Ahhhh, remember the days of when your time spent with a banking institution actually meant something? Days when if your account was say 20 or more years old with that bank, you would be treated as someone special just because of your loyalty? Those days are long gone!
Chapter 1. The Customer Is Always Right?
Gone are the days where you could walk into a bank and dispute a charge and there would be no questions or doubt, and the bank teller would just take your word for it and correct the issue. Now, banks not only doubt every word that comes out of your mouth, but then they delegate the “confrontational” aspect of correcting the issue to a call center that you have to call to speak to a faceless person who does not know you (nor even cares). After explaining your problem again to this person on the phone, they are still very unwilling to concede and to actually help. Also, gone are the days of where you could just trust that your bank account was accurate and that the bank was doing a good job. Today you have to watch your account like a hawk! It is a regular practice of many (including myself) to log into to my account every morning to make sure all the transactions are accurate etc.
Not only do you have to be overly diligent with keeping watch of your accounts, but you also have to pay close attention to ensure you bank hasn’t thrown in some new policy overnight which may charge you some new fee. The following is a short list of common fees banks charge account holders.
- Overdraft Protection Fees
- Wire Transfer Fees
- Monthly Account Fees/Minimum Balance Fees
- Debit Card Transaction Fees
- ATM Fees
- Additional Checks
- Miscellaneous Fees
Chapter 2. What Caused All This?
In layman’s terms, a deluge of new banking regulations, fear, and greed. Anytime you become fearful, you tend to develop “tunnel vision.” You are more concerned about your survival than anyone or anything around you. Banks have done this in the proven difficulty of even getting a loan anymore. Banks seem to have stuffed all of their money in the giant mattress and are sitting on it to ensure their own survival. They have all been watching too much of the 1987 movie, Wall Street, where the fictional character, Gordon Gekko exclaims that “greed is good.” This is evident in the laundry list of fees banks like to charge now. Granted, I’m not a banking expert, these are my educated observations of the current banking climate.
Sadly, I feel that quality customer service is becoming a lost art. We now need to be our own advocates. This means you need to be very proactive in all of your decisions, not only in banking, but with everything. It is in your financial best interest to shop for banks, make sure you actually read the fine print! If the representative can’t answer your questions so that you can actually understand, find a different bank. Since quality customer service is nearly extinct, the banks really don’t care if you are an account holder or not, so you should not feel badly about just walking out the door to find what works for YOU.
One bank that has made it their motto to never charge fees is Ally Bank. You won’t be charged any fees for opening up a money market account or savings account with Ally Bank. View Ally Bank’s Current Savings Rates on the Rates Comparison Chart.