Ally Bank Online Savings Account Review

It used to be revolutionary to hold your money with a bank that didn’t have any brick and mortar locations for you to visit.

Now high yield online savings accounts are more common and the decision comes down to which online bank you should open an account with.

There are many key factors in that decision — high interest rate, customer service, and account fees — that Ally Bank’s online savings comes out on top if you compare to other accounts.

What is Ally Bank?

Ally Bank Online Savings AccountAlly Bank’s story sounds eerily familiar to the mythical firebird phoenix that is rebirthed out of its own ashes.

That might sound strange for a bank, but Ally Bank is the new edition of GMAC or General Motors Acceptance Corporation.

GMAC was originally founded in 1919 and grew over the course of time, but like many banks a few years ago, got caught up in the financial crisis due to loose mortgage lending standards.  The bank had to take on TARP funding from the government and was rebranded to shed some of the bad image associated with the financial crisis.  A significant portion of the company is still owned by the US government, although the company is actively repaying on the funds it received.  (And a majority of the problems are on the mortgage side of the business, not on the personal banking side that Ally is on.) Continue Reading

Bank of America Mortgage to Lease Pilot Program

Although the foreclosure crisis is making far less headlines than it once did, it is still a big problem in America.

In fact, underwater mortgages are back to 2011 levels, currently at 11 million homes or 22.8% of all residential mortgages.

For those 11 million homeowners, an underwater mortgage represents an impossible financial situation to rectify because homeowners can’t sell their home but also can’t afford the payments and for most, it will likely be many years, at least, before they see the value of their home return if they see it at all in their lifetime.

When a homeowner can’t meet their mortgage obligation, the bank or mortgage lender holding the loan suffers because the bank still has to make the payment to the investors holding the loan.  These toxic loans aren’t draining the balance sheets of these large banks but it does affect profitability and that’s bad for business at a time when banks have underperformed the stock market since 2009.

For four years, banks have tried to get these bad loans off their books.
Continue Reading

New Bank of America Fees – Savings and Checking Ain’t What it Used to Be

It’s was nice to feel like we won, at least for a short period of time.

Banks are once again dreaming up new fees to recoup losses that have come from tighter financial regulation as a result of the 2008 and 2009 financial collapse but until now it’s only been a dream.

What the Fees Are For

Happy March 1st to Bank of America (BAC:NYSE) customers who may have read the reports that the nation’s second largest bank is piloting a program in Arizona, Georgia and Massachusetts that would charge $6 to $9 for what they are calling the Bank Essentials program.

Taking away the marketing lingo, this means that customers will pay a monthly fee to have a checking account at Bank of America and it doesn’t stop there.

Other fees being tested by BAC include fee structures of $9, $12, $15 and $25, a price sure to turn off many customers. Continue Reading

There’s Some Orange in Your Pocket – Capital One Gains Approval to Acquire ING Direct USA

This story didn’t make front page headlines in the financial media but behind the scenes, a battle took place with Capital One emerging as the winner.

Capital One, well known for their “what’s in your wallet” commercials agreed to purchase ING Direct USA for $9 billion paving the way for Capital One to become the 5th largest bank in the United States based on total deposits.

This acquisition faced tougher than expected scrutiny by Federal Regulators although they recently approved the deal.

By banking standards, this was not a large deal so why did it face such tough headwinds? Continue Reading

How to Make Your Own Pre-Paid Debit Card – And Suze Orman’s Approved Card

There’s been a bit of a ruckus with the release Suze Orman’s pre-paid debit card — the Approved Card.

Her card joins other celebrity cards such as the Rush Card and the Kardashian Card.

The problem, many claim, is that pre-paid debit cards come with fees to use them.  With Suze’s card, people are claiming that she is just profiting from her audience.

I’d like to show you an alternative to pre-paid debit cards.  In fact, I’m going to show you how to make your own pre-paid debit card!

First though, let’s go over what a pre-paid debit card is.

What is a Pre-Paid Debit Card?

Continue Reading

Bank of America Changes its Mind: No Debit Card Fee

A little while back we reported about Bank of America’s move to start a $5 a month debit card fee for those who used their card for purchases.  In that article, two things we talked about were 1) Making some noise and let BofA know you aren’t happy about the new debit card charge, and 2) Switch your account to another bank, like a credit union or an online bank with free checking.

Well guess what?

Bank of America is dropping their $5 fee on debit card usage!

Continue Reading