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Citibank Cancels Bank Account of Objectionable Blogger

CmdrTaco posted more than 4 years ago | from the there's-gotta-be-more-to-this dept.

The Almighty Buck 265

Keith found this story about Citibank blocking a website's bank account after deciding that the site's blog contained questionable content. I guess it's up to a bank to decide whom to do business with, but this is pretty crazy.

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Because it's a gay site? Or is it because... (1, Interesting)

spun (1352) | more than 4 years ago | (#31275464)

The guy runs an online business without having any real world contact information available? It's pretty common for sites lacking this information to fail a bank's compliance check.

Re:Because it's a gay site? Or is it because... (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31275612)

But if it's not because it's a gay site, this really isn't news at all let alone news for nerds!

Re:Because it's a gay site? Or is it because... (5, Informative)

Anonymusing (1450747) | more than 4 years ago | (#31275774)

First, the bank ALREADY HAS HIS INFORMATION because of his bank account. You think he somehow signed up for a checking account without filling out contact information? Citibank doesn't hand out accounts on street corners.

Second, the startup apparently has backing [paidcontent.org] from "The Washington Post Company, Mayfield Fund’s Allen Morgan, Xing founder Lars Hinrichs, and Burson-Marsteller’s Don Baer." E.g. people with money and connections. Hardly a mysterious, unknown person.

Third, they didn't say this was a compliance failure. They said it was because of "objectionable content."

Re:Because it's a gay site? Or is it because... (0, Troll)

spun (1352) | more than 4 years ago | (#31275908)

Uh huh, "Objectionable content," that's what he said that some bank manager told him. But stop and consider: would this be any kind of a story unless there were the hint of homophobia around it? No. What is going to promote this guy's site better, "I'm a doofus who won't put up contact information," or "The bank is homophobic!!"

It doesn't matter who the backers are. It doesn't matter that the bank knows who he is. The bank sees that his customers have no way of contacting him, and they think 'potential scam site.'

Who knows, though. Maybe Citibank IS homophobic. Maybe this has nothing to do with compliance. But maybe it has nothing to do with homophobia, either.

Re:Because it's a gay site? Or is it because... (3, Informative)

just_another_sean (919159) | more than 3 years ago | (#31276142)

Hmmm, again, info@fabulis.com does not appear to be good enough for you. How about this [linkedin.com] then or this [crunchbase.com] . Any google search for Jason Goldberg + Fabulis turns up a ton of news articles, information about the site, it's investors and his past endeavors, like xing. It all looks pretty lame to me, but I think that about Facebook and Twitter too. Other then looking like another useless social media site I don't see anything wrong with it and it doesn't feel scammy to me unless you also think twitter and facebook (and Buzz!) are scammy.

 

Re:Because it's a gay site? Or is it because... (2, Insightful)

spun (1352) | more than 3 years ago | (#31276262)

Look, I'm just explaining how banks work. If you have an online business, you need a real world address and telephone number on your site. Not 'info@.' Not links from other sites. Not google. The bank needs to know that your customers will have a way to contact you in the real world to resolve disputes, otherwise the bank fears it will have to eat the costs of said disputes.

Re:Because it's a gay site? Or is it because... (4, Informative)

just_another_sean (919159) | more than 3 years ago | (#31276588)

The company I work for has an online site and we don't post any of our direct contact info. You have to fill out a contact us form. Of course we sell boring shit so there is nothing a bank might find objectionable. The bank obviously has his contact info and made no attempt to explain to him before closing his account that he might need to add some detail to his site out of concern for his customers. They shut it down without notice and then said his content was questionable. Not his business practices, not his site design and not a lack of data. His *content* was in question, pure and simple.

Did you even read the blog? Did you try to do any verification on who Jason Goldberg is before you wrote your post? Banks fund some of the most dubious shit you could imagine and as long as they are getting paid they don't generally give a hit about what you are doing unless it is so obviously illegal that they feel they might get caught up in it and therefore the risk outweighs the gain. It's obvious that Citibank as a company doesn't feel thsi way, they apologized and reinstated his account. But I still think this started as some homophobic conservative getting up in arms over what he percieved as just another Un-American attempt to further the gay/lesbian/communist/liberal/neo-liberal-monarchist agenda.

Re:Because it's a gay site? Or is it because... (0, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#31276146)

Uh huh, "Objectionable content," that's what he said that some bank manager told him. But stop and consider: would this be any kind of a story unless there were the hint of homophobia around it? No. What is going to promote this guy's site better, "I'm a doofus who won't put up contact information," or "The bank is homophobic!!"

Unless you have any evidence backing up your idle speculation, then you are just being a Troll, despite what some of the Moderators here have so far labeled your comments.

Re:Because it's a gay site? Or is it because... (1, Interesting)

spun (1352) | more than 3 years ago | (#31276326)

Really? Expressing honest skepticism makes you a troll these days? I've made it VERY CLEAR that this is all simply my idle speculation, why do you have a problem with that?

