Marriott Workers Struggle to Pay Bills, and Credit Union Fees

At the Marriott credit union, with unusually high fees, service workers find further stress on thin paychecks while better-paid employees get deals.

Comments: 89

  1. Open borders = too many unskilled workers = low pay for US born natives and citizens. Just like rapacious large companies want it.
    I guess paying slave wages is not enough for some of these big companies. They need to then participate in the theft of the low paid workers earnings in the form of banking fees. All while the higher paid company executives receive discounted and subsidized banking services at their credit union.

  2. Why the high fees?

    Because: $$$$$!

  3. There's been a lot of hand wringing over payday lenders and the outrageous profits they make. But overdraft advances are the bank/credit union direct equivalent of payday loans, and get scant attention. Let's compare:

    A payday lender advances a small amount of money, and the customer signs an agreement allowing his paycheck to be garnished. He's charged no interest, but rather a flat dollar fee for the transaction. This skirts truth in lending and usurry laws. When the note comes due, the payday lender scoops repayment directly from the check of the borrower, so repayment is pretty well assured. The borrower is now out the original loan amount, plus the fee, and will likely need to repeat.

    A bank or credit union also make cash advances. Except that they don't need a repayment agreement, because the customer will have direct deposit and will have long ago agreed to accept automatic overdrafts. So it functions the same way. For some reason, this is more acceptable that a payday loan, even though the borrower has even less control.

    When bank/CU overdrafting is discussed as an issue, it's usually because the bank has restacked withdrawals to maximize overdrafts, not because the entire process is unfair and usurious. These are the most profitable loans made by banking institutions, and do more to support the branch banking system than car loans or mortgages. And the borrowers are inevitably the least wealthy customers.

  4. @Mike: OR....don't write bad checks.

  5. @Mike Absolutely correct analysis. And being poor creates a "time deficit" also as the sheer number of hours used for daily life that middle class people do not use in the same way. Simple example: grocery shopping for most with an adequate paycheck is a once a week experience most of the time. Not so for the poor, whose paycheck will often not cover an entire week's groceries. Using the bus instead of a car may sound economical, but when you count the hours and deal with the issue of child care, it is often not. Doubly so if your pay is docked for being five minutes late.

  6. Everyone can opt out of overdraft fees. One time in my life I wrote a check and it wasn’t cashed for months and I totally forgot about it. The overdrafts added up quickly. It was my own fault but it’s also outrageous to charge hundreds in overdrafts.

    Now no one has to deal with it. Just opt out of it.

    Lower income people can trapped in this cycle when they deal with banks or credit unions unfortunately.

  7. I still belong to the Star One Credit Union, established for Lockheed employees, 26 years after leaving Lockheed for a better job, and 7 years after moving out of California to Phoenix where there are no branches. Why? Because it is the best banking institution imaginable, with the best service, best attitude toward customers, and best terms and conditions.

  8. All of these employees had to opt-in to overdraft protection in compliance with federal law. Any one of these employees could have declined it. But, unsurprisingly, personal responsibility is not mentioned anywhere in this piece. While certainly not highly paid, a husband and wife making the money mentioned in this piece would have an average to above average household income. While the expense for Netflix is less than $10/month according to this article, if you are paying overdraft fees, you can't afford it. The Marriott Employees' Federal Credit Union offers totally free share draft accounts according to their website (the only requirement being that your entire paycheck is deposited into the account). I thought that free checking was supposed to be a good thing.

    Sadly, as my late father told me many years ago, "Poor people have poor ways".

  9. Your father must have been a truly unpleasant person. Who on earth says “poor people have poor ways?” One who’s never been poor. When I read that, I actually threw up in my mouth a little bit. That comment shows a truly disturbing lack of understanding how a poor person lives. Please go and volunteer at a soup kitchen and talk to a few and find out how impossibly hard life is when you’re poor. This from one relatively wealthy person to one, likely in the same position. People are poor because our society has deemed it OK to keep people that way.

  10. Marriot is one of the worst corporations in the world. They are so greedy, their services are horrible and no one should be tempted to use them for anything. Now they are on to calling and calling and calling but they do not pay any attention to blocked numbers. THey must be making more enemies than they already have.

  11. This is a disgusting view of Marriott. Top management should be ashamed. I would suggest trying a different hotel chain to patronize, but the system is probably rigged at other companies as well, with the senior executives enriching themselves and the average worker getting hurt.

