Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Save money by switching to a local bank.

It's not secret to anyone that I hate Bank of America with the white hot passion of a thousand suns. I loathe them. If I could conjure a plague of locusts to best their banks, I would. You get the idea, right?

After going through the worse customer service imaginable in the last few months, I switched my accounts over to a locally owned bank that is very solvent, reliable and because they only have two branches, offers me much better service.

What I am noticing is that when you have more face time with your bank, it allows you to get better advice find better options and solve issue quickly. Though I can make deposits through any Wells Fargo, I often drive to the branch just so that I can see and talk to people face to face. This way they get to know me and what my needs are.

The focus is on the customers and not on meeting major quotas or bottom lines for a larger corporation. The great thing is that I have an opportunity to go in with all of my financial data and see what ways they may be able to help me. This may occur in the form of a debt consolidation loan or refinancing of current loans including my home mortgage loan.

Even better, when I have specific needs I can talk to higher ups (i.e. bank vice president or even the president) to figure out how to make the best of the relationship I have. What makes me able to sleep at night is knowing that I am well taken care of. For example, I had an expense that was going to hit my account but I wasn't sure on what day it would happen. I had an expense check that was delayed in getting to me that brought me down to the wire. I got help up in a meeting yesterday and missed the cut off point for deposits to credit that day. Guess what? Yep, the debit went through before the check. It caused two items to go through without the funds and overdraw the account. Not good.

If I was with Bank of America, i would be looking at $70 in overdraft fees today. However, my new bank set me up with a line of credit for $500. This works as my overdraft protection. I will get charged interest if the balance stays on there. But, the check will credit today and not cause any interest due. They charge NO fees for use of the credit line. Everything should be back to normal by the end of the day.

Here's the kicker, I got a call about an hour ago. It was from Lisa at the bank. I have spoken to Lisa and can tell you exactly what she looks Like called because my account went into the negative and they wanted to make sure I knew and to see if anything was the matter. I told her no, I got held up in a meeting and missed the deposit deadline. I told her the deposit about and when I made it and she said there should be no problem. They called me. She was delightful.

I have been very vigilant in balancing my checkbook, but we all know things happen. I like knowing that my bank understands that.

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