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Any reason to maintain a local (brick & mortar) checking account?
Old 12-02-2020, 12:11 PM   #1
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Any reason to maintain a local (brick & mortar) checking account?

We do all our banking via an online bank and have done so since the early days of internet banking.

We also have an account at a local bank that I don't use and see no use for any more. The only time we needed it was for a "bank check" to pay for our house. That was 8 years ago.

- We don't have an ATM card with them because they charge for it unless you maintain a rather high minimum deposit.
- We don't need a safe-deposit box.
- The auto-dealer accepted a regular check when we bought our car.

Can anyone think of reasons why we should maintain this local bank account?
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Old 12-02-2020, 12:26 PM   #2
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I keep a few hundred in a local b&m bank in case I need a medallion signature guarantee, or a cashier's check. I get a free ATM card with it, and it's nice to have that as a backup if traveling. If you don't think you'll need any of those, or have alternative ways to do it, dump 'em. I've barely used those services myself in the last 5 years, but I'm not ready to close the account.

Oh yeah, I think I got a check that was too large for mobile deposit last year, and deposited it in person, and then transferred the money out.
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Old 12-02-2020, 12:27 PM   #3
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I use my B&M bank for the reasons below. All bills are paid through my Fidelity CMA account. I have Ally for CD's.

Safe Deposit Box (Free)
Large cash withdrawals without messing with ATM
Cashiers Checks
Notary and Medallion signatures (Free)
Deposits of cash

I keep $5K in the free checking account for emergency purposes.
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Old 12-02-2020, 12:34 PM   #4
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We've been brick and mortar-local bank free for over 10 years. Not once has it been missed.

It reminds me of the home phone and the print newspaper. We never missed them either but we thought it was life altering if they were not around.

Based on our experience, you will be fine...but of course, YMMV.
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Old 12-02-2020, 12:36 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PatrickA5 View Post
I use my B&M bank for the reasons below... A
Safe Deposit Box (Free)
Large cash withdrawals without messing with ATM
Cashiers Checks
Notary and Medallion signatures (Free)
Deposits of cash


...

Same with us. If one does not need any of the above services, then there is no reason do. But we do, so we keep enough money in it to keep the account free.
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Old 12-02-2020, 12:43 PM   #6
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Have not been inside a branch of my credit union in 20+ years.
If I need to visit a building, then I have many network choices within a few miles of my house.
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Old 12-02-2020, 01:06 PM   #7
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Mine is more out of habit than anything else. Plus, they do have products that I utilize. We’ve been with the same credit union for about 40 years now. While it hasn’t been much, everything we’ve need of them, they’ve provided. A couple of home equity loans, atm card, checking and savings . . . We probably could handle a non brick and mortar experience, but we just don’t want to switch. It has been nice to have them available for a notary. We also had to go in to sign our HELOC. We converted the HELOC to a mortgage when we financed our pool construction. We went in for that to sign papers but could have done it on line. I like to go in around this time of year to get some nice new C notes for Christmas giving.

So, I guess there’s no reason we couldn’t get by without a brick and mortar bank, but it does have a few conveniences.
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Old 12-02-2020, 01:10 PM   #8
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I think if you had a problem it would be easier to go in person but that is me. Handy to have some cash local. Mine is a no fee credit union I love them. The credit union is waling distance. I got a backup if atm's and my car are both broke.
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Old 12-02-2020, 01:22 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PatrickA5 View Post
...
Large cash withdrawals without messing with ATM
...
Particularily when planning for trips to cash economy, low trust destinations that love US dollars, but only in clean condition and recently issued. That's the only time when we tend to use b&m, but it's typically at least once a year.

