If you are happy with your bank, good on you. We wish you a long happy life together. But maybe you’re starting to see Red Flags. You try to explain it away, not wanting to face the truth. But the reality is, it’s time to bring this relationship to a close. If your bank is sketchy or isn’t treating you right, take your business elsewhere. Here is how to know when enough is enough.
1) FEES! The recession recovery saw many of our banks instituting fees at every turn. Annual fees for credit cards and checking accounts, hefty overdraft fees, transaction costs, fees to use online banking. I bank with one of the biggest and, a couple of years ago when my wife and I were moving, we got slaughtered with overdraft fees in between jobs. I had great luck marching into my local branch with a sense of righteous indignation. To keep my business, my banker cancelled $70 in fees! If you are in a similar situation, try this. If that doesn’t work, and the fees keep coming, consider a local option. Community banks and credit unions can’t afford to tick you off. They keep costs low.
2) When Life Changes. Perhaps what once worked is no longer a good fit. Switching banks is a pain, but it will be worth it in the long run. Evaluate your current situation. Maybe you work during the hours that your bank is open. Maybe your family situation has changed your banking needs. Maybe your bank doesn’t have convenient branches in the places you work and travel. The possibilities are endless. Just make your banking life a priority. It’s hard enough to keep finances in check. You might as well have a bank that is convenient for you. It makes the rest of your financial life so much easier.
3) Technological Deficiency. Bank apps are generally terrible. But in order for me to bank with you, I need your app to be at least sort of not terrible. If you can’t even offer me that, I’m taking my business elsewhere. And you should too. Tech-conscious banks offer all kinds of automated wonderment. Let them text you when you are in danger of overdrafting. Make bill pay reminders automatic. You’ve got no room for your head for all this stuff, and excellent online and mobile banking service can make your life easier. And more profitable.
4) ETC. I won’t spend too much time on these. If your bank employees treat you badly, go somewhere that dotes on you. Also, check that any bank you are affiliated with is up to date with its FDIC insurance. That way you can be sure the bank won’t fold on you. You can check this at the FDIC’s website.
Remember above all things, the bank is a service to you. You are a busy, intelligent, fancy person, and you demand a certain modicum of respect and competence from your banking. Demand no less. It’s out there after all.