Letters to the Editor for Sept. 6, 2006

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, September 5, 2006

Hidden bank charges still rampant

Dear Editor,

Since the inception of a banking process called &8220;Check 21&8221; bank and credit union transactions take place instantly.

This means that if you do not have the available cash for your debit card purchase, the purchase would be denied at point-of-sale.

Credit unions and banks have now managed to make those instant transactions not be so, and in doing so they have manipulated Check 21 to their advantage.

They can now charge large overdraw fees on debit purchases, instead of denying the transaction, just as they used to do it when we wrote checks instead of using debit cards.

My bank, America&8217;s First Federal Credit Union, now charges large overdraft fees and offers overdraft protection loans on debit card purchases.

These practices are unfair to the consumer, and Check 21 initially ended these unfair practices.

Please help me make credit unions and banks change the computer program back to denying the transaction when the money is not there, and to do it without a big unfair monetary fee.

It is particularly unfair of credit unions, they are member owned and operate tax free.

We need to contact our congressional representatives and tell them to make them stop this unfair gouging of people with the least money, while their administrators laugh all the way to the bank.

Ms. Robbie R. Kidwell


Traveler grateful for a stranger&8217;s kindness

Dear Editor,

I wanted to take this opportunity to applaud a group of men from your area who offered to help me several weeks ago on a hot August afternoon as I traveled from Monroeville to Birmingham.

Corky Alexander, his dad and another man stopped at a gas station at the 205 Exit about the time I did.

Realizing that my cell phone had not been charging, I went into the station to buy a new charger.

I asked one of them if he would help me retrieve it from its celluloid case. Soon afterward, realizing I was a senior citizen and noticing my frustration, they offered their assistance.

Being well aware of precautions with strangers, I just knew that these men were honorable.

After trying several unsuccessful procedures, Corky then decided that if our cell-phone batteries were compatible, he would just let me have his battery to take with me.

That was kindness enough, but he went a step further: The batteries didn&8217;t match, so he offered me his cell phone to take to Birmingham.

He realized that the sizzling heat, along with road construction, could pose a problem if I needed help on the road.

I think people like Corky Alexander and his father (and their friend) should be recognized.

My family could not believe their persistence in helping a stranger.

In my weekly column in the Monroe Journal that next week, I said, &8220;Now I can personally attest to the fact that in this present-day society of &8220;me-ism&8221; and egotistical pursuits, there are still &8216;a few good men.&8217;

Joel Alexander has to be one of them.&8221;

Mary B. Tomlinson