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A Wal-Mart bank can help the poor

Letters to the Editor
Published February 4, 2007


A grim tale of banking lessons big and small, column Jan. 29

Regarding Robert Trigaux's column on the state of banking in the Sunshine State, I believe that the Goldilocks lesson that Mr. Trigaux missed is the underserving of the customers who are forced to use check-cashing service outlets. These working poor are denied accounts by most Florida banks, savings and loans and credit unions, so these working poor must cash their payroll checks at check-cashing centers at usurious rates.

Wal-Mart could help solve this lack of financial services for Florida's working poor, but needs a bank charter to do so. The banking industry has made it difficult for Wal-Mart to get this bank charter. Who suffers financially? Florida's working poor.

Michael Shu, Holiday


Reading assignment gives clues to mystery 

Money, homes are lacking Jan. 27

After reading James Thorner's story, it would be in the best interests of all bankers, the government and law enforcement to read Chapter 5 in the book Dance for the Dead by Thomas Perry. It sounds like the construction company read this chapter word for word and put it into operation with help from the bank.

I am afraid the bank or anybody else will discover the money will never be found.

Ray. E. Knoll, St. Petersburg


U.S. not as friendly now 

U.S. travel is an expensive hassle, letter Jan. 28

My experience is virtually identical to that expressed in Angus Strachan's letter. I have been visiting the United States about three to four times a year for more than 35 years.

When my wife and I arrived in Atlanta for an onward connection to Tampa last November, it took us 11/2 hours to clear Immigration. There were about 150 visitors and two Immigration officers on duty. The result was that most of us missed our connections and we had to spend the night in Atlanta. On returning to the U.K. in December, I noted that we had 10 immigration officers on duty for visitors, and they were taking about 10 minutes to clear.

On arriving at my Dunedin condo, which I have owned for seven years and made no changes, I found that my property tax had increased by 49 percent and property insurance by about 100 percent since last year.

I have no problems with U.S. Immigration procedures; in fact, I endorse them. And the people of Florida are as friendly and helpful as they have always been. But the message I am getting is obvious and I will probably be selling my condo next year. I will be looking for more visitor-friendly places to spend my vacations.

Alan Farrell, Lewes, England


The high cost of being a snowbird

Insurance hits snowbirds hard

I believe "snowbirds" have a great impact on Florida's economy. Yet little has been published on how the steep increases in taxes and insurance affect us.

My wife and I are retired and have been migrating to Florida for the winter months for 16 years. We usually stay three to four months. The first five years we rented, and in 1996 we purchased a one-bedroom condo. Over the years we have contributed greatly to Florida's economy, enjoying restaurants and golf, and making renovations to our condo. Just last year we had hurricane-proof windows installed at a cost of $9,000.

For several reasons we choose to continue to be residents of Michigan. The taxes on our condo have increased to more than four times what they were when we purchased our place. Moreover, the insurance on our condo has been canceled at least five times, despite our never making a claim. The last time we were with Southern Family Insurance Co., which was purchased by Poe Financial. Poe went bankrupt and we most likely will never recover our premium. We are now with Citizens.

You have to be an insurance lawyer to understand the way any of our policies were written. We feel like we just flush our money down the toilet when it comes to insurance in Florida. Now it seems we are being double-dipped since our condo fees just increased by $70 per month because of the rising cost of insurance on our building. If things don't change soon, we will have to find a new place to "snowbird."

William C. Blomme, South Pasadena


[Last modified February 3, 2007, 19:36:09]

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