Re:Because it's a gay site? Or is it because... (1)

Dishevel (1105119) | more than 3 years ago | (#31276488)

Why dose an AC have a problem with you posting that the bank "May not be homophobic"? Let me think on this for 3.2 seconds..... Ok.

Answer = "Closet Gay"

Re:Because it's a gay site? Or is it because... (1, Insightful)

spun (1352) | more than 3 years ago | (#31276564)

Ahhh, no. That is not the action of a closeted gay. That would be the action of someone who has just come out, and sees injustice and homophobia everywhere. A closeted gay would agree with me. Someone who has been out for a while and is comfortable with their identity no longer sees homophobes hiding in every shadow. So, newly out queer with a chip on the shoulder is my guess.

Not that there's anything wrong with that, having a chip on your shoulder is perfectly justified, gay people really do get a raw deal. It's just not that mature...

Re:Because it's a gay site? Or is it because... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#31276586)

My first thought was actually "Republican", but then again that's basically a synonym for "Closet Gay" these days.

Re:Because it's a gay site? Or is it because... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#31276534)

Really? Expressing honest skepticism makes you a troll these days?

There's a difference between "honest skepticism" and Trolling. Being skeptical of evolution (for example) by "skeptically" calling the honesty of science and scientists into question without any evidence is (by any HONEST and REASONABLE measure), merely Trolling. The same here. Different topics, with the same techniques. And SHAME on those Moderators!!

Re:Because it's a gay site? Or is it because... (3, Insightful)

BradleyUffner (103496) | more than 4 years ago | (#31276022)

Third, they didn't say this was a compliance failure. They said it was because of "objectionable content."

Not exactly.
He SAID they told him it was objectionable content.

Re:Because it's a gay site? Or is it because... (3, Insightful)

DerekLyons (302214) | more than 3 years ago | (#31276498)

Third, they didn't say this was a compliance failure. They said it was because of "objectionable content."

Not exactly.
He SAID they told him it was objectionable content.

You must be new around these parts. Here on Slashdot we have a pretty low standard of evidence - when somebody is 'wronged' by big business or the government, their claims are assumed to be gospel truth. Actual evidence need not apply.

Re:Because it's a gay site? Or is it because... (2, Insightful)

BitZtream (692029) | more than 3 years ago | (#31276118)

Its not about the bank having his contact info, its about customers having a way to find it.

Either way, everything in this 'story' is conjecture at this point.

Re:Because it's a gay site? Or is it because... (1)

Jurily (900488) | more than 4 years ago | (#31275800)

What exactly is a compliance check anyway? "We don't like your website, so you can't have your money"?

Re:Because it's a gay site? Or is it because... (1)

Uranium-238 (1586465) | more than 4 years ago | (#31275932)

As far as I know its to check to see that the business isn't conducting illegal transactions, and possibly the check my also look into the profitability and future of the business in question, but that's just me guessing.

Re:Because it's a gay site? Or is it because... (1)

sopssa (1498795) | more than 3 years ago | (#31276122)

possibly the check my also look into the profitability and future of the business in question

How is that banks job to do? It's not like he was asking a loan for business from them. How you spend your money (as long as its legally), no matter how unprofitable it may look, it's none of banks business.

Re:Because it's a gay site? Or is it because... (1)

gnieboer (1272482) | more than 3 years ago | (#31276428)

Because in the cases of fraudulent charges, the banks have to suck up the losses if they can't chargeback to the vendor.

Also, the amount of anticipated charge-backs change the VISA surchange the vendor has to pay. If a vendor collects physical signatures on groceries, then the surcharge will be lower than an online 'video' site that collects nothing but the CC number/expiration date. That's even if the site is completely legitimate, they want to profile how many 'problem' transactions a site may have.

Plus, post-9/11, there are a number of new laws concerning collecting financial data that may be affecting this. I recently cashed a large check from a title company, physically at the bank that the title company banks with (so it was essentially their check), and they wanted an obscene amount of info from me to comply with 'new' anti-laundering laws. I suspect something similar may be involved.

And finally, remember that really, the vendor isn't charging 'you'. The bank is charging your VISA, and then gives the vendor a percent. They are the man-in-the-middle.

Re:Because it's a gay site? Or is it because... (-1, Troll)

spun (1352) | more than 4 years ago | (#31275948)

It means "We think your website might be a scam site because you are hiding from your customers." It means "We don't want to have to pay the costs if your site DOES turn out to be a scam site." It means, "We would rather give all your money back to you and refuse to do business with you than pay these potential costs."

Not saying this was the case, or the bank was right even if it was the case, I'm just saying, this may just be an amateurish attempt to turn a personal fuck-up into some site promotion.

Re:Because it's a gay site? Or is it because... (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#31276188)

Not saying this was the case, or the bank was right even if it was the case, I'm just saying, this may just be an amateurish attempt to turn a personal fuck-up into some site promotion.

