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Local Bank Branch Closing - Options?
Old 06-22-2021, 07:24 PM   #1
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Local Bank Branch Closing - Options?

In September our local bank branch is closing. It is a convenience being so close, but now, if needed, we will have to travel 15 miles just to get to the next branch. Our financial needs do not revolve around this brick and morter bank as most all our bills and income are already handled by direct deposit / automatic pay plans. We do not use any other services other than savings, checking and a HELOC.

I am now considering online banks and am looking for some insights from those who do use them.

Thanks
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Old 06-22-2021, 07:29 PM   #2
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I was in a similar situation, except I moved to a new city where the nearest branch was 50 miles away.

I kept my main banking with the old bank (actually a credit union). Then I opened a small savings account at a local bank to use the ATMs, cash checks, and handle occasional other in-person business. It works for us.
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Old 06-22-2021, 07:31 PM   #3
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15 miles is no big deal, IMO. So if you like their services I'd stick with them. Even most community banks have pretty good online capabilities. Our local bank is in FL, but we spend 5 or more months in VA and MD, and are still able to do all our banking through the FL bank. They've been pretty good to us, so I'll probably stick with them until they get bought out again.

Having said that, I've also banked with Discover and Ally. Both were fine, although back in those days things like check and cash deposits were difficult to manage. I'm sure that's gotten better now. But I like having the safe deposit box and access to notary and medallion services that our local bank provides.

Edit to add: I never use ATMs, so if that's an issue you might want to find something more convenient.
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Old 06-22-2021, 07:41 PM   #4
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How often do you go to this bank? I haven't been inside my Chase branch since about 2018, when my debit card wouldn't work and I had one of those rare needs for cash. I've used the drive thru ATM since then about 2 or 3 times, but I could always use Publix and pay the small fee if I had to.

That said, I use TIAA, formerly Everbank, for most of my banking now. They are mostly online but do also have a few scattered branches. I've never been to one of those. I have things hooked up so I can transfer between them if I need. I could just close the Chase one but it's free and I can't be bothered.
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Old 06-22-2021, 08:02 PM   #5
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I use online and traditional banks. Even old school banks can be used without going there via virtual deposit or old school bank by mail. Also 15 miles not a big deal IMO. Haven't been to a bank in years. I get teimbursed for any AtM fees if I incur any
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Old 06-22-2021, 08:11 PM   #6
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I've used Schwab Bank for decades. I think the last time I entered a Schwab branch (actually a brokerage branch, as strictly speaking their bank doesn't have branches) was over ten years ago. There's just no need. They refund fees charged by any ATM in the country, and the few checks we receive are easily deposited via my iPhone. For that matter, I'm not sure the last time we needed to withdraw cash - maybe six months ago? I use my rewards CC whenever possible, even if it's just a candy bar.

That said, we do keep some "just in case" mad money in a local credit union. Frankly, I'm not sure why. If Schwab goes under or the ATM networks don't work, we'd have bigger problems.

We also have a safe deposit box in a local bank.
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Old 06-22-2021, 09:21 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jpjr View Post
In September our local bank branch is closing. It is a convenience being so close, but now, if needed, we will have to travel 15 miles just to get to the next branch. Our financial needs do not revolve around this brick and morter bank as most all our bills and income are already handled by direct deposit / automatic pay plans. We do not use any other services other than savings, checking and a HELOC.

I am now considering online banks and am looking for some insights from those who do use them.

Thanks
Chill. No need to change banks. We rarely go to our bank's office or drivethru these days. Deposits are all done via the bank's app. When we need cash we go to an nearby ATM that we can do free withdrawals.
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Old 06-22-2021, 09:54 PM   #8
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I like a local office and visit about 4 times / year.
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Old 06-23-2021, 01:56 AM   #9
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The pandemic year has illustrated that we can do without a sticks & bricks bank location. I wasn't about to make an appointment to just get thru the front door properly masked and distanced.

Our downtown has 14 banks and credit union locations, and only one bank and one credit union has any appreciable foot traffic even in normal times. I honestly don't know why so many banks exist?

My Wells Fargo location is a ghost town staffed with 2 "bankers" that just let you go on a personal computer over in the corner to apply for a loan. And they don't know much about anything--totally inexperienced.

As long as I have one physical location in a city, I can live with an ATM in choice locations.
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Old 06-23-2021, 05:35 AM   #10
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Look for a local credit union. Most are fee free to keep accounts there.
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Old 06-23-2021, 06:13 AM   #11
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I've used Schwab Bank for decades. I think the last time I entered a Schwab branch (actually a brokerage branch, as strictly speaking their bank doesn't have branches) was over ten years ago. There's just no need. They refund fees charged by any ATM in the country, and the few checks we receive are easily deposited via my iPhone. For that matter, I'm not sure the last time we needed to withdraw cash - maybe six months ago? I use my rewards CC whenever possible, even if it's just a candy bar.
Same here but with Fidelity and no accounts with any local bank.

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My Wells Fargo location is a ghost town staffed with 2 "bankers" that just let you go on a personal computer over in the corner to apply for a loan. And they don't know much about anything--totally inexperienced.
My local B of A branch got to that point and eventually closed. One notary but she was always out for some reason. When DH died all they could do was give me pieces of paper to fill out to liquidate his checking account (about $300) and then hand them off somewhere- no idea what/when to expect next. It was as if B of A wanted the lowest level of skills/knowledge there so they could pay them the least possible.

