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     By: Tanya
    My bank went belly-up Sunday, 30 September 2007 19:51

    I found out this morning while trying to log into the NetBank web site that my bank of almost 10 years failed and was taken over by the FDIC. This was somewhat disconcerting.

    When I first signed up with them (way back when they were still known as Atlanta Internet Bank) they were offering some pretty cutting edge online features for the time, which I was very interested in -- I even wrote a paper about online banking for a class in the early 90s. Plus their interest rates were fabulous! Over time though, their interest rates eroded along with apparently their business. The sub-prime loan debacle is being touted as a major reason, but other problems such as "poor documentation" were cited -- at a bank?!? Ugh, scary, as is the report that this was the largest US bank failure since the end of the S&L crisis in the early 1990s. It seems this had been brewing for a while, and I'm embarrassed to say I had no idea (I"m usually pretty anal about these things, especially financial). This timeline of the rise and fall: netbanktimeline.html is pretty interesting.

    ING Direct has picked up the insured (thank you FDIC!) NetBank accounts, and insured funds should be accessible through all usual means for the time being (ATM, checks, etc.) which is a relief. However, the time that the website is due to be open again for transactions keeps getting pushed back -- first 5pm today, then 7pm today, then 11pm today...hmm. I was concerned whether my Amex bill payment had gone through since it wasn't shown as deducted from my account balance, but Amex already received it. I actually already have an ING savings account due to their previously fabulous interest, but their 'checking' account doesn't offer actual checks so I can't see keeping my 'checking' money there. Don't get me wrong, I'm an online girl as much as possible, but sometimes you really need to write an actual check right away, not wait for it by mail or whatever.

    Fortunately I already have a free checking account with Washington Mutual, since I always found it advantageous to have a local checking account. It comes in handy on those occasions when you need something bank-related the same day, like a bank/certified check. And it turns out their savings account, when linked to a checking account, yields 5% -- more than I was getting at NetBank or that I'm getting at ING. Maybe there's hope for brick-and-mortar banks yet...