Or he might have been hosting kiddy porn on his site. Not saying this was the case, but that bank was right if it was the case. This may just be an amateurish attempt to promote a kiddy porn site.

There. See how easy it is to make stuff up?

Re:Because it's a gay site? Or is it because... (2, Interesting)

NeutronCowboy (896098) | more than 4 years ago | (#31275818)

Then the comment from the citi employees should have been"We're terminating your account because your business fails the following compliance checks:
1) blah
2) reblah
3) reblahblah"

Instead, they said: your site is objectionable. There is a huge, huge difference here. I don't think citi has a policy of discriminating against gays (hooray class action lawsuit if they do), so the only thing left is that there are some stupidly moronic people at citi who don't understand how to be professional. Considering how many of those people I have met while working in different places.... I'd say that's a fair assessment.

Re:Because it's a gay site? Or is it because... (4, Insightful)

spun (1352) | more than 4 years ago | (#31275966)

He said they said that. Would it be a story if he said, "I forgot to put my contact info on my site, and the bank shut down my account for 24 hours while I settled things?" I'm not saying the guy is definitely lying, but there is a strong motive for him to do so.

Re:Because it's a gay site? Or is it because... (5, Funny)

phud (539476) | more than 3 years ago | (#31276318)

If I had mod points, I'd mod you up. Not because I agree with you, but because you spelled "definitely" correctly.

Re:Because it's a gay site? Or is it because... (0, Troll)

shutdown -p now (807394) | more than 3 years ago | (#31276398)

I'm not saying the guy is definitely lying, but there is a strong motive for him to do so.

A strong motive not to do it would be that bank can easily have his ass in the court if he did indeed lie (I'd expect them to record all customer calls).

Re:Because it's a gay site? Or is it because... (1)

spun (1352) | more than 3 years ago | (#31276464)

How so? What motive would the bank have for bringing him to court over statements of opinion, publicizing this even more, and then losing? He is expressing opinions, there is no issue of libel there.

Re:Because it's a gay site? Or is it because... (1)

atomicdoggy (512329) | more than 3 years ago | (#31276408)

Perhaps the post should really say "hey I need some hits from Slashdot!". No proof, details, anything, just Citibank closed my account and called me a doodyhead!

Re:Because it's a gay site? Or is it because... (4, Informative)

just_another_sean (919159) | more than 4 years ago | (#31275820)

Explain real world contact info. Jason Goldberg links two news articles that contain a lot of data on who founded and invested in this company. If you take a sec to google him there is plenty of data on him here: Jason Goldberg on Crunchbase [crunchbase.com] . What? Because his contact info on the site is info@fabulis.com? That's pretty standard actually. Just because he doesn't list his home phone number and personal email address doesn't make him anonymous. He doesn't seem to have anything to hide, quite the contrary actually given the nature of the site. Just because he doesn't list his personal contact info for you to contact doesn't mean Citibank doesn't have it.

My guess is that this is a good old fashion case of homophobia. Especially after reading this: Update on story [fabulis.com] .

Re:Because it's a gay site? Or is it because... (0, Redundant)

spun (1352) | more than 4 years ago | (#31276008)

News articles aren't contact info on the site. The bank may be worried that customers will be unable to contact the site to resolve disputes, and they will be forced to eat the costs. This is a common procedure with banks and web based businesses.

Or the three managers who supposedly contacted him may all be homophobes. Which is the more likely explanation?

Re:Because it's a gay site? Or is it because... (2, Insightful)

just_another_sean (919159) | more than 3 years ago | (#31276250)

Or the three managers who supposedly contacted him may all be homophobes. Which is the more likely explanation? Or the three managers who supposedly contacted him may all be homophobes. Which is the more likely explanation?

Uh, the latter? Sorry, maybe I'm stereotyping here but it is not hard for me to believe that there are three stuffy, conservative PHBs at a bank (especially Citibank) that are homophobes and would use their power to try and bully or censor this guy. And after the latest update - they apologized and said the reasons given should never have been said - I'm even more convinced. Had this just been some little dude in his basement I have no doubt that he would have had his account closed. My guess is once they figured out who he was, his past business experience and who his backers are they are now scrambling to save their ass. Apparently news articles were good enough for Citibank when they decided to apologize.

Re:Because it's a gay site? Or is it because... (4, Insightful)

spun (1352) | more than 3 years ago | (#31276380)

While you may be right, the end result of all of this is a very large amount of publicity for this site. Call me cynical, but anytime I see some website whining about some supposed injustice done to them, I think 'shameless self promotion.'

Re:Because it's a gay site? Or is it because... (3, Interesting)

Patch86 (1465427) | more than 3 years ago | (#31276570)

I'm interested- if I click "contact us" on Amazon, what will I see?

