smart spending

12 ways to show your bank some love

EDITOR'S NOTE: Humor columnist Jay MacDonald has been ruminating on bank fees (he has A LOT of time on his hands) and recently imagined this nightmarish note popping up in his inbox.

Jay MacDonaldFrom: Carl Cashflowe, president, CuddlyBankCorp
Re: New banking fees

Dear Cuddly Customers: Due to recent nitpicky federal regulations imposed by the Credit CARD Act of 2009, we anticipate a shortfall of $2.6 buhzillion for our CuddlyCard™ credit card program.

In order to continue to offer you our CuddlyCash™ personal loans, WarmFuzzy™ home mortgages, BigFatCDs™ and FriendlyFace™ tellers, we regretfully must institute the following new fees for our lobby, ATM and drive-thru customers.

Sorry for the discomfort :) Carl


Lobby cover charge: $1

Silly us! Here we already had those velvet ropes just like the hottest dance clubs and never even thought about a cover charge. What were we thinking?

CuddlyBank bear

Automatic door opener: 50 cents; free exit

We've crunched the numbers and it's still cheaper than a doorman. Besides, you don't want to open our high-traffic doors yourself, right? H1N1, MRSA, hello?

Chain-pen fee: 25 cents; unlimited use, single visit

All chain-pen fees go directly into our chain-pen fund so that we can continue to provide you with this cutting-edge, gender-neutral, identity-secure, manual-access symbol technology.

Deposit slips: 50 cents

Yes, we know you have free ones in the back of your checkbook. We're working on a fee for that.

Lobby music fee: $1

CuddlyBank lobby music is one of the best entertainment values in town. As a promotion, new customers receive a free download of "Islands in the Stream" by the Mystic Moods Orchestra.

Child-in-tow fee: $2 each child under 5

Surveys show that nothing short of a masked adult empties a bank lobby faster than a toddler on a crying jag. This bank fee recoups some of the product sales we lose when the little tikes arrive.

Coffee cup fee: $1

We at CuddlyBank are firmly committed to our HeyJoe!™ free coffee program. However, because we are equally committed to the environment, we offer this fee to our paper-cup users as a cap-and-trade solution to save the rain forests.

Sweetener surcharge: 25 cents per packet

Nearly two-thirds of U.S. adults are overweight. Nearly one-third are obese. Sadly, fat people die faster. We're just trying to help you remain a healthy CuddlyBank customer. You're welcome.

Chitchat charge: $1 per minute

We have an old expression in banking: Time is money. We enjoy seeing you and exchanging a few pleasantries, but if you want to show and tell us all about your goiter, it's going to cost extra.

ATM nuisance fee: $1

We lose a lot of ATM traffic to those ill-prepared, PIN-lacking, "What's-with-this-machine-anyway?"-griping line obstructers who insist on turning their ATM transaction into an endurance test for the rest of the queue. If our surveillance camera catches you being a nuisance, bingo, that's a buck added to your ATM transaction.

Drive-thru valet: $5

It's easy: You pull up, exit your vehicle, hand your transaction to our valet, and claim your vehicle and receipt at the exit. No more five-minute wrestling match with seatbelts, cell phones, screaming kids and barking dogs while your emissions melt the polar icecap.

Drive-thru pet treats: 50 cents

Pets and pet lovers enjoy our pet-friendly drive-thru, but come on; we're a bank, not a doggy deli. Frankly, Fluffy and Mr. Pinky are eating us out of business. Chip in, is all we're saying.

On a positive note, our sparkling CuddlyCare™ restrooms are still absolutely free*.

*But the paper products? Not so much.

If you have a comment or suggestion about this column, write to Bank Shots.

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