Tuesday, 19 April 2011

The Joys of Changing Banks

The other day, I visited my bank to close out my accounts. The bank that supposedly would have free checking until you die or until the 405 (a well-known freeway in Los Angeles that's forever under construction) stopped having construction decided to start charging $10 a month for an account under some unrealistic amount of daily balance. Granted, the bank has since changed hands, but I was irritated when I first heard about it. At the time, I asked a bank representative about this, he said, "Oh, you have this type of an account with us, too, so you won't get charged."

Imagine my "surprise" when I discovered that, lo and behold, he was wrong. By the time I realized this, the bank had already taken $100 total out of all our accounts. Needless to say, I was, um, irate. I called the 800 number and chewed some ass, but it did me little good. On the other end, I could practically hear the guy rolling his eyes at me.

After I had my say, I asked him what would make an account fee free. The list was long, but if you've ever listened to one of those pharmaceutical commercials about their drugs and side effects, you know that you'll only escape getting one of those side effects if you're dead. Well, yeah, pretty much that. I'd have better luck being eligible for it if I'm dead.

Well, you know what? Fine. I'll just take my money elsewhere.

So, last Friday, I march in with my checkbooks ready to close all but my business accounts and my main account as I wait for the outstanding checks to clear. (They may lose those, too, as soon as I have the time to change all of that information at all of our distributors.) I go in around 1 pm. My daughter gets out of school at 3:15 pm. This should be plenty of time to do it, right? HAHAHAHAHAHAHA

The teller doesn't realize what I want to do, even though I state in plain English, that I want to not just withdraw all of the money, but I want to close the accounts. When she does, I now have to see a banker. Um, why? It should be fairly easy to close the accounts, but whatever.

Of course, there's a line for the banker, but luckily, I have my iPhone, or I may have been homicidal after waiting about 15 minutes to see someone.

The banker, Jose, was very nice. He didn't even ask me why, which was fine by me. I didn't care to expound anyway. I just wanted out of there so I could deposit the money somewhere else. In a bank that actually wanted my business.

Another half hour went by (perhaps it was more). I was still sitting in the bank talking to Jose. He couldn't figure out why my personal and business accounts weren't linked, because, you know, with a business account, I got a free personal account.

Really? Why didn't the dude on the phone mention that earlier? Because he's an asshole? Because the bank is run by a bunch of greedy SOBs? Because... yeah, I can think of a variety of reason, none of them flattering.

I finally got these accounts closed, but in order to get my money, I had to go back to the teller. (rolling eyes--what a production!) I'd been in the bank over an hour now. While waiting for the teller to give me the cash, Jose walked up with some refinance information in case we wanted to bring our mortgage to them. (HAHAHAHAHAHHA Seriously?) I took the opportunity to ask him:

"So, since the accounts were linked and that was the bank's error AND I was supposed to have a free personal checking account with my business account, it would be nice if you refunded me for those fees on my main account."

"Of course, Ms. Baun."

At this point, it was 2:30 pm. I had a half hour to move my money to another bank before I had to pick up my daughter. I just managed to do it, but what a hassle! We should be able to show our IDs and close out all of our accounts without spending two friggin' hours in a bank!

At 3:10 pm, I arrived home. I was irritated, but glad to have it done.

Whatever happened to banks that care?


Anonymous said...

Dealing with that bank sounds like watching a herd of monkeys fucking footballs. Or maybe it's a passel? Gaggle? Anyway....Not too much getting accomplished other than good old-fashioned pig skin fuckery. Oy. You definitely made the right call, those dumbasses don't sound competent enough to handle boiling water, let alone your financial affairs.

Anthology Authors said...

Jenn, I don't think it's just that bank. I think a lot of banks are like this any more. I remember when we used a bank check to pay someone a large sum of money. The other bank, rather than deposit the money directly into the payee's account, claimed they had to "hold" the money for 2-4 weeks before they could release it to ensure the check cleared. Um, yeah, I don't buy that in this age of electronic banking. Did you know that a bank can actually see whether or not the check will clear when they run the check through their machine? They can't see the other account, but the machine will verify the money's available.

It's all fishy to me.

Cassandra Carr said...

Wait wait wait - banks that care? What are those? I've never seen one - they must be as rare as Bigfoot or a unicorn.

Maggi Andersen said...

It's the same in Australia, Marci. We are dissuaded from actually visiting a branch of the bank - many have been closed. Instead, we have call centers and most of staff on the other end of the phone have only a sketchy knowledge of the banking system themselves.

Anthology Authors said...

HAHAHAHA, Cassandra, except I think big foot and unicorns do exist. (g) Banks that care? Not so much. (g)

Anthology Authors said...

Oh, Maggi, that is bad. I thought it was awful here, but that's much worse. Honestly, if I could do business without banks, I would.

Faith said...

ARGH! Don't even get me started! I have done nothing but fight with WesBanco, and since it's the only bank in the area that's not a 45-minute or more drive one way to reach it, that's what bank we're stuck with.