(Yeah, we aren't good to be behind when going through the stacks of bills with the teller!)
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Old 12-02-2020, 01:26 PM   #10
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I have a firmly entrenched memory of the uncertainty of October 2008. I remember that I picked up $2,500 in cash from one mega bank branch and drove it to a branch of another mega bank to deposit it in a contractor's account to pay him for work on one of the rentals. I was not sure that day if it was safe to do an online transfer because one or both banks might not be open the next day. As a result of that experience, I maintain checking accounts with well above the minimum free checking account limits at three mega banks. I have credit cards from all three. I also have accounts with the usual online banks that used to pay good interest rates.
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Old 12-02-2020, 02:30 PM   #11
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I use the Fidelity Cash Management Account for pretty much everything. However, I do maintain a .8% interest checking account at a local credit union with no fees for anything and with a branch 1 mile from my home. I opened it to get cash services such as coin processing and cash deposits. Lately, their .8% is beating nearly all of the high yield savings accounts so I am carrying a heavy balance these days.
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Old 12-02-2020, 03:09 PM   #12
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DW and I have checking accounts at separate banks, with hers being at her former megabank employer locally and mine at Schwab. One reason for separate accounts is so we have two separate debit cards we use for cash when we travel internationally. The other is we have an occasional need to carry cash, as much as about $10K, to pay tour operators when we travel. We do not like paying 100% in advance and the type of small tour operators we use like to get cash. ( How they handle it with their local taxing authorities is not a concern for us.) So the local availability of the megabank teller lines makes getting the cash easy.

If it were not for our travel I am not sure we would see a need.
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Old 12-02-2020, 03:23 PM   #13
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My local bank is now a Wells Fargo, which has a wide and useful footprint. They
are also the epitome of "evil" bank. My account there is 45 years old, it goes back
to paper route days, 3 corporate bank take-overs ago.

I get free checking as long as I have a regular auto deposit of at least $500/month.
I'll have a gap of 5 years until pension/SS with no regular income. I'll have to
work a little to synthesize a "paycheck" if I want to keep that account because
I am not paying a monthly fee to WF.

I have checking connected to my Schwab brokerage accounts and a CMA connected
to my Fidelity accounts. Either of them is superior in every way to WF except for
the local presence.

Posting this has me thinking. I need to move stuff out of WF and close that account
next year.
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Old 12-02-2020, 03:26 PM   #14
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Sometimes I need a stack of small bills for travel tips.
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Old 12-02-2020, 03:45 PM   #15
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I would not be comfortable relying on internet banking with no B&M access for backup if networks are down and I need cash. I guess the alternative is a big pile of cash at home. I have several local credit unions primarily because they have great CD rates from time to time but I keep a few hundred dollars there in case TSHTF.

All the pros and cons are probably covered by this Poll from 2019:
https://www.early-retirement.org/for...ing-95801.html
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Old 12-02-2020, 04:00 PM   #16
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I switched to an online bank several years ago and never looked back.
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Old 12-02-2020, 04:08 PM   #17
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I migrated mostly to Everbank years ago. They are now TIAA bank, but as both operate largely as an internet bank (with the savings rates to show for it. But, ++ they have a few branches. One is in my city.

If I really need cash I can use most any ATM, including Publix, and pay a couple of bucks, nbd.
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Old 12-02-2020, 04:18 PM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bada bing View Post
My local bank is now a Wells Fargo, which has a wide and useful footprint. They
are also the epitome of "evil" bank. My account there is 45 years old, it goes back
to paper route days, 3 corporate bank take-overs ago.

I get free checking as long as I have a regular auto deposit of at least $500/month.
I'll have a gap of 5 years until pension/SS with no regular income. I'll have to
work a little to synthesize a "paycheck" if I want to keep that account because
I am not paying a monthly fee to WF.

next year.
I have a WF account as well going back 35 years, once I retired I opened up accounts with several online banks.

I still keep the WF account as they have ATM locations and branches around me. I auto-transfer $500 from VG into WF and then auto-withdraw a few days later. And round and round it goes..
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Old 12-02-2020, 04:21 PM   #19
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We keep a few grand in a local credit union "just in case," but I'm not sure "just in case what." I figured if we needed a fair amount of cold, hard cash in a hurry it would come in handy, but unless DW gets kidnapped I'm not sure what that would be.
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Old 12-02-2020, 05:00 PM   #20
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We have a savings account at a local brick and mortar branch, for the reasons many have listed earlier in this thread. We have no need for a local checking account. We keep the balance high enough to avoid fees.
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