TIME TO TAKE OVER CITIBANK AMERICAN TAXPAYERS: DEMAND THAT OBAMA FORCE IT TO GIVE LOANS TO HELP HOME OWNERS AND WORKERS TAKE OVER BADLY RUN COMPANIES LIKE GENERAL MOTORS: (Pt. 2)
By Kevin Stoda in Germany
In Europe today, workers marched to protest the stealing and taking over of their countries resources by banks and corporations run by casino-like companies. In France workers are not afraid to takeover he firms and even kidnap the heads of companies that are mis-run.
In Canada workers are protesting and taking over factories being closed at a huge rate compared to what labor in the USA is doing.
Come on American Labor!!!! Demand your rights.
Take over Citicorp and other federally funded banks and institutions now.
American labor leaders need to stop wasting time. The time is ripe.
Citibank needs to start lending money to workers to take over their own firms and secure jobs.
Other financial institutions need to be forced by the federal government to start lending money—as was my campaign promise to America at the Iowa caucus 17 months ago.
Here is my story.
I know other Americans have experienced worse.
Here is a replay of my story—tell Obama you are ready to help run this firm, too.
CITIBANK AND ME (part 2)
By Kevin Anthony Stoda
First published in 2005-2006
ME AS VICTIM OF CITIBANK’S PREDATORY PRACTICES
Because my credit rating had been so good for over two decades, I managed to kid myself into running up debt on credit cards in the early part of this decade in the new Millennium. Worse still is the fact that I had managed to get myself involved with Citibank again, i.e. after having trouble with them in the 1980s when they “illegally’ bought out my student loan from HELP of Kansas. Worst of all is that I had gotten myself in a bad debt situation do to the company’s predatory lending practices.
Let me remind the reader that Citibank has a long and awful reputation of predatory lending policies in the USA and overseas dating back decades. As Jake Lewis has written: “Citigroup has invested tens of billions of dollars in schemes to peddle various financial products to low and moderate income families and persons with blemished credit histories.”
In my case, like a group of attack automobiles on a highway, Citibank has worked hand-in-hand with other agencies to squeeze me—as well as the other lower and upper middle class credit card users and loan-takers in the USA and in poorer lands.
In my case, in 2003 and 2004, Citibank and a pair of financial service organization ganged up on my credit rating first and then attacked my credit cards themselves, leaving me with debt frozen where it shouldn’t have been. Later, the pair of financial helper firms—one from Florida, the other from Texas– took me for rides, leaving me higher and higher in debt.
Here is how CITIBANK and cronies made me a victim of a hit and run debt program in the USA—even making it hard for me to return to my home state the USA at times over the past 5 years:
THE BAIT-AND-SWITCH ON ME
I had moved from Texas to Monterrey, Mexico to live and work in August 2002 as the job market for ESL instructors at the university level in the USA had fallen flat due to the after effects of 9-11. These aftershocks had led to many foreign students not coming to the USA to study during the subsequent years.
So, by February 2003 I had already been teaching at the University of Monterrey two semesters when I took the two-hour drive to the border at Laredo, Texas to go shopping. On the way, I decided that I might need a small increase of my credit limit on one of my credit cards as I did not plan to come back across the border for a several months. (One cannot make 1-800 phone calls from the Mexican side of the border to the United States.)
I made the horrible mistake of calling my customer service for my CITIBANK AADVANTAGE card, which is a credit card that gave me mileage on American Airlines.
As indicated above, I had never had any real credit trouble prior to 2002-2003, and I had been able to fly to South America and Europe free with my mileage points earned over the previous five years on the AAdvanatage Card and on my Delta Airlines American Express card. To tell the truth, until this episode, I had actually been pleasantly surprised and pleased by CITIBANK’S treatment of me. [Nonetheless, I had also planned to drop the CITIBANK AAdvantage card the previous year, but once I had moved to Mexico, it had become easier to just continue using the ones in the USA which I had in hand already.]
The main problem for me in 2003 as far as finances goes is that the Peso had had continuous devaluations totaling about 25 percent against the dollar over the previous year and a half, and I was indeed having trouble making large payments. Nonetheless, I still typically paid more than I owed on a card in any month so as to keep overall interest charges down. (Another problem in Mexico was the poor postal system—leading me to drive across borders on occasion just to send mail in the US, e.g. to pay mycredit card and student loan bills.)
As I came across the border in Laredo on Valentines Day 2003, I called Citibank AAdvantage and asked for a limit increase of about two hundred dollars on my credit card.
A pleasant voice told me, “We can do better than that. We can give you a thousand dollar limit increase.”
Pleased with the offer and that my credit rating was good enough for me to receive an offer like that so unexpectedly, I accepted the offer of a thousand dollar credit limit increase.
Sadly, without telling me by phone in Mexico or without even writing me a letter in February, Citibank administrators reneged on the credit increase within about seven days of making the increase available to me over the phone. That is, by the whim of some official at CITIBANK “my increased credit limit” of one-thousand dollars had disappeared–long before February 2003 was over.
