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July 10th, 2010
07:04 PM ET

Actress Pam Grier opens up... on just about everything

You may remember her as "Foxy Brown."   Pam Grier's movie career has spanned four decades.  She's remembered as the first female action hero.    She's recently written a memoir called "Foxy: My Life in Three Acts."

CNN's Fredricka Whitefield  sat down with Pam Grier to talk about her remarkable life and career.

Filed under: Anchors • Fredricka Whitfield • Josh Levs
July 10th, 2010
03:47 PM ET

Tax cuts set to expire – what it means to you

Tax cuts enacted during the last Bush Administration are set to expire.  That is, if Congress doesn't extend them.  Most think that only the very rich will feel the pinch, but that may not be entirely true.

CNN's Fredricka Whitfield talks to financial expert, Ron Hart, to find out what the higher taxes will mean for you.


Filed under: Anchors • Fredricka Whitfield • Josh Levs
July 10th, 2010
05:00 AM ET

Have you opted out of your banks Overdraft Protection Program?

You’ve probably received a letter in the mail from your banking institution by now, directing you to opt in before it’s too late. Sign on the dotted line and allow them to charge hefty fee’s for the privilege of them covering your bounced checks.

For months, I’ve been hearing about all the new restrictions on overdraft fees and how it will lead to "the end of free checking" as banks seek to replace the billions in fees they're about to lose.It's true that banks are adjusting their fee structures, and you'll need to pay attention to the changes, or your wallet could suffer.

Banks have begun to reassess their checking accounts because of a Federal Reserve rule that, as of July 1, which will require customers' consent before they're covered by so-called courtesy overdraft. That's the kind of overdraft program that allows people to spend more than they have in their accounts and then clocks them $35 or so per transaction for the privilege.

Banks raked in $38.5 billion in overdraft fees last year, while the new restrictions will decrease the fee income by $2 billion this year.

What is it Overdraft Protection?
The program amounts to a short-term loan with interest rates that can be astronomical.
In the past you had this coverage no matter if you wanted it or not & had to opt out.

What should you do
Look out for the letters in the mail to get you to opt in
Just Say “NO”
Get true overdraft protection that links to a savings, credit card or a line of credit

Several institutions give this option at the ATM as a trick to encourage overspending
Moderate- and low-income customers paid the bulk of these fees, and one-quarter of the charges were paid by people over 55.
Currently, about half of all checking accounts are unprofitable (cost about $250-$300 to maintain a checking account annually). Most profitable keep 3K balance or have 10 overdrafts a year.

Do The Math
If you average 3 overdraft fees a month @ $35, you will pay $1,260 a year in fees.
A $2 coffee turns into a $37 coffee