Will it be a "customerservice@amazon.co.uk", or something along those lines? Actually, you don't even get that, only an embedded comment system. I've just had a quick look and I can't find anywhere that says Amazon's office address, or phone number, and I also can't find any names of any executives, founders, board members, or anyone else. I presume I could find all that information elsewhere on the internet, but it isn't on their main website.

What, basically, is your point?

Re:Because it's a gay site? Or is it because... (1)

icebike (68054) | more than 4 years ago | (#31276052)

Its possible the site was reported as a gay prostitution site or involuntary outing site by someone who was offended by the content.

Even if they do not actually handle any funds transfer online, all it takes is one call from some vice squad with a court order from some night court magistrate some where to get a temporary block in place.

Such allegations need have nothing to do with this site at all. May be related to some other activity by someone who has signature control of the bank account. May be just a case of mistaken identity.

You also have to consider how easy it is to put up a web page decrying censorship while knowing and hiding the real reason the account was closed.

Re:Because it's a gay site? Or is it because... (1)

perlchild (582235) | more than 3 years ago | (#31276392)

If there was a court order to do this, they should have said this was the reason. "Objectionable content" means citybank checks the content itself, and finds it not complying with rules at citibank. If they are acting on behalf of a third party, it's much more professional to identify the third party, and let them explain it.

On the other hand, your other point has merit, we only have the web site owner's word for this...

Is it? (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31275474)

I guess it's up to a bank to decide who to do business with, but this is pretty crazy.

OK, I suppose they could not let somebody open an account or force their account closed. But no I don't think they legally get to lock the person's access to their own money.

When you give money to a bank, it's not your money (2, Interesting)

Colin Smith (2679) | more than 4 years ago | (#31275830)

Any more.

Interestingly. The UK courts many many years ago decided you were loaning the money to them and therefore was theirs to do with as they wished. What the bank does is create a book keeping entry and assigns that to you. I guess you could try to describe that as your money.

 

May I just say... (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31275488)

That's some old bullshit.

What a shock (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31275508)

Isn't CitiBank the bunch who decided they can freeze anybodies account for seven days, anytime they decide to?

Fine fellows to do business with.

Re:What a shock (5, Interesting)

L3370 (1421413) | more than 4 years ago | (#31275748)

Citibank is the bunch that *can* require seven days time for you to CLOSE out the account. They did not say they freeze accounts and anytime.
Argh why am i responding to Anon...

Re:What a shock (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31275764)

There's a reason I call 'em ShittyBank.

Re:What a shock (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#31276238)

They are the same company that does not store customer information with encryption and will keep your payment information (check info or cc) even if you ask them not to keep it on file when you pay over the phone.

How Is This Nerd News??!! (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31275520)

You post one side of some obscure blog's events, and this is front page news?!! Of course there must be more details to this, but we wouldn't get it from this lame submission.

I can't even see how this issue is really relevant to nerds here. There's no tech connection, no connection to anything really.

Re:How Is This Nerd News??!! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31275598)

There's no tech connection

You have a website? Better withdraw your money or hope your bank doesn't find it! (What do you want to bet that when the bank "closed" the account they didn't cut the guy a check for the contents?)

Re:How Is This Nerd News??!! (1)

sopssa (1498795) | more than 4 years ago | (#31275868)

Having a website hardly counts as a nerdy thing anymore.

And it's not even connected to website directly, but objectionable content (I assume the gay dating thingie or whatever). Web is just the medium in this case.

Re:How Is This Nerd News??!! (1)

icebike (68054) | more than 3 years ago | (#31276184)

And it's not even connected to website directly, but objectionable content

Well thats what the story says anyway. But we only have one side of that story. Obviously TFA would NEVER post a one sided blog entry, so we have to assume its the truth, the whole truth...

But I have to ask way designate the bank account as belonging to a web site. Who does that?

The only reason to do so would be because you wanted to process credit card transactions from the site, and appear to the customer as some vague entity. And since the content of the site is sex oriented, the P word comes to mind.

Re:How Is This Nerd News??!! (1)

ircmaxell (1117387) | more than 3 years ago | (#31276242)

What do you want to bet that when the bank "closed" the account they didn't cut the guy a check for the contents?

That would be theft, and they would be criminally liable for it. What I bet happened, is that they said "Your business doesn't agree with our TOS because of questionable content, so we don't want you as a customer" which is fully within their rights as long as that TOS policy was spelled out in advance, and received a copy. Either way, this guy MAY have a claim if he can justify that his business did not violate TOS. But it's prob easier to just open up another account at another bank and be rid of it all...

Re:How Is This Nerd News??!! (1)

just_another_sean (919159) | more than 4 years ago | (#31275878)

Yeah sure, an international conglomerate swinging it's weight around and closing a *website* because of "objectionable content" is hardly news and has nothing to do with technology at all.

You do know that websites run on computers right? And since when did nerds not care about censorship? Especially censorship by a corporation.

Re:How Is This Nerd News??!! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#31276244)

Just because something uses technology doesn't mean the TOPIC is about technology.

