I am a bonafide, card-carrying, real life bank hopper. I’ve banked with large banks, small banks, medium banks, community banks, banks that have been bought out, accounts that came with fees, accounts that were completely free, high interest accounts, extra pitiful interest accounts, accounts that were electronic access only. There are a lot of banks out there. It’s hard to find the right fit!
It all started in 2011 when Regions: The Greedy Bank started charging me a fee on an account that I’ve had for over a decade. They claim they sent a letter. I don’t remember getting anything from them. I had been on estatements for a good five years at this point. If they had sent me a letter, I would have seen it.
In any case, though they did offer to remove the fee just this one time since I seemed genuinely blind-sided by it, with all the other choices out there, I made the decision to leave with the full support of everyone I knew, and my sister left them as well.
I probably could have made it work, but the thought of it just disgusted me and stressed me out. So, I skipped over to GreenBank, a community bank that had been in business for over 100 years. The hours were great, the staff was wonderful. I was VERY happy there.
I used to keep my emergency savings and frou-frou spending account at a separate bank. I guess I thought it would make it easier for me to keep my hands off of the money. Just FYI – it didn’t work at all so I stopped doing it. In any case, I had already been banking with this community bank for about six months, having left the previous bank I had those accounts with because it was technologically lagging at the time.
However, all was not sunshine and buttercups in banking land. Mere months after changing everything over to this bank, I received a letter in the mail. cue dramatic music That bank was being bought out by some bigger regional community bank named Capital Bank that wanted to expand into the territory.
They promised nearly nothing would change. However (dun,dun,dun) many things changed. The accounts were still without fees, but the employees changed, the management changed, the convenient hours changed! Even the new online interface was hideous, and it had a nice little hideous banking app that came along with it.
This is not who I wanted to bank with. So, almost exactly one year after leaving Regions, I skipped banks again. People looked at me a little crossed eyed, but they still supported my decision and understood my reasons. Kind of.
Now, I found myself at Fifth Third, a larger regional bank. It was easy to avoid fees on my accounts, and they had a customized check card option that I really wanted. Things were great here! The personnel, the location, the technology. Sure they put the customized card on the free checking account instead of the one I had to use the most often to avoid fees like I had asked, but I could live with it. What could go wrong?
Two months after opening my account, I get a notice saying that they were consolidating their checking accounts into fewer accounts, from something like 9 or 10 accounts to like, 4 or 5 accounts or something like that. I reviewed my options and was told I had two months to make a decision. I could probably have made it worked. But really, they HAD put the fancy card on the wrong account, and I really didn’t like my new options. I didn’t want to have to pay that much attention to my accounts to avoid fees. It was simply too much work. I’m OCD – I can’t roll like that!
So I jumped shipped again. After FOUR MONTHS.
NOW, people started looking at me like I was crazy. At the time, the resident giant bank, Bank of America, was trying out some new account options, one of which was a completely electronic account. The only thing I had to do to avoid a fee was not make a teller deposit with that account. No problem, I could use the ATM! My biggest problem in the past with this bank, because I had ahem dealt with them before, was their tellers anyway. Things have changed drastically, but at the time, they were rude and SLOOOOW and super slow.
PLUS! I could get the cutest debit in the entire world!! It was perfect. And a year and a half later, low and behold, guess who was STILL at the Giant Bank. Yours truly!
But…and yes, there IS a but…something happened. At the 21 month mark, they sent me a survey asking me if I would leave if they discontinued my checking account!
No joke! Like, what the hell was going on?! Did I have the worst luck or was it just bad timing? A lot of banks were scrambling around at the time trying to figure out how to boost their profits since the government passed a law stating they needed our permission to sign us up for overdraft protection now, and it was cutting quite a bit into their profits, apparently.
I was SO upset. They only had two options: since I didn’t want to pay a fee, and since I didn’t have direct deposit, I either had to keep $1500 in the checking account (which I don’t like to do because it aggravates my obsessive compulsive disorder), OR I had to keep $10,000 in the bank between all of my accounts at all times. Um…no. Thanks for making me feel like the most broke person in the world.
At this point, my bank hopping had become a joke. I gathered up my crap once AGAIN, for count ’em, the FOURTH time in THREE years, and moved my money to a SMALL local bank.
TO BE CONTINUED……….