    This story also demonstrates that while the news is real, our national “prosperity” is fake. Even as their hours and weekly compensation decline, these people are still counted as full-time workers and wrapped into the government’s monthly employment figures. You have to wonder how many of those new jobs actually carry with them a living wage.

  12. Consumer education is essential. Individuals with frequent rock-bottom balances should not authorize automatic payments, no matter how small, because the timing seldom coincides with their deposits.

    Marriott could institute a basic education program, but why do that when exploiting the poor is so much more profitable?

    Non-profits are rapidly becoming vehicles for exorbitant salaries and benefits for a selected few. This is shameful.

  13. @Hipolito Hernanz: life there are no kindly folks to explain everything and protect you from your own bad instincts.

    When I was young, I bounced a few checks -- got slammed with fees -- learned the hard way "don't do that again".

  14. Why the high fees? Do you really have to ask? Do the words "untrammeled greed" ring any bells? Perhaps "exploitation" will resonate?

    I know, ask Mick "The Razor" Mulvaney, who has taken on the job of destroying the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau from the inside - because he and Fearless Leader are just brimming with compassion for the little guy. Just ask, Mick will tell ya all about it. Just stay clear of that blade.

  15. Marriott workers don't need payday loans when their employer is ready willing and able to exploit them - for a fee - of course

  16. These people need to stop using their debit card like a credit card and just go get a credit card. Then they wouldn't have so many overdraft fees.

    The thing with credit cards is that as long as you pay the balance off every month there's no fees. And even if you don't pay it off the interest is going to cost you far less than a $35 overdraft fee on every little purchase. Now, sure, you could just do a better job of keeping track of your bank balance so you never overdraft but that's not easy to do when you're making 30-50 point-of-purchase transactions per month plus you've got automatic payments from various subscriptions occurring at random times.

  17. @Bill Have you ever tried to get a credit card with the type of employment described in the article? There are also very high interest rates on credit cards that can very quickly trap a person into even more debt. They are no solution.
    Using cash and not a debit card can help, until the moment you have no money for the groceries and then you use the debit card to get the groceries. Or pay the electric bill so the lights don't get turned off, leaving you with no way to keep food safe or cook, nor for lights for your children to study. etc etc.

    The blunt reality is that these people are earning too little money and until that issue is solved, being poor will often mean both you and your children are likely to remain poor. And, please, don't point to the exceptions to that reality to dismiss this fact.

  18. @Bill If they were in the position to pay the balance every month, they probably wouldn't be over-drawing their account.

    Don't know if it is Times readers or just a more general problem, but people here have no idea of what life is like for the working poor. None.

  19. Another successful Mite Romney enterprise. Remember The Sports Authority? Boycott Marriott. I did. While capitalism is blight in this country there are better choices out there.

  20. Some companies take pride in the well-being of their workers. Others exploit them. I guess we know which one Marriott is.

  21. If Marriott is worse than other major hotel chains in these practices, could it be related to the political leanings of the corporate management? The Marriott family are of course devout members of the LDS Church, and are politically conservative. Should we expect anything else from an organization that reliably always has Fox News showing in the frequent guest lounge?

  22. Credit unions offer free checking, and often are the only insured depository institutions accepting deposits from low income individuals. But you have to understand, and play by the rules. Tax exemption, the bane of bankers, should convey lower fees and loan rates for members. Overdrafts seem to be most common with those who live paycheck to paycheck, but just how do you live today on these low salaries that also vary week/week when hours are cut. Representation on the board might help, but the problem is bigger: virtually stagnant income for 30+ years.

  23. Why wouldn't the customers go to another credit union in their area? There isn't a reason to stay on with them.

  24. @anon
    Easy for you to say. These are people who have fewest the resources of any of our fellow citizens, but they're supposed to behave like educated, sophisticated investors?

  25. @anon Many credit unions can only legally serve a particular "group" defined either by employment or some formal association (academic, for example). You can only join if you fit that category. While there are community based credit unions, they tend to be in more rural or small town areas. That type of credit union has been increasing for the past 15-20 years, but most large cities would be a very tough place for one to operate.

  26. Most of these anecdotes strike me as simply poor or nonexistent financial discipline by the individual. You regularly experience a short month - build up a emergency fund - $10/week and viola you have a 500 emerg fund within a year. Eliminate high Overdraft fees by not having overdraft protection and quit making overdrafts.

