We participated in a great event today at US Bank headquarters in downtown Portland. More than 150 people in Portland and more than 600 across the state braved the rain to share their outrage.
US Bank contracts with the State of Oregon to handle the “Reliacard,” a Visa debit card where unemployment and child support payments are stored. But 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 also charged a $17 fee if they overdraw their Reliacard account. And forget about checking balance statements at a non-US Bank ATM or speaking with a bank teller more than twice a month – 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.
You can learn more (and sign a petition): www.faireconomyoregon.org.
Jim Houser, owner of the Hawthorne Auto Clinic and co-chair of the Mainstreet Alliance of Oregon.