The OP is correct. This isn't news for nerds. It's just another "hey, look! /. is running another thinly veiled political flame fest." Yup, lets all start flaming the evil big corporation / evil bank (and no, I'm no fan of Citi, I like my little village credit union just fine.) because, you know, it's a tech story about... banking policy?

Nope, some guy is playing the media for a fool and getting hits for his site because he's not following regulations and policy and he's throwing out the stereotypical "it's because they're homophobes" card. Go figure!

Next up, some black guy gets a /. news story because he claims his ISP shut down his site because of racism... not paying the bills has nothing to do with it. And it's a WEBSITE! So, that makes it /. worthy!

Because... you know... websites are such a cutting edge technology that no one knows about.

Re:How Is This Nerd News??!! (1)

just_another_sean (919159) | more than 3 years ago | (#31276370)

Nice glossing over the YRO aspect of it. OK, sure a website is not "techy" anymore. Social media is not "techy" anymore. Fine. But this is about a corporation bullying people over content. If this is not a thinly veiled attempt at censorship I don't know what is. I read through a lot of the blog, checked other sites and it seems like a lot of people were willing to pick up the story and run with it. And now apparently Citibank has apologized to the guy. I understand that most, if not all the stories, I found were other blogs and blog aggregations but it sure seems a lot of them were willing to risk pissing off a giant corporation like Citibank to carry the story. Did Citibank respond publicly? Did they deny the allegations? No, they privately apologized to the guy and now he's try to downplay the homophobe aspect in comments on other bloigs and follow ups to his original story. If you ask me he's being far too nice to them.

Re:How Is This Nerd News??!! (1, Informative)

tomhudson (43916) | more than 4 years ago | (#31275946)

You post one side of some obscure blog's events, and this is front page news?!! Of course there must be more details to this, but we wouldn't get it from this lame submission.

I can't even see how this issue is really relevant to nerds here. There's no tech connection, no connection to anything really.

The "obscure blog" is a gay blog with lots of funding, and major backers.

Also, a recent survey of high school students found that more than 10% identified themselves as one form or another of "transgendered" - not fitting into the conventional binary model. BTW - the incidence is higher in the tech field, so it is definitely "news for nerds".

Banks don't have a right to discriminate because a web site caters to a minority group that is acting completely within the law. What next? Not allow legally-married same-sex couples to get a mortgage? Or freeze anyone's funds because they made a post to a forum while doing some research on gender issues?

Citibank isn't too big to fail - it's already failed. That's why it has to be bailed out.

Re:How Is This Nerd News??!! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#31276212)

As someone who's gay, rest assured that any survey showing 10% as not-heterosexual is too flawed to cite about anything other than how not to conduct a survey. It sounds like someone just made it up based on the long discredited "ten percent theory". That number would have to be half that to have any credibility.

Re:How Is This Nerd News??!! (1)

digitig (1056110) | more than 3 years ago | (#31276396)

Considering "not-heterosexual" includes all shades of bi (and is about women as well as men), my guess is that you could double that number and still be on the low side. But then, that's just a guess. As is your comment.

Shut up (0, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31275522)

Please slashdot. Stop posting fucking stories about EVERY little person who gets an account cancelled by some giant corporation we hate.

We get it, you want to be the "light of insight" that shows us how corrupt these companies are.. but for christs sake, at this point its like running a story about how the nazi's weren't polite to jews. WE FUCKING KNOW

Re:Shut up (0, Troll)

Ethanol-fueled (1125189) | more than 4 years ago | (#31275632)

And enough rage-inducing articles like these may cause a few people to withdraw all of their money and put it in a credit union instead, like I plan to do when I get my tax refund(I can't transfer money I don't have). Or donate to the EFF or Wikileaks. The articles will have served their purpose with just 1 convert or donation.

Re:Shut up (5, Insightful)

spun (1352) | more than 4 years ago | (#31275694)

I really don't understand why anyone would bank with a big corporate bank instead of a credit union.

Re:Shut up (1)

BitterOak (537666) | more than 4 years ago | (#31275850)

I really don't understand why anyone would bank with a big corporate bank instead of a credit union.

FDIC

Re:Shut up (3, Informative)

pthor1231 (885423) | more than 4 years ago | (#31275914)

NCUA?

Re:Shut up (4, Informative)

treeves (963993) | more than 4 years ago | (#31275922)

NCUA : credit unions :: FDIC : banks

not a good reason

Re:Shut up (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31275968)

I really don't understand why anyone would bank with a big corporate bank instead of a credit union.

FDIC

What, NCUSIF not good enough for you?

Re:Shut up (2, Interesting)

Wyatt Earp (1029) | more than 4 years ago | (#31275952)

I quit going to credit unions because I got the worst service at the three I've tried. Terrible customer service, even with medium sized accounts (20-60k), terrible people working there, few ATMs, etc.

