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jackontrack 06-20-2011 10:19 AM

Moving Your Money to a Local Bank
 
Many people may or may not know that there is a campaign for people to move their money from large "Too Big To Fail" banks like Chase and Bank of America to small local banks. I was thinking about doing the same, as I am sick and tired of Bank of America.

Has anyone here had any experience with that? Would like to hear some opinions/experiences.

Off top, I see that with local banks there is definitely a difference with technology and service. One of the reasons why I've been with Bank of America for about 6 years is that their website is very useful, and they have ATMs nationwide. But their fees are ridiculous, and after looking what I paid them cumulatively in fees last year, I've lost my appetite for them.

Thanks

glippy 06-20-2011 10:46 AM

I'm "stuck" with BOA too. I like their ATM's where I can make a deposit. And the fact that no matter where I am there's usually a no-fee ATM within a short drive and usually even a branch if I need to talk to someone (rare but it's happened when my debit card's stopped working).

There are local banks/credit unions that are active in my community, don't need gov't bailouts and treat their employees very well. I'd prefer to have my money with them. But they only have 5 or 6 branches within a small area. And to make a deposit I have to go to an actual branch rather than just the closest ATM.

I've thought about compromising and just keeping a checking account with BOA for using their ATM's but keeping most of my checking account money with the local bank. Inertia is the big barrier I suppose.

Packman 06-20-2011 10:53 AM

This is slightly off topic, but how about the internet banks, like Ally and Discover bank? They are offering about 1.1% on MMA versus my brokerage account that pays .01%. The local banks here pay almost as little - about 1/10%.

For those that have gone the internet bank direction, how has it worked out?

Sarah in SC 06-20-2011 10:56 AM

I have both a BofA and a local bank account. I think the convenience wins out on keeping both for me. But, in related news--has anyone else checked out the new fabulous Schwab mobile banking app? You can deposit checks by taking a picture of them! Something I've been waiting on BofA to do for a very long time.

W2R 06-20-2011 11:03 AM

I had an account for over a decade with a local bank that had been around for a long time and seemed like a great choice and a favorite of local residents. To my great shock, it was bought out by Capital One a couple of years ago.

So, I thought of moving my money to F.'s bank, which is the other main local bank. It got bought out by another major national bank this year.

Oh well, at least I tried to support the local economy even though my efforts failed miserably. ;)

brewer12345 06-20-2011 11:05 AM

I do most of my banking with Schwab, but I have accounts with pen fed, navy fed and a local bank as well. Schwab rebates all atm fees and once they work the bugs out of the mobile banking app I almost do not need a local bank.

FIREd 06-20-2011 11:06 AM

A couple of years ago, I moved all my banking from my "local" bank (Wachovia) to a 100% online bank (USAA). No regret. With USAA I can use any ATM I want without paying any fees and checks can be deposited online.

jackontrack 06-20-2011 11:11 AM

Thanks for the responses.

Yeah, I will say, for years i've been addicted to the B of A website, and access to their ATMs (I travel a lot), but then I looked at fees, and that's where it started to hit me. For example, my local bank charges only $15 for overdraft fees. Bank of America charges $35. Now, I don't overdraw often, but it happens every once in awhile, especially if I'm waiting for some checks to come in and I have bills to pay. Also, for wire transfers (which I do frequently), B of A charges $40. My local bank charges $30. Plus, B of A charges $20/month for my business account. My local bank is free.

In regards to online banks, they do add another dimension to this, however here are my points about online banks:
  1. Most of them are aligned with many of the TBTF banks. Discover, Ally (GMAC), HSBC, ING, AMEX, etc. I will say however, I do have a HSBC Advance account and I'm pretty happy with it.
  2. For my main accounts, I like to keep the bulk of my money in a brick and mortar bank for emergency access.
  3. In regards to online banks, I would recommend USAA if you can get it. Their website is just as good, if not better, thank B of A's and has many of the same features. Plus, they have great cust. service and they have that service where you can deposit by scanning your checks using your scanner. Plus to my knowledge, USAA is not a TBTF bank.
I am looking for a small business account, and unfortunately USAA does not offer that.