    The reason why lower paid employees don't get lower rates is that they simply earn less and are more subject to default than their higher paid brethren - a credit union can't suspend or magically make the rules of basic credit go away.

    Credit unions are not magic - if you are a high risk - cheque bouncing - no budget making hourly person then it is going to be expensive to bank you and your fees will reflect that reality.

  27. @SteveRR. if bread is too expensive they can always eat cake.

  28. Save $10 a week? What meal or medicine do I cut out?

  29. @SteveRR You obviously have no idea what it is like to be working poor. No, they can't just skip a movie and take that $10 for their emergency fund. For many years whenever I managed to save a few cents, some emergency would come along and I'd have to spend it. When the next emergency happened, I had to charge it and that usually took the $10/week I desperately tried to save.

  30. Guess where I will no longer be staying?

  31. The CEO Newton is in dire need of media training. What clueless, laughable messaging from a formerly-respected enterprise.

  32. Thank you for exposing Marriot’s ‘Back of House’ management practices.

    Years ago I stayed at the Hilton Charlotte NC and the lovely young woman cleaning my room had no front teeth. I often think about her situation. There was obviously not enough Health and Dental insurance to go around at Hilton Worldwide Holdings Inc.

    Consumers need to be made aware of conditions on the ground for the employees who serve them. We do not have enough information to make a responsible choice when we book accomodation... or consume any services for that matter. When I buy a piece of clothing, I wish I could scan the label code on my smartphone and send money to the person who actually made the garment. Imagine the impact that could make on a whole country.

    Tripadvisor, are you listening? How about another line showing how the employees at the hotel you are choosing rate their employer?

    Choose wisely when you book your next hotel room and be generous with your tip for the housekeeper, especially if you need to travel in the US.

  33. It’s not that easy to move. It’s expensive for one thing. And leaving a support network might be more trouble.

  34. Moving is a one time expense that can be done cheaply. A support system is helpful but becomes less necessary, or takes on a different role when your savings account grows exponentially along with a full refrigerator.

  35. If your wages are low and unlikely to improve, it’s the height of irresponsibility to have kids or even a spouse?

  36. As the folk song "16 Tons" puts it - 'I owe my soul to the company store'. The Marriott company is on thin ethical ice here, effectively using fees from their low paid workers to support a service for their executives and high paid employees. They should be ashamed.

  37. Perhaps we should boycott Marriott because of the way a gold-star hotel group treats its employees shabbily.

  38. Why do we STILL have to suffer from banks forcing everyone to use a checking account for so many transactions? These accounts are set up for people to fail - easy to overdraft, a challenge to balance. But it’s a challenge or impossible to use a savings account for withdrawals and debit cards—because then there won’t be any fees to charge.

    Add in the fact that you can’t pay a bill during the weekend - but you can certainly be late if you miss a weekend due date. And we are all limited to moving money electronically to 6 times a month! Where is the oversight on this? What is with the archaic regulations? Where is anything to help the consumer?! Obviously the banks are writing the regulations and handing out checks to politicians (from all the fees, obviously) to keep the status quo.

  39. @Lantern rouge Vote out the Republicans, that is what we can do!

  40. What bank do you use? I have a hundred or more electronic transactions every month. Savings accounts have a different status by Federal law. Withdrawals have a different process because the Feds by design made it a little more cumbersome. Still, you can go to any ATM of your bank to move money for free from your savings to your checking account. You can pay your bill on the weekend and not see the debit against your account till next business day or later. You simply have to go to the biller’s web page accessible by any Internet connection including the free ones at the public library. You will get a confirmation that shows credit on calendar day, not business day.

    The 21st Century has many more powerful ways to manage your financial health than thought possible even as near as 20 years ago. Still power freely given can hurt you if you do not use it correctly. A power mower is a great tool until you violate every safety protection and hurt yourself.

  41. History repeats itself. It is a version of what happened in America in the late 1880s to early 1900s with de facto slave labor and big corporate fat cats.

    Now there is a bit of a lifeline with unemployment benefits, food stamps etc. but it is being played over again with workers not getting livable wages/conditions while fat cats get richer and richer and enjoy corporate welfare.

    From app.1945 to app. 2000 it was the reverse, workers and unions getting fat and lazy and corporations finding it hard to make a profit especially in the automotive industry.

