Beware of this bank and its practices

In my Merriam-Webster Dictionary I looked up two words, they were “BANK” and “PREDATORY.”

The definition for BANK was this… An establishment concerned with the custody, loan, exchange, or issue of money, the extension of credit, and the transmission of funds.

When I looked up the word PREDATORY I found the word defined like this.

PREDATORY… Of or relating to plunder… disposed to exploit others… preying upon other animals.

Folks, I write this article to warn all concerned that I believe there is in our midst a predatory bank which is out to plunder, exploit and prey on the citizenry.

If I would name this bank I might get in trouble with my boss, so I will just give you a hint.

READY?

WOODFOREST NATIONAL BANK

My reasoning for calling this institution a predatory bank comes from two sources.

First of all, it comes from a website I found while searching the web called Complaintsboard.com.

On this site I found a host of complaints lodged against Woodforest National Bank from individuals in many states where they operate, charging them with a variety of practices which may be legal but sure seem unethical and predatory.

Let me share a few with you.

Excessive OD Charges
Posted: 2008-09-27 by Ani

We were hit by Hurricane Ike on 9/13/08, as a result of this disaster, we are without power for 14 days now. The devastation has caused a major financial strain on us causing us having to use the funds we had to survive. Obviously, this dug into the already committed obligations pending in our account. We have had to spend anywhere from 30-60 dollars a day to maintain a generator going so that we can feed our 2 small children. Most of all banks as posted in the Houston Chronicle have waived fees to give some relief to their customers. However, Woodforest National Bank has allowed all kinds of ATM/Debit Card charges to be approved, knowingly that the funds were not truly available so that they can charge $32.00 a pop for each transaction. Imagine being without power where I normally am able to do online banking to monitor the account is now gone… this bank kept authorizing charges and I am getting hit with 12 OD Charges at $32.00 each totaling $384.00 in the negative. I am the sole provider, my husband is disabled and I have 2 small children who are affected by this hardship. I feel that this bank took advantage of victims after a major natural disaster. I will forward this to their corporate office and although I may not get my account credited, I want as many people to know that WOODFOREST NATIONAL BANK ARE THEIFS.

Posted: 2008-08-24 by Dwight
Unspecified NSF Charges

Woodforest National continues to charge my account with NSF Charges for unspecified/unidentified attempts to withdraw money from my checking account. I am not notified of these attempts and if whom ever it is tries again, knowing there aren’t funds from the first attempt to cover it, Woodforest charges me again. This has happened 3-4 times and has added up to several hundreds of dollars each time. Isn’t there a legal concern to such activities?

I’m on a fixed income and can not afford to give my money away to a billion dollor corporation. My lively hood depends on every dollar that comes in. Ultimately, I want my money back, and I want that practice to be stopped immediately before they render me homeless again.

Woodforest National Bank
Posted: 2008-08-27 by Kristen
Massive overdrafts

We’ve been hit with about 15 overdrafts by this bank totaling 500 + dollars in the negative towards our account. EVERY pay check we’ve been getting further and further in the negative causing us HUGE financial troubles. Some how despite having a negative balance while any other bank debit/charge card would stop working this bank continues to allow transactions upwards of being over 200 dollars negative on the account. I’ve never heard of a bank allowing this before, though they claim they have no control over it. I think its just a way for them to get rich off other peoples hardships.

Folks, these are a few of many complaints I found lodged against Woodforest Bank and as you can see, they have to do with excessive fee’s based on overdrafts and insufficient funds. Most of the complaints on the site do.

Now let me make two comments.

Number 1…. Banks do have the right to be compensated for those who misuse their accounts. For those who write checks knowing that there are insufficient funds available there should be a penalty. All banks need this protection.

My second comment is that on a website which specializes in recording complaints of all sorts as Complaintsboard.com does, it is possible that those who post comments are merely irresponsible individuals who want to gripe about how an institution or business treated them.

I understand this perfectly well which brings me back to reminding you that I shared earlier that I considered Woodforest Bank a predatory bank based on not one but two sources.

The second source came from a story printed in the Quad-State Business Journal dated January 2009 titled, “Texas Bank Caters to Wal-Mart Shoppers.” which highlights the fact that Woodforest National Bank has quietly entered the Quad-State region looking for deposits.

Quoting from that story, I want all of you to be the judge as to whether the business model of Woodforest National Bank is predatory, and whether Woodforest National Bank is an institution you would dare trust your hard earned money to.

The first paragraph of the story written by Peter Heerwagen reads like this, “A Texas bank has quietly (this should be the first red flag) entered the Quad-state region looking for deposits.”

But paragraphs eight and nine are the most damning to me and is the genesis for this article, and I quote, “The bank’s business model is to gather interest-free deposits by growing the number of checking accounts, bringing the funds back to headquarters, and lending in the Houston suburbs. In addition to generating high net interest margins on it’s loan portfolio, Woodforest collects a large amount of fee income, much of it coming from overdraft fees. It offers “Second Chance Checking,” an unlimited check-writing account for customers who have experienced previous credit or bank account problems. (Can you say insufficient funds?) The monthly service fees are $7.95 with direct deposit, and $9.95 without
direct deposit.”

Friends, Woodforest National Bank is a financial institution which has quietly entered our region, who in their own words have little intention of lending in this area, as it targets those who can least afford it and are the most likely to generate high amounts of overdraft fees.

If this isn’t predatory then I don’t know what is and my words are a warning to take great care before choosing a bank or financial institution because not all of them are created equal and not all of them have your best interest at heart.