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Consumer Confidential: Mo' money, no Chevy, Citi rebates

June 10, 2010 | 10:19 am
Here's your thrill-a-minute Thursday roundup of consumer news from around the Web:

-- Party on: The stock market is soaring (at least at the moment), and our friends at the Federal Reserve say Americans' wealth has risen for the fourth straight quarter. You might not be feeling any richer (I'm not), but our collective coinsiness (is that word?) rose another 2.1% in the first three months of the year to $54.6 trillion. The big driver was a recovering stock market, which pushed our paper wealth higher. Even so, we're still well off our pre-recession money high of $65.9 trillion.

-- Say "sayonara" to Chevy. General Motors has decreed that its cars will now be known by the more formal moniker of Chevrolet. GM believes having two different names for the same brand causes confusion, especially abroad. (It might also cause some to think the cars were manufactured by a former "Saturday Night Live" star.) So GM says it will no longer refer to its own vehicles as Chevys. Darn. Just when I was thinking about buying a Vette -- and I don't mean an animal doctor.

-- Citibank is giving out money to attract your money. Sort of. The bank says anyone opening a new checking account will get 5% back on debit-card purchases until Nov. 30. The offer applies only to higher-end EZ Checking, Citibank Checking or Citigold accounts, not basic checking. You're also required to spend at least $250 a month to qualify for the rebate, and the amount you can score is limited to $500. On top of that, you can only make purchases requiring signatures, not PINs, because the bank gets more money that way. Other than all that, a very attractive offer.

-- David Lazarus