  42. Either the person has to change his/her spending habits or change to a higher paying job. I do not see other alternative to soften the situation. From business perspective, Marriott will do as little as possible to help employees. Employees have to help themselves by control their own spending & watch their credit union balance like a hawk. Good luck.

  43. @Usok
    The problem is there are no higher paying jobs, even in big citeis like Houston. Hourly wage earners have been cut out of our concerns, but there is much to be concerned about when working people can not make ends meet no matter what they do, no matter how thin they slice their tomato they stll have just one tomato.

  44. The problem is minimum wage is not enough for any worker to live on. Wage slavery needs to be outlawed.

  45. @Usok
    It’s so easy for someone earning a comfortable income to be critical of the poor financial decisions of people who are struggling to manage their lives on low wages. Unfortunately our consumer culture lures even the poorly-paid to overextend their meager incomes on non-necessary expenditures.

  46. When the wealthy are taxed at a higher rate, it's called "soaking the rich."

    But the poor in this society are "soaked" on a daily basis as they get nickled and dimed at every turn, paying higher fees for having less money, higher insurance for less coverage, higher replacement and repair costs for the low-quality products that can be afforded, greater health issues due to a lower standard of living.

    There is less access to education to spur social mobility, which is almost impossible when so many live paycheck-to-paycheck and can't save anything.

    But taxing the wealthy more to help the least fortunate is somehow bad because it is a "redistribution of wealth."

    Anyone who earns over a million a year, even if taxed at an extreme of 90% (and "earn" is a questionable term when there are hedgefund managers who rake in $2Billion some years) still pockets -- at minimum -- $100,000, and if you can't live on that then you need to learn how to manage a budget.

  47. @D.A.Oh Why do you feel entitled to 90% of someone's income?

  48. The nation that provided the opportunity to acquire such wealth is entitled to 90% in order to maintain a nation that will continue to provide such opportunities. The billionaires will still be very very rich.

  49. "Roughly $2,000 of it was spent on an especially frequent expense: fees on his checking and savings accounts at the Marriott Employees’ Federal Credit Union.The fees came in increments like $6 and $10 — minimum-balance fees, excess-transaction fees, automatic money-transfer fees. On occasion, they were joined by that pooh-bah of personal finance charges, the overdraft fee, at a hefty $35."

    All of these fees are easily avoidable. The problem is the lack of individual understanding about how to optimally set up account(s). Education is what's needed here.

    Financial stewardship is a fundamental life skill for every single person, regardless of income or wealth. No one is spared this task. It needs to be taught early and practiced daily, but since many don't receive this life skill from parents who themselves weren't taught, the best social programs fill these gaps. In this case though since the credit union is Marriott's own in-house operation, how well are they attempting to educate their employees? How well are they succeeding?

  50. @Hmm...try living on less than you need for the most basic living expenses - food, shelter, healthcare. It’s a juggling act that can catch even the most cautious cafeful among us - it is designed to do just that. It is a sneaky way to take advantage of people.

  51. Thank you NYT for covering the struggles of hourly wage workers in the United Staes today. I support Marriott workers in their struggle for basic fairness on the job - and Marriott should be committed to retain its full-time workers at full time pay.
    This article points to the struggle workers have as hours are cut, even as workplace staffing remains the same through use of temporary staff. The low wage that many hourly workers are paid too contributes-mightily to their financial vulnerability.
    What isn’t discussed here is how much are Marriott executives paid? It amazes me that high labor costs allegedly necessitate using temp workers when executives earn more than 300 times the hourly wage (on average). The executive suite is the first place to look to reduce costs, and until we do, we can expect to see more unjust steps as were discussed here.
    And the article rightly points out too that credit unions are not-for-profit companies, so why are they charging the same over draft fees that big banks do? This only strengthens the call for Nation Postal Banking, where people can obtain basic services at minimal costs and maximum convenience.

  52. Credit Unions and banks aren’t charities! They’re not here to babysit adults who can’t manage their own finances. You pay for the services you use. You pay overdrafts for the bank to pay for the purchases you make without having any funds! It’s mind blowing to me that people think they shouldn’t be charged fees for having the bank cover their transactions, that they should be rewarded for not being responsible with their finances. I don’t understand these type of people. Grow up and take responsibility. When I got out of high school and was making about 12k a year I never went negative and if I didn’t like the bank I was with I looked for a different bank.

