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Do banks no longer want our money?
Old 04-15-2016, 10:50 PM   #1
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Do banks no longer want our money?

Two recent trends have me wondering if banks even want deposits anymore. BofA (and Chase from what I hear) are now requiring that we show ID to deposit cash. Of course, this isn't required if you use the ATM. So...this really isn't about security. Its cash and a deposit so its not really about a bounced check. Then to top it all off, today we learned that they stopped giving free, pre-printed deposit slips even with our "Advantage account". They want $15 for 50 deposit slips! Just about ready to keep my money in a mattress.

Rant over...for now.
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Old 04-16-2016, 01:22 AM   #2
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Then why use those big banks? There are plenty of other banks that don't have those fees. Bank of America is notorious for having some of the worst fees and rates for their customers. Not sure why people use them as a primary bank. I like my credit union.


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Old 04-16-2016, 04:13 AM   #3
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There is a cost associated with maintaining a customer relationship, especially when that relationship may include significant face-to-face or mouth-to-ear transactions. For example, on several occasions while I was a BoA (and predecessor banks) customer, I took advantage of being able to walk into any of the local branches, and have the branch manager give me a medallion signature guarantee. On one of those occasions, I even was able to orchestrate the acquisition of a medallion signature guarantee on a form with three signatures on it (mine and my brothers') even though the three of us were never in the same room while signing. As you can imagine, that took a lot of time and effort on the part of moderately high-level branch employees. As a BoA customer with a significant balance on account between various types of bank and brokerage accounts, they bent over backwards to make everything work well for me.

And now I have no need for such services, and therefore take advantage of more lucrative banking relationships available to me - bank accounts at banks without branches (and therefore without services such as medallion signature guarantees) that pay higher interest, the ability to purchase from within my brokerage account lower-cost mutual funds (such as Vanguard funds) that have lower ERs, etc. As the amount of money I was willing to put into BoA's care declined, naturally, the level of service they were willing to grant to me declined to match, resulting in fees for things that previously they were happy to provide gratis.
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Old 04-16-2016, 06:26 AM   #4
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My DW, who used to work at a bank, says the ID requirement is to allow for possible tracking of money laundering by the drug trade or other illegal activities. She also says there is a limit on how big a deposit you can make to the ATM.
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Old 04-16-2016, 07:27 AM   #5
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$15 for 50 slips? My regional bank just charged me $10 for my last 1 box order of checks which included ton's of deposit slips. This order will probably take care of me for years as I write few checks and have little need to deposit money.

I would change to a CU as previously mentioned.
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Old 04-16-2016, 07:31 AM   #6
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My DW, who used to work at a bank, says the ID requirement is to allow for possible tracking of money laundering by the drug trade or other illegal activities. She also says there is a limit on how big a deposit you can make to the ATM.
That is the most likely explanation for the DL requirement. I know that Ally now requires first-time customers to send in a DL image when opening an account. That wasn't required when I opened one several years ago.

And we know that Ally wants your money because they continue to pay well above market interest rates on deposits.

As to higher fees, it's probably more that they "don't want our money at a loss" than that they don't want it at all. At low rates the spread between the interest rate a bank borrows at (0% on your deposits) and what it can lend at shrinks. The cost of providing cash services (Teller & ATM networks, check processing, physical cash management, security & warehousing, etc) does not go down.

So banks are raising fees on low margin depositors to try to recoup some of those costs.
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Old 04-16-2016, 07:33 AM   #7
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I have yet to figure out what the big banks' business is. They're certainly not seriously competing for individuals' business.

On a visit this week to my local Wells Fargo Branch, their lobby had desks and offices for 12 people. They had one personal banker there, and the place was like a ghost town. Go in to make a loan application and they'll put you on a computer terminal (that you could have signed into from home.)

Last time I applied for a loan, the bank was simply uncompetitive on interest rates and terms. They've essentially run personal banking off to the local credit unions.
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Old 04-16-2016, 08:47 AM   #8
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I have yet to figure out what the big banks' business is. They're certainly not seriously competing for individuals' business.
At least not every individual. As I indicated above, they surely competed well for my individual business, at a time in my life when what they offered was better than I could get from (incidentally, what I ended up switching to, on leaving BoA) online banks and local credit unions.