If I need a notary I'll go to the UPS Store.
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Old 06-23-2021, 08:08 AM   #12
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As others have mentioned, our "bank" is a cash management account at Fidelity. They have all the usual checkwriting, direct deposit, bill pay, etc. There are no fees of any kind. They offer free checks. They even reimburse all ATM fees, so we can use any ATM. It's covered by FDIC insurance. The phone app is quite good. But we only use it to deposit checks when needed.

We also use the Fidelity-branded 2% cash back VISA for almost everything. All our bills are paid with this so we rarely use the bill-pay functionality with the CMA.

Another thing I like about this arrangement is that transfers between the CMA and our other Fidelity accounts are instantaneous. And some routine transfers are automated. For example, whenever dividends are posted to our taxable brokerage account, it triggers an automatic transfer to the CMA and the money is immediately available. There's a very useful tool for configuring automatic withdrawals, deposits, and transfers.

We have a Fidelity investor center about 20-25 minutes from us. We've only been there one time. We had a check from Carmax that the app would not accept for some reason. We took it there and they deposited it.

We also keep $1500 parked at Wells Fargo. This gives us local access to things like their notary service. I also used a local branch recently to deposit a bunch of cash from selling my truck. I think we can do most of this at the investor center. So we might close this account at some point. I probably go to a WF branch once a year on average.

We also have an Ally online savings account that's used for the modest amount of cash we hold. Their interest rate is generally higher than MMFs.
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Old 06-23-2021, 09:57 AM   #13
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As others have mentioned, our "bank" is a cash management account at Fidelity. They have all the usual checkwriting, direct deposit, bill pay, etc. There are no fees of any kind. They offer free checks. They even reimburse all ATM fees, so we can use any ATM. It's covered by FDIC insurance. The phone app is quite good. But we only use it to deposit checks when needed.

We also use the Fidelity-branded 2% cash back VISA for almost everything. All our bills are paid with this so we rarely use the bill-pay functionality with the CMA.
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Primary banking in CMA. High Yield MM at Marcus on line. In the process of un-winding 3 other banks. Since the local B of A's seemed to be closed in all directions, they are likely first to go. Sometimes you just need a teller when an ATM doesn't fit. However I believe we could live with just the Fido CMA and Marcus accounts.
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Old 06-23-2021, 04:30 PM   #14
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The only reason I go to my local bank branch is for notary services and when the app won't let me deposit a check greater than $3,000.

I also have a Schwab Bank account and I've deposited a $100,000 check using the Schwab app so I don't think it has a limit. The ATM fee rebate for the Schwab Bank debit card also applies internationally--at least it did in the UK when I was there. Like anything Schwab it is highly recommended by me.
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Old 06-23-2021, 04:32 PM   #15
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Still get ATM cash from my local BOA bank, otherwise it is Ally Bank online.
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Old 06-23-2021, 04:37 PM   #16
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Still get ATM cash from my local BOA bank, otherwise it is Ally Bank online.
+1 Ally’s telephone customer service has been good the couple of times I’ve called. Very happy with them overall.
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Old 06-23-2021, 04:43 PM   #17
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The majority of our banking is done at a credit union that I haven't visited for at least 18 years, maybe longer. It's a past employer related credit union, but my pension payments are deposited there and they haven't given me any reason to change so we haven't. The other bank is local, but other than the ATM we haven't been to a branch for maybe two years or so.

BTW, to those who say "15 miles is no big deal" that depends. Where we used to live trying to go 15 miles in the wrong direction at the wrong time could take several hours, most of it just sitting in your car. It can be a very big deal.
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Old 06-23-2021, 05:10 PM   #18
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I use Schwab bank and like it a lot. We keep DW's checking account at a local branch bank only because we sometimes need $10K or more in cash to pay overseas tour operators, who become very price friendly when you say you'll pay in mint US hundreds on arrival. If DW's local branch suddenly moved 15 miles away, our need to visit is so infrequent that we'd just drive the 15 miles.

Basically the deficiency with Schwab is getting cash. The mail deposits can't contain cash, but the local branch has quasi-teller people who can take a cash deposit.
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Old 06-23-2021, 07:14 PM   #19
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My local B of A branch got to that point and eventually closed…… It was as if B of A wanted the lowest level of skills/knowledge there so they could pay them the least possible.
.


B of A opened a satellite beach near me with no staff. You can unlock the door with a credit or debit card. They have ATMs, secure conference rooms for virtual meetings, and some capacity to submit forms electronically. I assume the video links to a “banker” at a regular branch (or WFH).
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Old 06-24-2021, 05:01 AM   #20
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A few years ago I'd have recommended Everbank. But TIAA bought them and ruined their online banking platform, which has to be really good if you're doing online banking. So I'm currently in the process of moving my banking to Fidelity. I've already set up the Fidelity cash account. Once I get the checks, I'll start migrating direct deposits and other automatic transactions to Fidelity.


But it is a real bummer that TIAA had to screw up Everbank, because it was such a good platform that worked well for me for a decade.
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