  53. I imagine you have no problem with loan sharks either.

  54. @Aaron Kravuss you knew you were going to make $12K a year if you showed up every required day and worked all day. These people do not know this. In this, 'work only when we need you' world of theirs, they could be the most self-sacrificing, frugal people on earth but this would still catch up with them.

  55. Strange the article seems to focus more on the downstream effects rather than the root cause. Think it's got it flipped. Credit union fees are a side effect of hours getting reduced. Nothing about the credit union fees seems unreasonable to me. How could a non-profit credit union stay afloat if the high-risk individuals who don't pay their bills on time got free credit? It would be underwater! In fact, these folks are lucky they have a credit union, per this article, as payday loans would otherwise have charged them even worse rates!

  56. The author here, Nam Scheiber, fundamentally has no idea what an overdraft is.

    It's PUNISHMENT for bouncing a check (or debit charge).

    It's like a bad check.

    If the execs at Marriott wrote bad checks, I'll bet they would be fined the same way.

    Are you arguing now that "poor folks should be able to bounce checks with impunity"? because without fees....they'd write bad checks ON PURPOSE and get away with it.

  57. @Concerned Citizen -- For a non-profit, one would expect the "fine" to bear some relationship to the cost of services. When overdraft fees at my commercial bank were raised to $35, there was considerable backlash, specifically on these grounds. Some of the other fees listed in the article seem very questionable: for example, excess transaction fees are a feature of -restricted- accounts (a money-market account), and even then my commercial bank sends me a warning before imposing a fee if I repeat the offense.

  58. @Concerned Citizen, even if “overdraft protection” is turned off, at many financial institution, it is not turned off for recurring automatic payments! If permitted by the vendor, a credit card rather than a checking account debit card should be used instead! A temporary suspension of that Netflix subscription suspension would be far, far preferable to a $36 overdraft fee for a $11.50 monthly subscription charge! Unfortunately, this option is obviously not available for that required automatic rent payment or credit card minimum payments!

  59. There are many Pennsylvania credit unions (usually affiliation is no longer required to become a member-owner in a state chartered credit union) so the best bet is to find a better credit union to join.

    Here in the Northwest, none of the state chartered credit unions charge minimum balance or excessive transaction (whatever that means) fees. I have no idea what is going on with Pennsylvania credit unions but Marriott Credit Union cannot be the only "reasonable" option.

    Of course, if Marriott payed its workers a living wage for the area they live in and gave everyone decent benefits, that would help even more.

  60. @vacciniumovatum

    These tax free organizations have outlived their intended purposes to serve the little guy.

    Apparently the Marriott Employees' FCU is in place to soak the little guy and reward the fat cats.

    The author didn't carry the article far enough.

    Many CU's are Billion dollar enterprises with the management that run them paid in the millions of dollars annually.

    As 'non profits" they are supposed to make available in a federal filing their employees that make over $100K annually but at a few that I have looked at they do a good job of hiding that.

    These large enterprises that do not pay taxes should be given a five year window with the order assigned by a drawing that should remove their tax free status and force them to become for profit tax paying enterprises.

    At a glance Marriott Employees' FCU is not in the Billion asset class, but $192,000,000 with a net worth of just under $21,000,000.

  61. Before we blame the credit union or Marriott, let's look to ourselves first. When we need to book a hotel next time, are we going online and try to find the beat possible deal available? We're looking for savings and Marriott has to compete by lowering prices. It reduces cost to do that. Employees hours get cut thus lowering income. Without the ability to manage their expenses effectively, employees resort to borrowing mini loans and write checks with insufficient account balance that carried overdraft fees. So, we the consumers, are the culprit.

  62. @Jeff Are you out of your mind? You're blaming THE CONSUMERS for the financial difficulties Marriott employees face? It takes manpower to operate a hotel. Marriott wants to maximize its profits, which it does not share with low-end staff, so it cuts workers' hours and makes employees break their backs for less money. It's greed, pure and simple. And that goes for the credit union, too. They don't raise loan interest rates and fees so they can serve more members of the community - they do it TO MAKE MONEY. Again, greed. THEY are greedy. It has nothing to do with the traveler looking to save a few dollars when booking a hotel room for five days for his family's vacation.

  63. Its all about market efficiency. For markets to be efficient there needs to be free and open competition for both consumers and workers. For this to happen there need to be deterrents to industry consolidation. Anti trust decisions can often be too subjective. Perhaps what we need is some sort of revenue linked progressive corporate tax framework. The bigger you get the more your tax rate.

