Weekly Wrap: In the Wake of Superstorm Sandy


Updated on Mon Jul 21, 2014

A week ago today we were a little worried about the approach of Hurricane Sandy. It turns out we should have been super-duper worried; We should have been “superstorm” worried. Here in New York, part of Manhattan is still without power, and struggling to restore pre-storm activity to the banking and financial world. And all along the Eastern seaboard people are cleaning up, searching for gasoline and reconsidering that whole I’m-not-worried-about-climate-change attitude.

At MyBankTracker, we managed to publish stories and streams throughout the week. And if you’re one of the lucky ones, you actually had an Internet connection and were able to read them in real-time. For everyone else, here’s a summary you can puruse whenever your neighborhood returns to the modern world.

As you would imagine, much of our coverage this week concerned the banking industry’s response to Hurricane Sandy. By mid-week it seemed that every major bank in the country was offering some form of relief to customers.  But our favorite post-Sandy gesture involved a Chase branch that opened its doors to the besieged residents of New York.

Of course when talking about banks, we expect things to be gloomy. And the industry didn’t disappoint. Our monthly update on CD rates showed that the national rate averages for 48-month and 60-month CDs have dropped 0.02% APY and 0.03% APY respectively.

In fact, the continuing low-rate environment at banks was enough to prompt our own Simon Zhen to take drastic action. In his column he wrote, “although I’ve been able to refrain from frequent rate-chasing, I can no longer bear to see the depressed online savings rate from ING Direct, which is currently at 0.75% APY. That’s why I’m moving my money — to Ally Bank, arguably ING Direct’s biggest rival.”

Given the horrendous rates available at banks, more folks are turning to the riskier and more complicated world of equity investing. So we wrote a piece on the new crop of tools that do more than track investments.

Low rates weren’t the only thing worrying us in the banking world. We also took a look at the complex and frustrating experience of trying to fix a bank error.  And we offered some advice on surviving the next wave of cyberattacks against financial institutions.

In technology, things looked a little brighter.

First, it looks like Google is planning to offer a real-world, plastic card to go with along with its Google Wallet app.

And since we’re big believers in getting an early start, we took at look at some mobile apps to ease your holiday shopping and examined the systems to pay taxes through mobile devices.

Finally, we published a piece from a guest contributor outlining how you can get a home loan even if you have a low FICO score.

That article arrived just in the nick of time — since you might be considering a new home on higher ground.


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