Personal Finance Why free checking is ‘on the endangered list’: 3 theories
News from The Week Magazine:

Personal Finance

posted on September 27, 2011, at 1:11 PM

Today, only 45 percent of non-interest checking accounts are free of charges, compared to 65 percent just a year ago. Photo: Mark Karrass/Corbis

Best Opinion: ¬†Gawker, USA Today, NPR…

“Remember back in the good old days when you could just walk into any old bank and get free checking?” asks Al Olsen at¬†MSNBC. Well, “the times they are a changin’.” According to a survey by Bankrate, only 45 percent of non-interest checking accounts are free of charges, down from 65 percent just a year ago and 76 percent in 2009. You can still often get banks to waive the fees by maintaining ever-higher minimum balanc…………… continues on The Week Magazine
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Personal Finance: Exchange-traded notes can carry extra risk
News from Chattanooga Times Free Press:

Exchange-traded notes offer investors the opportunity to create strategies for diversifying their portfolio and pick up profits from trends they see in the market.

For example, if an investor thinks the price of crude oil will rise, he can buy an ETN that will track the price of oil.

Or perhaps an investor believes that the market will be volatile, purchasing an ETN that tracks the VIX index in hopes it will pay off from big swings in the market. There also are ETNs that track traditional investments methodologies, such as the “Dogs of the Dow” investment strategy.

Exposure to European banks

While ETNs may be compelling investment vehicles to some, investors should understand that ETNs have an added layer of risk — credit risk.

An ETN is essentially an unsecured loan to a financial institution. Four of the top five issuers of ETNs are European banks. This is particularly relevant and alarming because of the potentially toxic credit environment in…………… continues on Chattanooga Times Free Press
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