I’m in the process of switching banks. My current bank, Compass Bank, was a small community bank that I loved for many reasons, but was recently acquired by BBVA and now they suck. In the last few months, I bet I’ve accumulated over $250 or $300 in fees simply because I don’t read my mail all that frequently, and I don’t balance my checkbook monthly like I probably should. So in the process of searching for a new bank, I’ve come to learn that I’m a demanding customer. I want everything, I want it to be free (or at least modest and predictably consistent), and the very last thing I want to do is ever think about or deal with my bank.
For instance, I was shocked at how many banks wanted me to think about my account balances all the time. If the balance dropped below a certain point, they were going to charge me. What? Really? You’re charging me for the privlidge of having access to my money and loaning it out to others? I don’t think so.
I was surprised at how many things they wanted to fee me for. Statement? Fee. Overdraft protection. Fee. Using another bank’s ATM? Fee. Using the ATM at all? Fee. Online access? Fee. Check images? Fee. Quit nickle and diming me to death (what BBVA Compass did to me)
I was surprised at the number of banks that were proud of the # of branches or ATMs they had. I don’t ever want to visit a branch, ever. An ATM occasionally is nice, but I’m not driving out of my way for it. So don’t boast about the # of ATMS you have, but rather boast about the fact that I could use any atm, anywhere, for free. Now that’s convenient.
I was also shocked to see the number of banks that wouldn’t let me open an account online. You mean I have to come in? Really?
And I was shocked to see the number of options I had for various checking and savings and business accounts. There you go making me think about my account again. Just give me a checking account and a savings account with some competitive interest. The rest of it I assume should be included (statements, ATMS, online access, transferability, etc)
I’ve recently discovered USAA and am in total bank-love. I could open the account online, transfer $ from my non-USAA accounts, deposit checks with my iPhone (LOVE THIS!), they pay all my non-USAA ATM fees up to $15/mo, the list goes on and on. They just understood me. They made banking a non-issue in my life. My only hope is they open small business accounts next. (By the way, what’s the difference? A checking account should be a checking account. I want all the same features, who cares what kind of entity owns the account?)
So bravo USAA. I applaud you for fundamentally understanding your customers – they’re such a passionate group that they take time out of their busy lives to write blog posts about you.
(disclaimer – I’m not being compensated in any way by USAA for writing this. I’m just that happy I found them).