phone Min. Rate Mthd Yld Yld Capital One Fed SvgBk (800)564-7426 10000 5.61 CM 5.76 Falls Church, VA Atlantic B&T (800)727-2223 5000 5.60 CM 5.75 Boston, MA Bluebonnet Savings (800)343-5874 5000 5.55 CM 5.69 Dallas, TX. Advanta Natl Bank (800)441-7306 10000 5.50 CD 5.65 Wilmington, DE First Dep National Bank (800)821-9049 5000 5.45 CD 5.60 Tilton, NH 6-month CD Safra National Bank (800)223-2311 10000 553 CD 6.00 New York, NY 1 Capital One Fed SvgBk (800)564-7426 2500 5.80 CD 5.97 Falls Church, VA Southern Pacific T&L (800)428-5056 5000 5.80 CD 5.97 Los Angeles, CA First Dep National Bank (800)821-9049 10000 5.79 CD 5:96 Tilton, NH Providian Bank (800)404-4928 10000 5.79 CD 5.96 Salt Lake City, UT 1 -year CD Atlanta Internet Bank (888)256-6932 1000 6.02 CD 6.20 Atlanta, GA . MBNA America (800)577-3556 10000 6.00 CD 6.18 Wilmington, DE Providian Bank (800)4044928 10000 6.00 CD 6.18 Salt Lake City, UT Cross Country Bank (302)3264200 5000 6.00 CM 6.17 Newcastle, DE First Dep National Bank (800)821-9049 10000 5.98 CD 6.16 Tilton, NH 2.5-year CD Capital One Fed SvgBk (800)564-7426 2500 6.25 CD 6.45 6.76 Falls Church, VA TeleBank (800)638-2265 2500 6.22 CD 6.42 6.73 Arlington, VA Providian Bank (800)4044928 10000 6.20 CD 6.40 6.71 Salt Lake City, UT Cross Country Bank (302)3264200 5000 6.20 CM 6.38 6.69 Newcastle, DE First Dep National Bank (800)821-9049 10000 6.19 CD 6.38 6.69 Tilton, NH 5-year CD Capital One Fed SvgBk (800)564-7426 2500 6.44 CD 6.65 7.60 Falls Church, VA Cross Country Bank (302)3264200 5000 6.45 CM 6.64 7.59 Newcastle, DE Providian Bank (800)4044928 10000 , 6.41 CD 6.62 7.56 Salt Lake City, UT MBNA America (800)577-3556 10000 6.40 CD 6.60 7.54 Wilmington, DE First Dep National Bank (800)821-9049 10000 6.39 CD 6.60 7.53 1 hat's the latest take on the slew of big bank mergers engulfing the country, like First Union's record- setting deal with Corebtates.' They're good for consumers, say the banks, because they mean better services and cost savings that are passed on to you after a merger. Not so, insist consumer action groups and other experts who track those megabank marriages. If anything, you come out on the short end of the stick. "The current merger-mania means three things," says Mark Ferrulo, director of Florida's Public Interest Research Group. "Less competition, fewer choices and higher bank fees. A recent PIRG study showed the bigger the bank, the higher the fees. For example, big outfits on average charge $30 more per year on a basic checking account than small institutions, and the difference rises to $100 vs. a credit union. If your bank gets swallowed up by Megabank, how might your wallet get impacted? Chances are you'll win some in the short run but lose in the long run. Here's what's likely to happen in this order based on what I've observed over the past couple of years: B Bank A announces it's taking over Bank B, but it says don't worry. "You'll benefit from our combined resources, our great history of serving the community, plus, you'll have hundreds more ATMs to use for your transactions." Meanwhile, the word gets out about probable branch closings and lots of employee layoffs. B To calm the fears of Bank B's customers, Bank A temporarily promotes a host of freebies, higher rates on certain savings accounts and discounts on some loans. That's to make you think twice before you panic and take your business across the street. B Other banks in the market go after the nervous customers of Bank B, using fear as their advertising strategy. , B On the plus side, Bank A might offer you services that weren't available at your old Bank B, such as home banking via personal computers, and management accounts that combine investments, savings and insurance. B But over the long haul, a merger may result in your CD rates dipping to something lower than what other local banks pay especially if Bank B's rates used to be higher than Bank A's rates. Within four months after NationsBank,bought the. well: . , 4 known Boatman's Bank in St. Robert K. Heady Louis last June, Boatman's customers were earning as much as three-quarters of a percent less than what area competitors were offering. Those kinds of hijinks have prompted consumer groups to yell "monopoly" and "anti-competitive." Kenneth H. Thomas, finance lecturer at the Wharton School of Business, has formally asked the Federal Reserve Board to analyze the anti-trust implications of NationsBank's takeover of Barnett. As Thomas sees it, the merger would result in "81 percent of Florida's deposits" being controlled by out-of-state banks, turning the state into a mere banking "colony." With branch closings and layoffs, adds Thomas, people will be "pushed onto ATMs or even supermarket branches." Those that get hurt the most would be "low-and moderate-income consumers." The solution, he says, would be for the Fed to force NationsBank to divest itself of far more Barnett branches than what it now proposes. "So what's the bottom line?" I asked Thomas. "Mergers are great for bigger banks. It makes them leaner and more high-tech," he replied. "But for consumers it means less personalized service, fewer branches and fewer people to care for the average customer's banking needs." And what does all that mean to you? There's a better-than-. even chance you'll go from a fuzzy, warm, caring relationship to a situation where you could become a mere "number." The financial benefits will be felt mostly by the top guys at the banks who approved the merger in the first place. They get beaucoup stocks and cash. But don't fret. There are many small community banks, thrifts and credit unions around, staffed by nice people you can get to know. They'll welcome you with open arms, listen to your problems, and won't even ask for your ID every time you cash a check. B ' Robert K Heady is publisher of Bank Rate Monitor, a weekly re-Port of financial rates based in- North Palm Beach. not be based soley upon advertisements. Before you decide, ask us to send you free written information about our qualifi cations k experience- Member Florida Bar, Fort Lauderdale. NEW TO COMPUTING??? From purchasing, set up, internet connection, e-mail and private tutoring in Microsoft Works. Please call Fred Violette at 561-964-0866 1 to discuss your needs. (T " Can Browse 1 1 YWfloceifitlJ I httD:www.flaDennvsaver.com N i- ' IpENNYSAVtltn -Your Nelflhbortioo'' Q"gpp" 1 Let PostFacts find the information you need for your business or personal life. We can search The Palm Beach Post back to 1916 and hundreds of other publications and sources. Prices start at just l5. Faxing and on-line charges additional. Call PostFacts today at: (561)820-4000 PostFacts Tilton, NH Annual percentage yield for first year. Average annual yield over entire life of investment although institution may advertise only annual percentage yield for first year. Star safety ratings (3 stars the highest) by Veribanc, Inc. $100,000 Jumbo CDs Institutionarea MMA Phone Anl Yld 5.98 - 7262 - 5874 5.69 - 5553 5.92 - 2311 6.00 - 6932 6.20 Stearns Cnty Natl Bk (800) Albany, MN 1 -month CD Bluebonnet Savings (800) Dallas, TX 3-month CD Key Bank USA Albany, NY 6-flwnthCD (800) 872 Safra National Bank (800) 223 New York, NY 1-year CD Atlanta Internet Bank Atlanta, GA - (888) 256 320 343

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