The Aug. 22 Business article about U.S. Bank’s efforts to help the “underbanked” provided a fascinating contrast with the Aug. 21 “60 Minutes” segment on the financial technology (fintech) revolution.
Fintech is reinventing almost every aspect of banking by providing online transactions between parties without any bank’s intervention. Stripe, the fintech company featured in the “60 Minutes” segments, is just one of many such firms that have quickly joined the “revolution.” Fintech will be to banking what e-mails are to the U.S. Postal Service.
Contrast no-bank transactions with the banking industry’s “safe debit account” products and their $4.95 monthly maintenance fees. Without regular additional deposits, those fees will reduce the customer’s $25 minimum deposit to 25 cents in five months.
Perhaps the headline should have been “U.S. Bank helps itself to the underbanked.” If it were to be successful in opening these accounts for the 223,000 Twin Cities households that operate partly or completely outside the mainstream banking system, monthly income (mandatory maintenance fees) would exceed $1 million. With that kind of additional income, perhaps the bank could put its name on the soon-to-be soccer stadium.
Michael Bates, Ham Lake
Bill bundling, procrastination are baked into a bad cake
Finger-pointing does not correct flawed policy and institutional practices (“A sorry finish to unproductive session,” Aug. 20).
The Star Tribune has had a number of articles about the 2016 legislative sessions, which sadly neglected to cover long-standing legislative use of omnibus bills and last-minute introductions of vital bills affecting everyday Minnesotans. Omnibus bills create an environment of brinkmanship instead of collaboration and compromise. Minnesota’s Constitution was designed for bills to be heard individually rather than heard through omnibus legislation. Each transportation project should be introduced and voted on, based on its merits and its needs individually. Then the author of the proposed legislation would have to seek co-authors and be willing to be open to negotiation and compromise (which, as we have seen, is missing at the State Capitol).
Second, bills should be heard throughout the session and not within the last three days of the legislative year. Both political parties have been guilty of utilizing omnibus bills and end-of-session bills as political leverage on the minority party.
I would urge the Star Tribune to embrace these recommendations and, further, to require candidates running for office to agree in writing to never again use end-of-session bill introductions and to end the use of omnibus bills.
Lee Leichentritt, Minneapolis
PIPELINE ‘RED TAPE’
In which normal people are painted as extremists
What a surprise: Three people who would have benefited from the Sandpiper pipeline are complaining about red tape in the regulation process in Minnesota (Opinion Exchange, Aug. 22). They trotted out arguments that have long been debunked. Like the one about the “need to move oil,” as if Bakken oil is piling up, waiting for pipelines, when it is already sufficiently being shipped via pipelines. Or the one about Enbridge’s “millions of tax dollars,” which are, in fact, dwarfed by revenue and sales taxes from Minnesota’s multibillion-dollar tourism industry (which would be threatened if Enbridge’s plan were approved). Or the one about “thousands of well-paying jobs,” which is verifiably untrue. Even Enbridge admits that there would be about 800 jobs — and that those would last a couple of years at best. (By the way, the renewable-energy sector offers plenty of blue-collar jobs, all over the state. Oil isn’t the only energy employer.)
If you were to meet one of the “anti-development extremists” that the writers want to “root out,” you’d find that it’s someone like your grandma, a favorite high school teacher or a conservation officer. We are just concerned citizens who want new pipeline routes to be carefully studied, not rubber-stamped as they have been in the past, before we all knew better. The system is working exactly as it should. Minnesota is justifiably taking a close look at a pipeline route that was drawn to benefit Enbridge alone.
Janet Hill, McGregor, Minn.
Dan Patch can stay dormant, and we’ll all be happier
An Aug. 22 letter writer is asking to end the moratorium on Dan Patch Line discussions. I say “let a sleeping dog lie.” Folks, we’re not talking about light rail here. The Dan Patch proposal of old was for a noisy, diesel-powered engine to pull rail cars through our neighborhoods. When this silly idea first surfaced, the studies showed that freeway traffic would be reduced by 2 percent to 4 percent. Wow, would that ever make a noticeable difference!
The letter writer is a student, who presumably pays no, or little, income tax. He also is likely not aware that the original proposal would require a new railroad bridge over the Minnesota River and that the Canadian Pacific Railway would not pay for it; we taxpayers would foot the bill.
Robert Malby, Edina
If Clinton Foundation would be utterly specific, then we’d know
It would remove all the angst of the public, and Republicans in particular, and neuter all the conspiracy theories, if the Clinton Foundation would publicly disclose how much money it has received from whom, itemize how much money has been spent on its charitable projects, disclose and itemize how much money has been given to individuals working for the foundation, and let everyone know how much money has been spent on transportation, equipment and other expenses relevant to maintaining the organization. Ahh … but that would be transparency.
Does anyone honestly believe that despotic regimes and wealthy donors are going to continue giving money to the Clinton Global Initiative if Hillary Clinton is rendered politically impotent by her loss in the election in November?
Bob Hageman, Chaska
Honesty is, yes, the best policy
The Ryan Lochte incident should be a teaching moment for parents of children of all ages. Teach them to always tell the truth the first time so they don’t have to continue to make up stories to cover the first lie. Lochte will find it hard for anyone to believe anything he says in the future until he regains trust in telling the truth the first time.
Jim Glover, Plymouth
Sorry, it verked for me
To the writer of the Aug. 21 letter “Mocking Vänskä’s accent was not cute, it was uncool”: Please, the use of “verking” instead of “working” in an Aug. 14 article was not slamming Osmo Vänskä but appreciating him. I feel this way because my mother emigrated from Yugoslavia when she was a teenager. She learned English while in the U.S. To this day, my siblings and I would imitate her pronouncing “vegetables” as “wegetables” with love in our hearts for our dear mother who cared for us. By the way, I just retired from ushering for the Minnesota Orchestra for 26 years. So I think I am aware of the warm relationships that the musicians and city have for Osmo’s leadership. I just got tired of “verking.”
Clementine Scott, Bloomington