Also, keep in mind that every branch is a billboard, putting the BoA name in front of people's eyes like a television commercial. That helps with businesses where name recognition matters, such as credit cards, wealth management, global commercial banking, etc.
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Old 04-16-2016, 09:30 AM   #9
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We're getting ready to close on our HELOC through BofA. While I believe they could have improved their communication with me it was by far the best deal we could find. Some of the smaller players were impossible to work with. I really disliked the folks that cherry picked their business. Tell you exactly what you wanted to hear to get you to release your information, that was the last time you ever heard from them. At least BofA did what they said they would do.
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Old 04-16-2016, 09:41 AM   #10
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I have yet to figure out what the big banks' business is. They're certainly not seriously competing for individuals' business.

On a visit this week to my local Wells Fargo Branch, their lobby had desks and offices for 12 people. They had one personal banker there, and the place was like a ghost town. Go in to make a loan application and they'll put you on a computer terminal (that you could have signed into from home.)

Last time I applied for a loan, the bank was simply uncompetitive on interest rates and terms. They've essentially run personal banking off to the local credit unions.
Banks are in the business of making money. Fees, not interest spread, is where they try to concentrate. Bounced checks, service fees, origination fees, annual fees, etc.

Most people bank online anymore. Phones, computers, etc. Checks are obsolete. I hand write maybe 3-4 a year, yet I pay 50+ bills a month. Debit cards, phone pay, auto-pay, etc. is where the market is headed.

A bank will know what product you need, based on your financial transactions. They know how much you have, where you spend it, often even what you buy. You may need a credit card, a HELOC, etc. The bank's wealth is in their information, not their infrastructure.
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Old 04-16-2016, 10:14 AM   #11
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Originally Posted by Bamaman View Post
I have yet to figure out what the big banks' business is. They're certainly not seriously competing for individuals' business.

On a visit this week to my local Wells Fargo Branch, their lobby had desks and offices for 12 people. They had one personal banker there, and the place was like a ghost town. Go in to make a loan application and they'll put you on a computer terminal (that you could have signed into from home.)

Last time I applied for a loan, the bank was simply uncompetitive on interest rates and terms. They've essentially run personal banking off to the local credit unions.


I borrow all the time (though its $30k and under) and never directly from the bank itself. Like you said, too expensive. The best/easiest way for me is credit card access checks. Usually 2-3% transaction fee and 0% for 15 months. Pay it off, or roll it over. Better rates, and the amount of time it takes to consummate the loan is the time it takes to fill out the empty check and deposit into bank account.
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Old 04-16-2016, 10:25 AM   #12
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What is a deposit slip? What are checks? Cash, oh yeah I used to use that. 😬
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Old 04-16-2016, 10:45 AM   #13
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I was very upset with Bank of America back in 1968, because I was young, just starting out, nearly broke, and they were eating me alive with fees. Then they charged me a fee to close my account. I told them I would never open another account with them in my life, and I haven't.

One of the tasks that I have taken on since that time, is choosing my bank based on what matters to me (and fees are part of that). My present bank has no fees and is a well established bank.

I have no idea about depositing large quantities of cash in person at my bank, because don't recall ever doing that. Here in New Orleans, we have a lot of drugs flowing into the continental US, so depositing large quantities of cash is generally something that big time drug dealers do (here).

I'm not saying that you are a drug dealer! But my jaw would sure drop if you were in front of me in line at the bank here in New Orleans, and you pulled out thousands in cash to deposit (other than in the "businesses only" line).

When I deposited the certified check for the proceeds from selling my home, I did not just stand in line for a teller; I sat down at one of those desks with somebody who could give me more personalized service. She probably asked for my ID; I don't recall.

