29 May, 2010

How do they make money? never mind...

I happened to visit an old friend in blue Virginia the other day, and while driving about town we stopped in a bank so he could get his name corrected. (They had added an e to the end of his name: so, for example, if it had happened to me, the account name would have been "Johne Perry".) My friend had opened an account there because they were offering a free flip ultra camcorder, which Google tells me sells for $130 or so. All you have to do is open a checking account with at least $100, then within 45 days use your Visa Debit card for 8 purchases, and use their online banking's bill payment service at least twice. My friend had decided to get himself the camera, then (if I understand correctly) close the account.

This is rather sensible from a consumer's point of view. I'd ask myself how the bank makes money, but then I looked at their deposit rates. A Money Market account pays 0.1% APY for a deposit up to $9,999. The credit union where I keep my deposits currently pays a 1.51% APY as long as you keep at least $250 there. So for a $9,999 deposit, the bank will by the end of a year pay you $10 and give you a camera. Okay, so my credit union won't give you a camera, but by the end of a year they will have paid you $145, which is more than $10 plus the value of that camera. Plus, my credit union will pay $145 the next year, too, whereas this bank will stil pay a measly $10. Part of that problem solved.

While perusing the place, I felt as if I was somewhere other than a bank. There was a penny arcade for kids. A sign told me to,


We're happy to see you. For your safety, we are monitoring the premises through video surveillance.
I don't get why I should smile, but, okay, I smiled my crooked smile. Another sign told me that I could earn points by using their Visa Debit Card whenever I signed for purchases.

Oh, and there were lots and lots of free pens.

Well! my credit union only gives away free suckers: SIGN ME UP!

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