Behind the Headlines: Breaking News! A STATE BANK
Wall St. lobbyists in Salem have been working overtime to derail Ted Wheeler's "virtual" state bank proposal. While middle class families are barely squeaking by, big corporations record huge profits and bonuses. The big banks are hurting us at home, and it's time to fight back.
* US Bank is contracted with the State of Oregon to handle the “Reliacard,” which handles the Visa debit card where unemployment and child support payments are stored.
* In addition to taking dollars from the state to administer the program payments, the bank is squeezing dollars from the cardholders as well, through a slew of unnecessary and outrageous fees.
* Single parents and the unemployed can only access their benefits from an ATM twice a month before being charged extra fees, even though unemployment benefits are provided on a weekly basis.
* That means that users are hit with two extra fees a month, just for using their cards!
* Cardholders are charged a $17 fee if they overdraw their Reliacard account.
* If those collecting unemployment or child support payments want to check their balances at a non-US Bank ATM or speak with a bank teller more than twice a month, they're charged an a – US Bank charges fees for those, too.
While US Bank is nickel and diming jobless Oregonians and single parents, they paid out $4.4 billion in bonuses in 2010 and saw huge corporate earnings in 2011. Yet they prey on those in their worst financial difficulties. Tell US Bank that Oregon won’t stand for these outrageous fees. Let them know that we demand a contract that protects Oregonians – not exploits them.
The 2011 legislature is considering a proposal to create a publicly-owned bank modeled after the highly successful, 92 year old Bank of North Dakota. Recently State Treasurer Ted Wheeler announced his support for a "virtual" state bank in an Oregonian op-ed and in a radio interview.