I find I get way better service at big banks like Wells Fargo or US Bank.

Re:Shut up (1)

spun (1352) | more than 3 years ago | (#31276104)

Really? I've had nothing but bad customer service from big banks, credit unions treat me like family. But the main thing is, big banks nickel and dime you to death trying to make a profit. Any profit made by a CU is split equitably between the owners, i.e., the customers, so they have no motive to screw you over financially like corporate banks do. With a corporate bank, you are paying them for them to lend out your money for their own profit. That seems pretty damn dumb to me, but to each their own, I guess.

As for the ATM issue, most CUs are a part of the CUanywhere network, and share ATMs without charging fees to other CU customers.

Re:Shut up (1)

Wyatt Earp (1029) | more than 3 years ago | (#31276200)

CUs I had bad experiences with were, one in South Dakota in the early 90s, one in Colorado in the mid 90s, and two in Oregon from 99-2004. Colorado and Oregon experiences are my three bad ones.

Re:Shut up (1)

spun (1352) | more than 3 years ago | (#31276296)

I suppose there are bad CUs out there, but the amount of bad customer service, not to mention the nickel and diming to death I've gotten from corporate banks, is just astounding.

Re:Shut up (1)

Khyber (864651) | more than 3 years ago | (#31276274)

"I find I get way better service at big banks like Wells Fargo"

I caught Wells Fargo restructuring my payments SIX SEPARATE TIMES in order to charge me with overdraft fees.

Plus wells Fargo has sued itself - you bank with WF you're a complete fucking moron.

Re:Shut up (1)

Jawn98685 (687784) | more than 3 years ago | (#31276474)

I quit going to credit unions because I got the worst service at the three I've tried. Terrible customer service, even with medium sized accounts (20-60k), terrible people working there, few ATMs, etc.

I find I get way better service at big banks like Wells Fargo or US Bank.

I've had just the opposite experience. So the point to our two provincialist arguments is, what? Right, non-existent. On the other hand, the business practices of the two institutions (banks and credit unions) are a measurable quantity, and the credit unions win hands down, in most cases. We've recently moved some of our accounts to a local bank and have found the customer service, features, and business practices that leave us with a clear conscience, so there are cases where a bank is a good choice, just not any of the major ones.

Re:Shut up (1)

ottothecow (600101) | more than 4 years ago | (#31276058)

If you have activities that don't require any personal interaction but instead benefit from having a vast array of web based features?

I have a bunch of bank accounts and citibank (the largest of the ones I use) definitely has the best website. Maybe I won't use them when I want to take out a loan or do some other activity where I would prefer to interact with a banker but for some online juggling of money they work great, especially since they are the only account I have that is able to initiate a "next day" ACH transfer to or from any of my other accounts (all my other accounts can only do standard 3-day ACH transfers if they support online external transfers at all).

Come to think of it, in the last couple of years when I have called citibank I have had remarkably short hold times and helpful, english speaking operators (most recently readily refunding a $39 fee without even asking why I thought they should remove it).

Of course this article is really about business accounts which are a completely different arena...I actually wouldn't be surprised if banks frequently reject business customers

Re:Shut up (1)

spun (1352) | more than 3 years ago | (#31276210)

My credit union, NMEFCU, has an absolutely amazing web site. What credit union web sites did you look at before you arrived at the conclusion that they wouldn't work for you?

Re:Shut up (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#31276402)

I have moved from my credit union to a bank with international branches...why? Because I live in a country that my CU deems a risk and I am constantly having my card and accounts blocked. There isn't any credible risk of the account actually being used fraudulently, it is because of some government list that ranks countries by risk (note, I am in the Middle East and not in a location forbidden to travel or do business in). When I challenged my CU on this they said they couldn't respond as to why other banks could continue to do business here but they would not be able to assist me any further. This is a CU that I have been with for over 13 years and I am quite disappointed in their response.

Re:Shut up (1)

Sir_Lewk (967686) | more than 4 years ago | (#31275702)

That's fine and dandy, but it's still not news for nerds.

Re:Shut up (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31275986)

MOD PARENT UP.

Insightful or informative, take your pick; re: the purpose of the article, or re: the existence of alternatives.

Re:Shut up (1)

Calydor (739835) | more than 4 years ago | (#31275708)

FIVE YEARS LATER:

Hmm, come to think of it, there hasn't been ANY new scandals about CitiBank for the past half decade. I guess they cleaned up their act, so they're probably safe to bank with now.

We only know what we know because it's something we see mentioned over and over again. Stop talking about it, and people will think things changed - or worse, new players in the game (ie. teenagers growing up) won't know there's a problem.

Re:Shut up (4, Insightful)

jjohnson (62583) | more than 4 years ago | (#31275938)

Surely there's a balance to be struck between flooding the Internet with minor ragefilter mishaps and real misconduct--organizations, especially large ones, are imperfect and make mistakes. A good place to draw a line would be whether or not more than one person is affected, and a bit of editorial judgment on whether it's a single incident or a corporate policy.

