March 13th, 2009
08:27 PM ET

Evening Buzz: Banks that profit from your unemployment benefits

Cate Vojdik
AC360° Writer

Tonight on 360, a story that will make you see red when you learn who’s pulling in the green by profiting off of unemployment benefits. Some of the same big banks that took billions in taxpayer bailout money are now making money from the unemployment benefits they’ve been hired to process. Out-of-work Americans who choose to receive their jobless benefits on a bank-issued debit card(rather than waiting 10 days for a standard check) are getting hit with fees, over and over again – charges that are lining banks’ coffers. Drew Griffin is Keeping Them Honest.

We’ll have all the day’s economic news, from the White House to Wall Street. President Obama met with his economic team today and afterward put a positive spin on the staggering economy, saying he’s confident the country will get through these hard times. Meantime, his top economic adviser, Larry Summers, said that the economic crisis has led to an "excess of fear" among Americans that must be quieted to reverse the downturn. Is the president’s message working? Is it at odds with Summers’? There’s plenty to talk about.

On balance, the bulk of economic news is grim these days. But when it comes to buying a new home, there are some great deals out there. We’ll take you inside a foreclosure auction, where you’ll meet a woman who’s hoping to buy a house within her budget. Banks are taking a bath on these deals, but for buyers these hard times have created deals of a lifetime.

See you at 10 p.m. eastern…

Filed under: Cate Vojdik • The Buzz
soundoff (17 Responses)
  1. Michael "C" Lorton, Virginia

    There is only one financial institution that can skin a cat twice--and that's is a bank-–and I have been told that some can do it three times--when it comes to money---nothing, I mean nothing is sacred---not even life.

    March 16, 2009 at 8:43 am |
  2. Linda B., Ga.

    The answer is quite simple.... "unbailout" those good for nothing banks. The Feds REALLY take them over....

    March 15, 2009 at 11:24 pm |
  3. Jerey Ojeah

    Transparency + Transparency =Oversight or No room for errors.
    People are finally opening their eyes to whats going on around them, and complacency leads to being taken advantage of. This is a gross advantage of power. Did they think they could get away with this theft?

    March 15, 2009 at 4:42 pm |
  4. Mike Deist

    It is amazing how Americans think that they should get something for nothing. If you don't want to pay bank fees, wait for your check for unemployment. Banks aren't in business to give away free services. They need every penny they can get to stay solvent.

    March 15, 2009 at 4:09 pm |
  5. Joe Smitjh of Iowa

    I’m honestly tried of the games of these big corporations and banks, they really have to think the American people are the stupidest people alive. The government is steadily pumping billions of dollars into theses companies, and there steady pumping out pink slips, while giving million to CEO and Executives. Why as American are we going for them stealing us blind, what is wrong with our thinking? Who is the bail out helping? It sure isn’t helping me and you the working class, it is clear as day, we as a people are being take avenge of. We sit by idly saying nothing at all, are we really a nation of cowards, something wrong with us. When do we fight back when our kids are sitting on the street homeless?

    March 15, 2009 at 3:59 am |
  6. Christine Chapman

    We have this system in Michigan, either take the debit card or do direct deposit...they don't even bother with paper checks anymore, unemployment is too overwhelmed.
    The best way to avoid those fees is to go to a bank or someplace that will let you cash out the entire debit card on the spot when you get it. Then you won't get nickel and dimed.

    March 14, 2009 at 11:00 pm |
  7. Tina/Crystal Springs, MS

    I was thinking of filing for unemployment during the summer. We are only out for about 2 and half months. Will the banks be making money off of me?

    March 14, 2009 at 11:24 am |
  8. Tina/Crystal Springs, MS

    What if you work for the school and you are out for the summer, should you apply to unemployment benefits?

    March 14, 2009 at 11:21 am |
  9. Art

    Hi Cate, I'am not suprised with the banks, they have been doing this for a long time. Some people just don't care. Another sad day in America.

    March 14, 2009 at 6:14 am |
  10. Kim

    What do ya do ? Bury the money in the back yard ? This is out of control !

    March 14, 2009 at 3:49 am |
  11. Suzanne Johnson

    Just another case of those family values rearing it's ugly head. A goodly bit of duplicity. Family values are lived, not broadcasted about in a buzzword. Overused and disrespected. Excuses!

    March 14, 2009 at 3:19 am |
  12. caren h

    uhm, can't the unemployed just withdraw the entire balance each time they use the card...instead of withdrawing $20 or $40 each time? then they would only be charged once each pay period.

    otherwise, just wait for the check to come in the mail. some of us don't have the option of immediate access to unemployment. most of us wait for our checks in the mail, and that's just how it is. using the card to access funds is an optional convenience...so yeah, there's going to be a cost for that.

    March 14, 2009 at 1:20 am |
  13. Lawrence Coutee

    I see nothing wrong as long as they give a few free withdrawels. Just take the money and put it in your checking account.

    March 14, 2009 at 1:17 am |
  14. Carmen Woldin

    Good Evening Cate,

    You are so right and I am glad you mention it. Some banks try to make money from processing unemployment benefit program and a lot of people know JP Morgan Chase Bank is a perfect example of it.

    JP Morgan Chase Bank urge their tellers, their sales and service assistant and their personal bankers to force whoever hold the 'unemployment benefit card' to open a 'Chase Free Checking account'. no matter You will be caught in the Chase teller line or at Chase ATM area when you try to get money from your benefit card. Not only that, they force you to take their credit card, their online banking service, and they will 'give' you a savings account with 'automatic savings program'.

    JP Morgan Chase Bank, please stop your nasty gimmick by having your 'hardworking' staff' to solicit us at this difficult time!!!

    March 14, 2009 at 12:07 am |
  15. Annie Kate

    No one should charge fees on unemployment pay, but especially the banks. They wanted our help out of their economic crisis; they should be willing to help us in ours....with no fees.

    March 13, 2009 at 9:17 pm |
  16. carol jones

    i get unemployment in North Carolina.i was not giving a choice of paper or plastic.i can wait.but in the states defense i have not received any charges from any bank on my statements
    if i pull money out at a wachovia bank atm i do not pay any atm fees.
    i thought it was a very efficient system.

    March 13, 2009 at 9:12 pm |
  17. Michelle D. Fonthill,Ontario

    Good Evening Cate'

    The banks are out ant out theives stealing money taxpayers paid to bail out these financial instutions .People are being screwed left and right it"s a travesty of justice that they are benefiting from umeployment benefits .Thank you to the 360 team for exxposing this farce and keeping them honest.

    Michelle D.

    March 13, 2009 at 8:42 pm |