Skip to comments.Honor Your Word, or This Banker May Call Mom
Posted on 07/18/2008 11:12:49 PM PDT by TigerLikesRooster
Honor Your Word, or This Banker May Call Mom
By RON LIEBER
Just a few years ago, it was easy to write off the local community bank as a relic, a quaint reminder of an age when you actually needed to visit a branch to manage your money.
Who needed a local banker when a mortgage broker could easily connect you with financing from some faraway lender? Internet banks offered savings accounts with interest rates far superior to community banks pathetic payouts, and brokerage firms created fee-free checking accounts.
Like many of you, I suspect, I havent set foot in my bank since the 1990s. But in the last couple of weeks, as Ive read about desperate people unable to find someone at their giant mortgage companies able to help them with their troubled mortgages and seen the photos of people lining up in front of IndyMac, Ive started to wonder whether I have the whole thing backward.
(Excerpt) Read more at nytimes.com ...
I live in a rural area, and we have a couple of locally owned and operated banks. If I had a large amount of money for an account, I would definitely keep it in one of those banks, especially given recent events. All the better, if you have good money, such places will even go out of their way to make you happy and treat you like a person, rather than a widget.
Then it started. Mysterious fees and charges, delayed deposits and instant debits, rotating managers who used the "Moving target" strategy, surly tellers who felt annoyed if you wanted YOUR money, and all the rest.
Down the street was another little bank that contained the town's name. I walked in and wanted to see the president. I asked him how long he had been president of that bank, and he said, "Oh, about twelve years now."
"That will do. So if I have a problem, you suspect you will be here next week?"
He laughed, and said, "You would be surprised how many people ask that. So, you are at BayBank, and have had enough?"
We have been with them ever since. Baybank later changed its name, trying to repackage itself, or because its name caused people to spit. What did they change it to?
Yes! They must have kept their original management, and named it after what they were giving to the Customers!
I have not heard much of them lately. Maybe they folded or were busted. I still get angry when I think of them.
Fire your bank. Join a credit union.
The CEO of the credit union I work at has been CEO for more than 30 years. We have been in existence for 41. Our COO just retired after 20 years at the credit union.
Fleet was absorbed by Bank of America.
I left Baybank around 1995 for the same reasons you describe. They had ATMs everywhere in the Commonwealth (of Massachusetts) but they became nasty to deal with.
I started out with Bay Bank Melrose-Wakefield back in the days before banks were allowed to operate interstate and in Massachusetts, they were not allowed to operate in more than one county! Bay Bank operated separate banks in most counties in eastern Massachusetts. Bay Bank Melrose-Wakefield merged, around 1982, with Bay Bank Middlesex.
I remember trying to cash a check on Saturday morning on my way to Maine for the weekend at Bay Bank Middlesex in Acton and the teller declining to do so because the check said "Melrose-Wakefield" on it. Bay Bank branches routinely cashed checks from affliated banks as a "courtesy". I told her that Bay Bank Melrose Wakefield was now part of her bank. When she balked I insisted she ask her supervisor, who agreed with me.
Once Bay Bank affliates all became BayBank, the troubles you describe started. For instance, they would have accounts offering a certain interest rate, but after about four months the interest rate would aburptly decrease. Some other named account would offer the same rate, so you had to go back down to the local branch on Saturday and change the description (but not account number!) on the account to get the higher rate. And all kinda mysterious fees. You could always get them back onside but you had to review your statements with a fine tooth comb and they sure weren't worth the hassle.
My trouble was that I was brought up with the absurd, outrageous idea that it was my money, I was the Customer (All Praise) and that I was the one who gave the orders.
I just did not belong there.
What amazes me is that I rarely ever think of them these days, but become furious when I do.
Well, they and BOA deserve each other.
Many small, local banks are going to get nailed by construction loans, so it would be a bad idea to be too complacent. I’d be interested in finding a bank that is locally owned and operated, with as close to zero exposure to this mess as possible. It would have to be new, I suppose.
You don’t even want to hear about Wachovia. We started with First Union, which was a good bank. Then these thieves gobbled it up, and all the usual problems everyone describes started. So when I read about their problems I just laugh my hindquarters off.