Re:Shut up (1)

atchijov (527688) | more than 3 years ago | (#31276090)

This is NOT story about some "little person" who gets his/here account cancelled. This is a story about bank censoring business because some one with power to cancel account does not like what this particular business doing. It does not matter what kind of business it is. The question is, unless business does something illegal, how is it bank's business to pass judgement?

we have to keep up a regular drumbeat (2, Insightful)

circletimessquare (444983) | more than 3 years ago | (#31276176)

because "we" DON'T know, for values of "we" outside the slashdot club

this is wide-open website, not a club with established agreements. as a media mouthpiece, slashdot has influence beyond the gated community of committed readers. this story is now amplified and continues to spread. that's a good thing

so these kinds of stories will never, and should never stop, as long as human beings are reading here and as long as they feel outraged at injustice, no matter how slight

Non-story (2, Insightful)

Danse (1026) | more than 4 years ago | (#31275560)

Bank does something inexplicable and/or dumb. Film at 11. They already unblocked the account and are doing a "review" of the site apparently. This will probably amount to nothing and they'll simply leave the account open. Wake me if something interesting happens.

Re:Non-story (5, Funny)

spun (1352) | more than 4 years ago | (#31275604)

Bank does something inexplicable and/or dumb. Film at 11. They already unblocked the account and are doing a "review" of the site apparently. This will probably amount to nothing and they'll simply leave the account open. Wake me if something interesting happens.

Wake you? No, I think we would rather draw a mustache on your face and put your hand in a bowl of warm water.

Re:Non-story (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#31276068)

They unblocked the account because a human actually objected.

And, there could be more to it than that.

I've already fired Citicorp after they spontaneously changed my mailing address to one that was close (numerically)
but non-existent (i.e., they "moved" me over one block to an address that simply doesn't exist). That resulted in my
not getting my routine credit card statement; fortunately a subsequent dun notice from them DID arrive ONLY because
my regular letter carrier sorted by name and ignored the incorrect house number. I wrote Citicorp a polite letter, clearly
pointing out their error, supplemented it with printout from the USPS web site that showed that their incorrect house number
was unknown to them (the USPS), and sent it by Certified Mail, Return Receipt Requested. They got it, and NEVER responded!

So much for Federal law.

A day later, I got a robot call requesting that I call them. I did, and I explained the situation and they said that they'd take
care of it, and I also made sure that my payment was submitted in full. They NEVER sent another statement showing
that the balance (which, BTW, was a paltry $50 or so on a credit line in the low thousands) had been paid off.

About six weeks later, I got a routine mailing stating that all of the credit card terms and conditions were being changed - i.e.,
the rates were going up, and various other charges were being introduced, but that I had the right to opt-out. I then sent a polite,
but pointed letter to the President of Citicorp's Credit Card operations (who had "signed" the mailing), documenting my previous
issues (and the fact that, no, they never did change my address nor did they issue another statement), and opting out.

THAT got a response from one of his executive assistants who responded with a polite and thorough response to each of
my points; I have the feeling that this guy (the e.a.) may've had a JD in his alphabet soup or one looking over his shoulder.
They have, so far, even agreed to my request to discontinue any further marketing mailings.

The fact that Citicorp got such a huge bailout from the US taxpayers when they needed it because they are "too big to fail"
just makes me sick. My grandfather is probably rolling in his grave because his company was First National City Bank's
first commercial customer, but the way Citicorp is treating its customers today is despicable. I have, of course, moved my
banking well out of their reach.

I can only surmise that Citicorp (and Bank of America and others) will continue to try and get away with as much of this sort
of behaviour as they possibly can until the American public puts a stop to it, either with Congressional/governmental action
or simply shifting their business elsewhere.

Poor Jeph Jacques (4, Funny)

Arancaytar (966377) | more than 4 years ago | (#31275682)

contained questionable content

What's wrong with being a webcartoonist?

Re:Poor Jeph Jacques (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31275758)

Have you ever met Randy Milholland? You'd never ask that question again.

Did this really happen or is it just marketing? (4, Insightful)

chiku (471300) | more than 4 years ago | (#31275692)

It could as well be a marketing ploy to get more eyeballs to the website. Did this really (I mean really???) happen. Can someone independent confirm this?

Not that it is a tech story anyways.

Idiot jumping to defence. (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31275920)

Idiot jumping to defence. Did you read "website owner". Did you read about WEBSITE contained "objectional content". Technology like WEBSITE HOSTING.

Now did you check the FA or did you just ignore that like the good corporate whore and defend them?

"Questionable content"??? (0, Redundant)

Zontar_Thing_From_Ve (949321) | more than 4 years ago | (#31275698)

Who knows what this means? Taco, seriously, did you even go to the site? There's nothing to be seen except the main blog post, so I don't know where you're getting this "contained questionable content" idea from. That may or may not be true.