  64. After years of watching our credit union raise fees, cut services, decrease staff and cut business hours we decided to make a change. Why pay similar fees at a credit union when the national bank down the street has the same fees, more services and more hours? Today we do our everyday banking with an online bank with no fees and amazing customer service. We keep a savings account at a national bank for emergencies and other services. But if someone is looking for everyday banking services our no fee online bank has been terrific.

  65. The credit union should not be for-profit but rather a 'service' outlet. The high fees are unconscionable, as are the apparent advantages of the execs.

  66. @Kai

    It is a non-profit. Before enforced low interest rates promulgated by the Fed, credit unions would charge interest rates a little higher than the interest paid to depositors and the differential would cover the operating costs, with minor fees covering a small proportion.

    Credit unions did not participate in the financial meltdown, but the federal laws enacted in the aftermath raised compliance costs for credit unions, meaning they had to raise revenue somehow. People with money that would otherwise be deposited sought interest rates in excess of the 0.02% being paid on deposits, and people seeking to borrow for cars and mortgages could get better financing terms if the credit union charged more than 5% or 3.45%.

    Other credit unions, with more stable and higher paid employees are doing better. But an unskilled worker who does not speak English and has to communicate through an interpreter, even if diligent and hard working, is easily replaced, and $13/hour is a decent wage, regardless of whether he is single or supporting a family.

  67. Shame on Marriott. This is like the veritable blood sucker leach stereotype, only it's not funny because it's true and it is affecting real people. Have they no shame?

    I'll never stay at a Marriott hotel again. There are a lot of hotels out there. I'm sure they're all bad, but Marriott is one that I will definitely never stay at again.

  68. A six-month $500.00 loan with an interest rate close to 50% is financial rape. The person taking out the loan is not a customer - s/he is a crime victim. These credit unions that charge rates like that make shady loan sharks respectable in comparison. They need to be closed down.

  69. at my credit union and any credit union where i would open account has no fees. anyone who pays fees at a credit union is getting ripped off.

  70. @allen
    Had a small (secondary)checking account and 3 CDs at a local credit union and noticed that one month I was charged $5 for not-using the checking account.
    Went to complain and asked to speak to a manager re the problem. There were two available who could not be bothered. So, I cancelled the account and cashed my CDs on the spot.
    Probably lost a few $ on the early cash out but it was well worth it.

  71. Turn off overdraft "protection" and problem solved. There's no need to turn these people into victims...

  72. @Adam

    The cost of bounced checks is greater than the cost of overdraft protection. Bounce a $20 check and the fee is $35 plus whatever the recipient of the check charges you.

  73. I’ll remember this next time I need a room. It won’t be at a Marriott.

  74. Interesting story. I do like these human interest stories but I’m not sure what Marriot is doing wrong here.

  75. Really, you don’t see the wrong with Marriott ripping off low wage earning Marriott employees? Really?

  76. Being poor ain't cheap!

  77. Do these workers need to bank at their employer's credit union? If not, it seems that their unions - not the credit union - are doing them a disservice not to make a collective bargaining power to take the business elsewhere. Unless their unions are in the cohort with the credit union also.

    In Boston, there is a strike going on against some hotel - not sure which ones - and one of the demands is to be able to live in the city. While I am sympathetic to the union workers - they are the lowly paid and the jobs are numbing if not back breaking - it occurs to me some union bosses are not representing their interest. And really, the demand of being able to live in the city sounds like a good rallying cry but every few can afford to live in city these days, even if Boston is slightly better than San Francisco and Seattle, since the highly paid tech jobs are not in the city but surrounding areas.

    In conclusion, I am not saying this credit union is not outrageous, because it is; however, there are mitigating responses these union workers can do, just tell their union bosses (not credit union management) they prefer banking elsewhere.

  78. In the past, credit unions encouraged frugality and provided conservative financial advise to those at lower economic levels. Now they are as evil as the corporate banks. My local credit union, GC, encouraged me to take out a 10k title loan against the 'retail' value of my car. My car is ten years old and not in great condition and I owe money on it. I'm poor but not stupid. Why would I leverage a valueless car, agree to automatic payments, close my credit cards and risk default on the loan leaving me with no car and no money ? I told them to shove it. I'm an adjunct professor at the local college. We're paid poverty wages, have no job security nor benefits. I struggle every single day to make sure I have food, transportation and shelter. I do consulting work and any other reasonable job that pays a buck. I would sell my soul to have the chance to regain the life and lifestyle I had before the recession and worked hard for my entire life. But I'm middle aged and no longer 'hireable' for the better paying jobs I am more than qualified for. I am extraordinarily hardworking and beyond competent and my situation, like many others is NOT my fault. It's due to our government's inability to behave fairly and decently and their unrelenting efforts to make sure only the wealthy survive. To those who think otherwise, you're dead wrong. To those who have been victimized by our own government like I have, VOTE BLUE in the coming elections and win back a fighting chance for us.

