In the last six weeks, the Citi Bike has become an omnipresent New York City character, appearing on a New Yorker cover, landing a supporting role with Leonardo DiCaprio's e-cigarette, and causing a Wall Street Journal board member nearly to burst into angry, elitist flames over the pernicious "all-powerful bike lobby."
Remember credit default swaps? AIG? Hopelessly entangled exotic financial instruments tied to esoteric asset valuations that caused cascading defaults in 2008 and threatened to tank the global financial system unless taxpayers ate all the losses? Remember how we reformed Wall St. to make sure that never repeated itself? Someone tell Goldman Sachs, JPMorgan, and Morgan Stanley, because they've teed the whole damn thing up again, this time in Europe.
Be sure to send a congratulatory greeting card and $5 to your friend Bank of America, which has just posted third-quarter profits higher than last year's. About $6.23 billion! Not a bad showing. However, J.P. Morgan Chase & Co. has surpassed them in assets, so those upcoming debit card fees are still necessary if you want Bank of America to stay in business and keep producing jobs.
Let's not jump to conclusions about this video, which (at about a minute in) shows a woman dressed in a business suit, carrying her Citibank checkbook, trying to leave her bank only to be dragged back inside and arrested by a plainclothes NYPD officer.
Not to be outdone by Bank of America's rank avarice, Citibank announced today that it's raising monthly fees for checking accounts—doubling them, in fact, for its mid-level option—and bumping up the minimum balances. They're basically looking at their customers, identifying the ones who have the least amount of money, and charging them more.