Sarah in SC 06-20-2011 11:13 AM

Another benefit for Schwab is that they don't charge foreign transaction fees on stuff you buy with your debit card. I sure wish they still had that killer credit card, though.

jackontrack 06-20-2011 11:18 AM

Did Schwab recieve TARP funds or no?

Sarah in SC 06-20-2011 11:21 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by jackontrack (Post 1081696)
Did Schwab recieve TARP funds or no?

A Change in Dynamics
Schwab's website. Jan of last year.

jackontrack 06-20-2011 11:32 AM

Hmmmm, thanks for that info. Even more of a reason to drop the big banks.

MichaelB 06-20-2011 11:54 AM

We use USAA and have paid only one fee since we opened the account (stop check earlier this year). We have stopped using their credit card, but that's because every time a bogus charge shows up they cancel and send out a new one, that that generates a lot of work to update all the auto-pays. We have an account with Wachovia Wells Fargo, but that is only so we can use their safety deposit boxes and the occasional medallion guarantee. CC is now with Fidelity. They can give us signature guarantee as well, so if I could find a reasonable place to put the stuff in the safety deposit box, we would just use USAA.

jackontrack 06-20-2011 12:08 PM

Yeah I have nothing but good things to say about USAA. I've been using them for my personal accounts for the past year and change.

clifp 06-20-2011 02:56 PM

Another very satisfied Schwab Banking customer. After 20+ years of doing banking with Schwab, I doubt I've rung up more than $50 in fees total.
Free ATM, bill pay, no foreign transactions, free wire transfers, and a generally competitive interest rate current .25%. Also very competitive mortgage and HELCO loans.

The only thing I've used my local bank for is to cash savings bonds in the last 10 years.

nwsteve 06-20-2011 02:56 PM

Went to a community bank with branches state-wide plus border states over 10 years ago and never looked back. Stimulus was when BA processed an auto pay on our account that was for someone else's insurance payment. Took over 3 months to get corrected.
We use Fido debit card when we travel--they credit all ATM fees, foreign exchange withdrawal is only 2% rather than 3. Fido also does free wire transfers (your receiving bank may still charge). For intl use Cap One or BritishAir/Chase which waive foreign exchange fees.
If you think the Big Banks are done adding fees, just wait. Limiting debit card fees and higher capital limits will have them squeezing every element of the relationships--when is the last time you saw "free checking" (not counting Cred U_?
Nwsteve

W2R 06-20-2011 04:01 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by nwsteve (Post 1081805)
If you think the Big Banks are done adding fees, just wait. Limiting debit card fees and higher capital limits will have them squeezing every element of the relationships--when is the last time you saw "free checking" (not counting Cred U_?

You don't have free checking at your bank? Wow. I'd look around; surely you can find it at another bank.

nwsteve 06-20-2011 04:39 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by W2R (Post 1081831)
You don't have free checking at your bank? Wow. I'd look around; surely you can find it at another bank.

We do have a free account at our community bank. It is the Big Banks that are playing games.
We still have a Chase (formerly WAMU) account for our rental. It is free--oh I forgot to mention, you must have a direct deposit, or balance of 5k or some other gotcha. Yeah its Free--NOT!
Nwsteve

LOL! 06-20-2011 04:50 PM

I only lasted about 3 weeks at Bank of America. They made too many mistakes in 3 weeks, that I had to move to a local bank: WellsFargo. Smooth sailing ever since with lots and lots of freebies. I don't even use my USAA checking because WF is better.

flotsamandjetsam 06-20-2011 05:27 PM

We are very happy with a local bank even though they are not exactly local to us (closest branch is in the next town over.) We mail deposits about once a month and direct deposit our paychecks. We go into a branch office maybe once every two years. They are in a regional ATM network so we pay no ATM fees. Come to think of it, we have never payed any fees to this bank in 20 years. We have a Schwab card for when we are out of the ATM network.

I had one little incident where I wrote a check to Vanguard for $50k and neglected to sign it. Nobody noticed the missing signature until it got back to the bank. They asked me to come in and sign it pronto so they could release the funds.

So yes, local banks work fine. We had a BOA savings account for a year or so after they acquired Countrywide. It seemed like the interest rate would dwindle until we went in to close the account. They would just happen to have a new kind of account with higher rates that we were qualified for. Next month, the rate would dwindle... Finally we had enough of that game.


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