As for the pre-printed deposit slips, I get probably one box of checks every 2-3 years and there are more than enough included in there for my purposes. If there wasn't, I'd just go get one of the non-preprinted ones that are available inside the bank. Then I'd just play "sweet but stupid little old lady" and get the teller to fill it out for me. Last year, other than the big certified check for my house, I made only one deposit in person (about $300). That's about average for me, so I'm in no danger of running out of pre-printed deposit slips.
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Old 04-16-2016, 10:51 AM   #14
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Change banks! There are plenty of regional and online banks as well as credit unions which will give you excellent service and better interest rates.
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Old 04-16-2016, 10:56 AM   #15
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I have yet to figure out what the big banks' business is. They're certainly not seriously competing for individuals' business.
That's it! You HAVE figured it out. Big Banks want commercial business, not individual business. They provide individual accounts as a community "courtesy," but they don't make any money on them.

Reduce your frustration! Change your bank to a locally-based community bank with strong internet tools, and/or a credit union with the same strong internet tools. You'll get friendly personal service (even on the phone), without the nickel and dime routine.

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Old 04-16-2016, 11:04 AM   #16
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Then they charged me a fee to close my account.
Two times the following conversation happened to me:
  • Bank: Sad to see you go, can we do anything to convince you to stay?
  • Me: No
  • Bank: Well, you need to fill out these forms, bring a proof of address and bring your passport along and tell us where to transfer any remaining funds.
  • Me: Already done, here you go.
  • Bank: Ah, ok. Well, and there is a closing fee of xx.
  • Me: I won't pay you for leaving.
  • Bank: I'm sorry, that's our policy. The money will be automatically deducted from your remaining balance before transferring.
  • Me: I won't pay for closing an account, that's my policy. Besides, I already cleared out the account and you won't allow negative balances, so how will that work?
  • Bank: Well, I don't know.
  • ... Bank employee runs off to manager .. comes back and says: "the account is closed, have a nice day sir".
  • Me: Thank you so much, have a nice day.
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Old 04-16-2016, 11:07 AM   #17
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Two times the following conversation happened to me:
  • Bank: Sad to see you go, can we do anything to convince you to stay?
  • Me: No
  • Bank: Well, you need to fill out these forms, bring a proof of address and bring your passport along and tell us where to transfer any remaining funds.
  • Me: Already done, here you go.
  • Bank: Ah, ok. Well, and there is a closing fee of xx.
  • Me: I won't pay you for leaving.
  • Bank: I'm sorry, that's our policy. The money will be automatically deducted from your remaining balance before transferring.
  • Me: I won't pay for closing an account, that's my policy. Besides, I already cleared out the account and you won't allow negative balances, so how will that work?
  • Bank: Well, I don't know.
  • ... Bank employee runs off to manager .. comes back and says: "the account is closed, have a nice day sir".
  • Me: Thank you so much, have a nice day.
You were much more clever than me! I was just a dumb kid, on my own for the first time in a strange city. They didn't say that they were sad to see me go, since I gave my reason as being eaten alive by fees. They subtracted the account closing fee from my account balance before giving anything back to me, which meant I ended up with nearly nothing. I will never deal with Bank of America again, even though almost half a century has passed.

Had I removed my money before closing the account, maybe they would have charged a fee for having a negative balance. BTW, I am not sure but it seems to me that here in the US if you own money on an account that isn't closed due to unpaid fees, other banks will be reluctant to allow you to open a new account.
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Old 04-16-2016, 11:12 AM   #18
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That's it! You HAVE figured it out. Big Banks want commercial business, not individual business.
That isn't true for many banks.

The retail division often outperforms the others quite regularly. In addition capital from individuals counts higher for capital requirements (Basel).

It's one reason why interest rates for deposits at the retail level are usually higher than at corporate level.

What is true is that retail banks know most people are lazy and can't count. So you get nickel and dimed, and older types of accounts get bad interest rates. In essence, customer loyalty is punished. Because they get away with it.
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Old 04-16-2016, 11:15 AM   #19
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I thank God for credit unions. I left the banks about seven years ago. Only credit unions for me here on out.
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Old 04-16-2016, 11:16 AM   #20
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My main bank is a regional one and so is the one I use for the rental account... I deposit the rent in cash on a regular basis with no problem. The tellers know me by name and even ask about my latest travel adventures... I just walk up to the counter with the cash and show them the account number off my checkbook - they do a little receipt slip - no deposit slip needed.

As far as everything else such as bill paying - I do it all online. I probably write and mail two checks a month to places that make it hard to pay online (ie fees for CC payments, etc...)
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