by Matt Marquardt –
MASON CITY – John Choate wasn’t happy with how he was treated at U.S. Bank, so he decided to do something about it.
Choate has been telling everyone who will listen about his trouble at U.S Bank. Choate says that he took a check for $850 from a U.S. Bank customer into a U.S. Bank branch and the bank only wanted to give him $845 back.
“I couldn’t believe it,” Choate explained Tuesday afternoon outside a downtown U.S. Bank location.
“This is supposed to be a bank, not some check-cashing service,” he said. “It seems that this big ole bank is preying on those who can afford it the least. Well they have angered me to the point that I will be driving a mobile billboard around next week explaining what happened to me.”
“Isn’t the very basis of having a checking account that this one piece of paper called a check is as good as cash?” Choate asked. “It is some sort of ransom or extortion, I did not cave into there demand for payment, I deposited the check in my own account.”
To show his frustration, Choate brought a home made sign, which says “US BANK = RIP OFF $” from his home near Manly to Mason City on Tuesday afternoon and stood in front of the U.S. Bank branch on South Washington Avenue, waiving at people passing by. Some honked, some stopped to chat, others seemed oblivious to Choate’s protest.
One older couple in a white van stopped and asked “what’s going on?”
“Oh, the bank is trying to overcharge people and tried to rip me off, so I’m just kinda telling everybody about it,” Choate told them.
“The bank’s been ripping off a lot of people,” a woman in the van said.
Choate also talked about the millions that U.S. Bancorp took in bailout money and asked why they needed more.
According to online figures, U.S. Bancorp took $6,599,000,000 in bailout dollars form the U.S. government and turned $334,220,416 in profit after paying the bailout dollars back.
“I will never, ever again accept a check from U.S. Bank,” Choate declared.
Choates will be at this same location Friday, when people are cashing their paychecks and he encourages people to “Google” US Bank and look under complaints. “There are tons of them,” he said.
A call was made to US Bank at 124 N. Washington. They said corporate was the only ones that give out press releases and their number is 1-800-USBanks. This number was called. After all the button pushing, trying to get someone on the line, it finally said, “To speak with someone just stay on the line.” The phone call was then ended on the other end.