Do you remember me telling you about the $500 that vanished from my account? Never did get it back. The bank manager could see what I was talking about, but since he nor I could trace it to the vanishing source, there was nothing he could do about it. However, he did refund the fees for bounced checks due to the my vanishing money and that alone was another $100.

I hate banks. They're just as damn crooked and greedy as the government.

OHHHHH! I said don't get me started. Now I gotta go take a sedative!

Anthology Authors said...

Oh, Faith, don't I know it. Once the bank took our mortgage out twice in one month. My account bounced. The bank did refund the mortgage payment, but didn't give back the bounce charge. o_O

Kissa Starling said...

Why does customer service suck? That's what I want to know. We got so fed up with Dish that we finally decided to go with Direct. After numerous phone calls, where they wouldn't do anything for us, we called to cancel our account. All of a sudden they wanted to talk and offered all kinds of incentives to stay.

Where were you then? I asked them.

Anthology Authors said...

You know, Kissa, they didn't seem to care about me either until I started closing accounts. Suddenly, they're kissing my butt. Unfortunately, the next bank isn't much better than the first one. (sigh)

Cassie Exline said...

Sine I bank online and use the drive thru, I was in for a shock when a month ago I went to my bank on Friday evening, just after 5 p.m., to find the lobby locked. Yes, for a moment, thoughts of it being robbed and my money disappearing made my heart raced. And not in a good way. I needed to order checks, start my Christmas Club (I know, I'm late)and get more deposit slips with my name and info stamped on them.

Back to my car I went, and pulled into the drive-thru. No robbers. Good sign.

Nope they don't stamp deposit slips any longer, I can fill them out myself. Here's a stack (of 10), need a pen? Oh Lord have mercy.

No, I can not start a Christmas Club that's in October.

Yes, they'll order the checks, but I can do that on line -- jeeze lady!

The following week I went to a new bank. They didn't think it was strange at all I wanted to start a Christmas Club.

Anthology Authors said...

I've never heard of a Christmas Club, Cassie, but if it's what I think it is, it sounds like a good idea. We save our coins and deposit them on occasion. When I opened the educational savings account for DD, the woman who was helping me eyed the coins as if they were diseased and told me I could take those to the teller. So, um, just because that $60 or so was in coins (along with some bill cash), I am suddenly trailer trash? (Nothing against people who live in trailers, but you know what I mean.)

Cassie Exline said...

Christmas Clubs are a big thing around here. Put in $10 or $20 or whatever, ever week, then close to Christmas we get a check. We've always saved our money to help pay taxes on the house which is due then.

Janice said...


I've changed banks a time or two too. It was because of high fee. You sneeze they charge you.

They make it such a hassle in hopes that you'll say this is too much trouble and stay with them.

We're with a union bank now and we're much happier with it.


Faith said...

Yeah, Christmas clubs are handy to have. You put anywhere from $2 to $50 in it every two weeks, and you can't touch the money until sometime in Oct I think. I've never used one, but I know a lot of people who do.

Another thing that ticks me off is the price of checks should you order them from the bank. You'd think they were etched in gold!

Anthology Authors said...

You know what I love, Faith? I love how they charge $10 to send a copy of your check back to you AND you have to click that as an option that you want. It gets better, though. You can see your checks online for three months, they will keep a copy of your check for three years (which you'll have to pay something like $4/check to get a copy), but the statute of limitations for litigation is seven years. Didn't I purchase those checks? Aren't they mine? So, why am I not getting my checks back? And why do I have to pay to get a copy of them?

Breathe, Marci! Breathe!

Melissa Bradley said...

Oh My God do I ever hear you on this one. Banks and their fees suck out loud and sideways. My bank has changed hands three times and each and every time it was supposed to get easier. Bullshit! I went from having no fees to now paying 8.95 for one fee, 2.50 for another and 3.95 a month for a third because I'm not a prime account holder. I was originally, but as the conglomerate got bigger so did the balance that prime account holders had to maintain. There are no neighborhood local banks anymore and unfortunately, my current bank charges the lowest fees of the ones around here so I'm stuck. It's outrageous.

One thing that drives me batty is the fee to talk to a teller. If I want to go inside the bank and actually do business or ask a question, I get charged 3 dollars. I hate using the ATM only, but they already get enough of my money.

Anthology Authors said...

Wow, Melissa! It hasn't come down to them charging us to see a teller...yet. I wouldn't be surprised if they do, though. They are trying to make everything electronic.

Remember when it was free to use your ATM card wherever you wanted? The bank I left charges you $2 if you use it to buy groceries. Not just another bank's ATM, but at the grocery store. They have all these commercials out trying to entice you to use it for your every day shopping. And I know why. They bank $2 every time you do. Weiners!

Jeff LoSsOfReAliTy Gonsalves said...

Sometimes it's a good idea to bring a bottle of Valium when you walk into a bank, to take the edge off. One time I waited in line while two female tellers gossiped and compared nail polish. When one finally called me over, I smiled and said, "Are you sure you're done with you're manicure?" I was a tad miffed below my amused demeanor, and got revenge by taking more than one lollipop from the glass bowl. I took three, damnit!