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Introduction to Banking

What interest rates does your current bank pay? Are you leaving significantly more money in your checking account than you need to pay the monthly bills? Do you know where the best interest rates are for a money market account? Have you checked out the possibilities of online banking? Do you know where to find a list of local ATMs that won't charge you any fees? Do you know the difference between APY and APR?

"Hey, hey, wait a second," you're saying. "I just innocently clicked over to this area to find out a little bit about my bank. I didn't expect the Spanish Inquisition." Well, as others more comedically talented than ourselves have pointed out before, nobody expects the Spanish Inquisition. But perhaps it's time that you put yourself through the third degree. What's going on in the banking industry today shows that most consumers are not giving their banking behavior much, if any, inquiry -- and the consequences are significant. Just as brokers, credit card companies, the mutual fund industry, and car dealers have been preying on consumers who don't know the rules of the game, banks are counting on their customers not doing even the least little bit of homework before opening an account.

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