I smell a big lawsuit... (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31275730)

In many jurisdictions, you aren't allowed to discriminate against fudge-packers. Apparently they have civil rights.

Since this blogger appears to be a legitimate business targeting the ass-bandit community, Citibank is looking at some liability.

Re:I smell a big lawsuit... (-1, Flamebait)

Beardo the Bearded (321478) | more than 4 years ago | (#31275848)

Yep, the bank may be a big evil corp, but the blogger has way more experience fucking someone in the ass.

Poorly chosen battle, CB.

Re:I smell a big lawsuit... (1)

Cro Magnon (467622) | more than 3 years ago | (#31276584)

Yep, the bank may be a big evil corp, but the blogger has way more experience fucking someone in the ass.

I see you're not experienced with citibank.

Re:I smell a big lawsuit... (-1, Flamebait)

TheCarp (96830) | more than 4 years ago | (#31276026)

Fudge packers have civil rights? Shit... when did they get them? Think that means everyone else wil get civil rights soon too?

Hmm (1)

Konster (252488) | more than 4 years ago | (#31275826)

A 4 page blog that appears to be new gets free hits for a non-issue, news at Eleven!

slashons or mordots? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31275880)

Where's the 'democrat' keyword? Come on, guys. Even brain-dead morons of slashdot should realize...oh, wait...brain-dead...yeah...

Couldn't they just have modded them "-1 Troll"? (3, Funny)

Dr_Art (937436) | more than 4 years ago | (#31275930)

Couldn't they just have modded them "-1 Troll"? :-)

Blacklisted (3, Informative)

Itninja (937614) | more than 4 years ago | (#31276030)

From TFA: "I promise you that if we do not get a good response to this on Thursday we are moving our bank account to a bank that respects and appreciates our business."

Yeah good luck with that. If a bank dumps you for what they decide to be 'questionable conduct', they usually communicate that with other banks. I would doubt he could get an account with anything other than a small community bank now...not that that's a bad thing.

Re:Blacklisted (2, Informative)

netruner (588721) | more than 3 years ago | (#31276222)

There seems to be a disconnect with "businesses" that make their living primarily off of a government license or special status. As we saw when they dissected the banking crisis, many "financial" businesses are quasi-governmental in nature and as such should have much less latitude to declare themselves "purely private" entities with freedom of choice.

Having said that, I do not believe that banks should have any latitude to deny service to anyone who is not causing a direct problem for the bank. (i.e. breaking laws that involve the bank, refusing info required to meet regulation, abusive to the staff, etc.) Most businesses operate this way - it's only when you get self-righteous employees involved that start to treat the business like they own the whole thing that you get nonsense like this. It is not the bank's place to discipline a business for conduct that is neither illegal nor causes problems for the bank.

Conspiracy theory nut...inside job? (2, Interesting)

Em Ellel (523581) | more than 3 years ago | (#31276070)

If you do not want to do business with someone there are better ways of handling this than locking someone's account without telling them.

The conspiracy theory nut in me wonders if there was the company CEO's buddy in CitiBank who was willing to part with their job in exchange for doing this. I mean, this is a godsend to a yet another social network site doomed to failure - to create news outrage among its target audience weeks before launch - you bet every gay rights group will be talking about this. You can't pay enough for this sort of a publicity.

-Em

Re:Conspiracy theory nut...inside job? (1)

frosty_tsm (933163) | more than 3 years ago | (#31276292)

Conspiracy theory nut...inside job?

Really? This is the title you're going to with this as your subject title considering what's being discussed?

link to anything questionable? (1)

Punto (100573) | more than 3 years ago | (#31276172)

I went to their blog, they just seem to sell t-shirts with the name of their site on them. Did anyone find any content that could be considered questionable? I was going to say "porn makers use banks too", but maybe they rape babies or something and I missed it.

OMG, a Slashvertisement! (1)

donovansmith (570177) | more than 3 years ago | (#31276182)

This is obviously a blatant attempt at advertising a small, obscure blog with no obvious purpose but to promote itself. Although it may be the first time I can ever recall a gay website being promoted this way here. Although a lot of us gays are geeks, the vast majority of geeks (like the general population) are straight. So a rather puzzling place to be marketing a gay website. Worst part is that I can't actually figure out why this Fabulis blog even exists. It seems to be selling branded merchandise and nothing else. And also show that gay guys can't speel, an emplacation I vary much resent.

Last I heard.... (1)

teeloo (766817) | more than 3 years ago | (#31276214)

there were at least 2 or 3 other banks out there who offer these things called "checking accounts" to all kinds of businesses.

Not a bad idea (1)

Your Anus (308149) | more than 3 years ago | (#31276342)

I canceled my Citibank account for the same reason.

I'm so out of touch... (1)

Dishwasha (125561) | more than 3 years ago | (#31276364)

when did Paypal buy Citibank?

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