  79. @LisaG

    Bernie and Elizabeth Warren are advocating free college tuition. If they and other Democrats move into power, don't think that any of the government supplied tuition money is going to find it's way into your paycheck.

    College revenues are five or six times what they were in inflation adjusted terms 40 years ago. But the income disparity between non tenured faculty and tenured faculty is at least five times. Elizabeth Warren and her husband were each being paid $350,000 for teaching two classes per year. You are lucky if you are making $50,000 for teaching six classes.

    Sander's wife was president of a private, "non-profit" college and drove it into bankruptcy making fraudulent loans with delusions of grandeur. She was not working for $50,000 a year.

    Vote Blue. Sanders and Warren and their friends will get more money. You won't.

  80. These workers need to do some research and take their money elsewhere. They're being ripped off. Some of the local neighborhoods banks probably provide better service. As for Marriott they are cutting back hours on full time employees yet hiring agency employees and lying about it. After 12 years on the job Ms. Lekesha Wheelings should be making more than $19 an hour for the job she does as a cook. And her hours should not be cut back. We hear how great the economy is doing but these are the real stories. People with jobs but often not enough hours to qualify them as full time employees. And those in the article are proof that they are full time on paper but constantly got their hours cut. And now with the friendly corporate Supreme Court in Washington that rules for corporations it will only get worse.

  81. Part time work, unpredictable schedules and hours, and the management-dominated credit union are the new "company store."

  82. Around 15 years ago, Walmart tried to get a bank charter so that it could establish retail banking for its unbanked customers for whom they were routinely cashing government and payroll checks. They were pushed back because of bank ownership legal issues.

    A few years later, big investment banks, GE credit, GM credit and all of the other big boys had their hands out because of liquidity issues and failed leveraged investment strategies and speculation in the synthetic CDS realm during the financial meltdown. It crossed my mind that it was unlikely that Walmart's low cost retail banking arm would have become insolvent.

    Similarly, the credit unions did not participate in the financial meltdown but had their compliance costs increased to pay for the sins of the big boys.

  83. Disheartening.

    As we become a more cashless society I know many guests have now stopped leaving tips for housekeeping staff before checkout. Perhaps SPG/Marriott can add a way for guests to add tips to their final bill before they check out. This could be one one of the ways that guests can help. At least until SPG/Marriott address the core problem of failing to pay living wages (and eliminate exorbitant credit union fees) to all of their employees.

  84. Please read this article about Amos Troyah's income, taxes, fees, etc. Next, please read this newspaper's front page article (from 10/13/2018) about Jared Kushner; especially the part about (through common tax-minimizing maneuvers) his little to none-payment of personal income and capital gains taxes for the past several years. In the article, it is pointed out Mr. Kushner's net worth has quintupled (in the past decade) to almost $324 million. Now juxtapose the net worth (or lack of) for Amos Troyah and Jared Kushner. This is one of the most glaring examples of what is wrong with this country: The rich get richer, and the poor get poorer. Even worse, the president of this country lies about these and other things approximately once or twice a day. All of these are shameful examples of Trump's America, where "anything goes". I believe early next month, in numerous political races, many Democrats will unseat now serving Republicans. I also believe the same will occur in (now) open seats, which were previously held by Republicans. It is Karma: What comes around, goes around.

  85. Terrible...they've lost their way...PJS

  86. If I were working on my budget in those circumstances, I'd drop the $17 legal assistance membership fee.

    There's a quick $200 in after tax money.

  87. Interest rates on all loans including credit cards and credit unions should be pegged several points above the prime, by law. DO SOMETHING CONGRESS. Stop these usurers from exploiting the poor.

  88. Rich families who inherit wealth often have a tough time treating "the help" like they should. It's hard to be empathetic when you are spoiled rotten and spend more on your wine than many of your employees can spend on food.

  89. The American nightmare, Sad!