I repeat: The obvious problem is that no one from CITIBANK had notified me of this change in my credit line!
Therefore, without knowing it for almost 2 ½ months, I continued to spend over my limit on my CITIBANK AAdvantage Card.
MORE SHENANIGANS BY CITIBANK
To make a long sad tale short, I must remind the reader that I didn’t become aware that CITIBANK had canceled my loan increase in February, of the reneging on their offer to me until after I had run up over two months of debt–based on their promise to give me a line increase of $1000 on credit.
By late April 2003, I was being asked to pay back about 650 dollars immediately.
By June, it was up to 1200 dollars—even though I had still continued to mail in a few hundred dollars to Citibank each month–, and I was definitely no longer using CITIBANK’s credit card.
In other words, most of what I was being asked to pay in these suddenly increased billing charges from CITIBANK was the direct result of penalties that CITIBANK had created for me in February, March and April when it had arbitrarily canceled the credit limit increase—less than one week after making me an unsolicited offer of $800 more than I had asked for on my visit to Laredo from Monterrey, Mexico.
This is the sort of predatory lending that Americans face each year from CITIBANK and friends in the USA. I wonder what arm-twisting it uses in other countries to pump up its profit?? I know that the average credit card interest rate in Mexico in 2003 was 30% a year.
Only, when I came back across the border to Laredo at the end of April did I find out though the phone call I made that I was in trouble, and that the credit limit increase had somehow disappeared from my CITIBANK records without anyone reporting this to me in a letter. [It should be noted that I still have never received a letter notifying me of such a decline of my requested credit increase. When I contacted the attorney generals of new York, South Dakota, Kansas, and Texas to investigate, CITIBANK could not produce to them or me such a letter dated February 2003 either.]
CITBANK’S SECOND BAIT AND SWITCH
Finally, seeking a settlement of sorts on that CITIBANK credit card, in late June 2003 I asked Citibank’s customer service over the phone how I could get all those penalties off my account.?? My debt on the card was by then running around $1300 on my most recent statement—with half or more of that debt being fines or late charges from CITIBANK.
I was promised with that phone call that if I sent a check of $1300, they would take off the penalties and get my account back to normal.
I subsequently borrowed the money from my family and sent that money in the mail in July to CTIBANK. However, near the end of July Citibank received my check for $1300, but decided to freeze and close out my credit card account the next day, instead of doing what I had been promised over the phone at the end of June.
By closing and freezing that recently paid $1300 on my CITIBANK account, I could not make the transfers to pay down two other credit cards in August. That had been my plan as of July 2003.
In short, in August when I returned to teach at the University of Monterrey I was forced to look for an extra teaching job immediately in order to pay off the other credit cards that month and to make ends meet in general.
THEN THINGS BEGAN TO SPIRAL DOWN HILL
So, by the beginning of August I was in real trouble. In Monterrey, I had to begin teaching night school at a Normal College for adults along with my day-time university load at the University of Monterrey, just to pay my mother back the $1300 dollars.
Naturally, for the rest of 2003 I focused on paying off family and other credit cards. This neglect of CITIBANK led to more penalties from Citibank in subsequent months as I saved and scrimped to keep my other credit cards from falling into trouble. [In previous years, I would have normally taken form the Citibank card to pay down debt on the other cards, but that option was closed off. I was still sending few dollars to CITIBANK whenever my budget would allow it.]
In short, I did well at paying down some of my other debt (including debt with family members), but I finally came to decide to leave Mexico and to move to Kuwait in January 2004, in order to get that stupid CITIBANK card and other debt matters in line.
In other words, I had become a third world debtor paying back Citibank.
CITIBANK STRIKES AGAIN
However, as I took part of my time in November and December to go over the border to the USA and began to consolidate my debt with the help of a company out of Florida, I would get another rude shock—again, too a great degree, caussed by CITIBANK.
The Florida debt-relief firm I was working with at that time had originally agreed to settle my debts with CITIBANK and all my other credit card recipients for payments of about $512 a month paid out over many years. (I agreed to this sum and even sent the initial $512 check to Florida to retain this debt relief agency’s services starting in early December.)
To my shock and distain, later in December 2003 CITIBANK notified this same debt relief agency in Florida whom I was working with that CITIBANK wanted me to pay an extra 33 dollars each month—for the second time in 2003 CITIBANK was arbitrarily increasing overnight by more than a thousand dollars. It had done so by reneging on its original offer to this Florida based debt relief firm.
I asked the Florida credit finance company to play hardball and tell CITIBANK that their actions of increasing my debt twice in the same year were based on illegal and fraudulent actions and claims. I told them I was not prepared to send the extra 33 dollars monthly to a bank that had purposely helped put me into a credit black hole.
The fact is that I just didn’t have any more money to spare. When my flight to Kuwait from Texas arrived on February 2, 2004, I had less than 65 dollars in my pocket. Moreover, I had long since cut up all of my credit cards.