Sanding our assholes with 150 grit. Slowly. Lovingly.

Fuck you, Bank of America

Bank of America acquired my bank, Fleet, some time ago. With Fleet I had free checking with direct deposit.

Now, Bank of America has decided in their infinite wisdom that there is no such thing as free checking unless you have a minimum balance. My account now carries a monthly $5 fee.

Well, so long, Bank of America. There are a half dozen banks I can get completely fee-free checking from, so why do I need YOUR ass?

Not that they particularly need MY ass, but my ass plus all my neighbors' asses = a lot of asses lost today.
Permalink muppet 
August 25th, 2005
what's the minimum balance? $1000?

yeah, it's a scam... they can lend out $10,000 @ prime with that $1000 (like $650/yr?), which far far outweighs the admin costs of cheques... banks are so fucking profitable for doing nothing but risk assessment, its unbelievable...
Permalink Kenny 
August 25th, 2005
wait.. what? They only need $1,000 in capital to secure your $10,000 loan? Wha?
Permalink muppet 
August 25th, 2005
...ah yes - banks can lend out more money than they actually have. The exact amount is a matter for legislation. Not the sort of thing they tend to talk about as it worries people...
Permalink a cynic writes... 
August 25th, 2005
No offence, muppet, but I can't see *anyone* wanting your disease-ridden oozing and malfunctioning ass :)
Permalink Mat Hall 
August 25th, 2005
Banks are disgusting.

Come to Canada where we have even less competition, and even with that the big banks want to merge. Use a bank machine other than your banks and you get a $1.50 (or more) service charge from the bank machine company, AND you get another $1.50 service charge from your bank for using another bank machine. For someone getting out $20 this is a 15%(!) service charge. To put the cherry on top, the banks have all been getting rid of their bank machines (RBC, for instance, replaces their own bank machines with a white-box bank machine company that RBC partly owns. Teehee, now you have no choice but to pay $3 to use a bank machine! Shazzzam!).

I recently was offered overdraft protection on an account (with RBC) and figured why not - I've never gone into overdraft, but it can't hurt to have the buffer. A month later I saw the $3 "overdraft protection fee" on my account. Give me a break. Note that if I did ever go into overdraft the OD amount is charged at like 20% interest. I immediately cancelled it. At the same desperate-to- grow-on-the-backs-of- ignorant-customers bank, I recently transferred money from a credit line to an account (it was a complex bank account shuffle as, like most Canadians, I'm tied into multiple accounts at multiple banks and thus have to balance them all out), and was surprized when I got a 2% immediate "transfer" charge. Given that my transfer was a single day use of this money, this effectively was a >372% per annum interest rate. Nice.

I have no love in my heart for banks.
Permalink Dennis Forbes 
August 25th, 2005
When I was in junior high I helped a retired nuclear engineer work his own lumber mill and do a foundation for the house he was building for himself. He had a strong aversion to banks and buried his money in barrels. As he was retired at the ripe old age of 35 I couldn't much question his intelligence nor sanity.

I know I'm going off topic here but now I've started talking about him....

The guy built his own three story house, complete with hydroelectric and solar power. He had a large bank of telco batteries in the basement that stored the power. Anyway, I just never cease to be impressed when I think about him.
Permalink I am Jack's barrel bank 
August 25th, 2005
+++Come to Canada where we have even less competition, and even with that the big banks want to merge. Use a bank machine other than your banks and you get a $1.50 (or more) service charge from the bank machine company, AND you get another $1.50 service charge from your bank for using another bank machine. For someone getting out $20 this is a 15%(!) service charge. To put the cherry on top, the banks have all been getting rid of their bank machines (RBC, for instance, replaces their own bank machines with a white-box bank machine company that RBC partly owns. Teehee, now you have no choice but to pay $3 to use a bank machine! Shazzzam!).
+++

This happens here except that 90% of all ATMs are bank of america ATMs, so it's either be their customer or die of a thousand cuts.
Permalink muppet 
August 25th, 2005
... or don't use ATMs. I don't mean to sound obtuse, but I haven't used an ATM in many, many years - I found it to be too much of a temptation (too easy to withdraw money from savings) and too much hassle (for the reasons already mentioned).

This seems to fall into the category of, "Gee, what did we ever do before ATMs?"
Permalink bpd 
August 25th, 2005
UK banks were more or less forced to abandond charging people for using ATMs belonging to a bank other than their own -- people kicked up a stink, questions were asked in The House, etc., and the practice was more or less done away with "voluntarily". A few still stick at it, and there a lot of "in store" ATMs that charge a "convenience fee", but in general I can use any ATM without fear that I'll be charged for withdrawing my own money.
Permalink Mat Hall 
August 25th, 2005
bpd -

I don't carry big amounts of cash around on me because I work in the city, and because I'd spend it. It's much better for me to have only what I need on me on any given day.
Permalink muppet 
August 25th, 2005
bpd,

ATMs were introduced to make things cheaper for the banks - instead of sucking up a teller's time for minutes, you can just deal with an ATM. The ratio of customers per employed bank teller has gone up astronomically because of ATMs. Now that it's a major hassle getting personal service (justified by ATMs), the cost of ATMs have skyrocketed. Pretty tricky.
Permalink Dennis Forbes 
August 25th, 2005
Oh, and the $1.50 charge for ATMs, introduced by the big banks, was intended to destroy credit unions and off-brand banks (virtual banks). How dare they offer reasonable business models that don't suck endless service charges for a token service?
Permalink Dennis Forbes 
August 25th, 2005
Dennis, that is why if you live in Canada you should own some of the banks. If you are going to get screwed by them you might as well get paid by them (in the form of dividends). Take a look at a long-term chart of one or all of the big 5 Canadian banks. Aside from the occasional 5-10% dip (not including 1987) the stock prices are on a steady march upwards. And that doesn't include the dividends you get.
Permalink 0xCC 
August 25th, 2005
0xCC,

I suspect this is why there is limited official outrage about the ploys by the banks: People who inevitably have them as a large percentage of their portfolio hold their tongue about it.

The Canadian banking sector, outside of a couple of bright stars (like Scotiabank) has been an absolute disaster - a bunch of creativeless, poorly directed and money sucking institutions that generally make money disappear at a staggering rate (RBC, again as an example, has pissed away billions in the US market. Feel good about that everytime you pay a service fee to fund the CEO-of-the-days futile empire building). One of the most innovative and actually modern expansive "banks" was actually a Trust company - Canada Trust offered long service hours, lots of services (like the first major rollout of ATMs), less fees, it focused on the retail sector, and so on. It grew exponentially (without even requiring mergers), and was the financial market superstar. Of course TD had to buy them up.
Permalink Dennis Forbes 
August 25th, 2005
All Banks are corrupt and evil institutions but much like sewers living without them is unhealthy.
Permalink Simon Lucy 
August 25th, 2005
Moslem laws against charging interest cause alternative financing arrangements: for example, instead of lending you money to buy a house and charging you interest on the loan, a lending institution might buy the house and let you rent-to-own.
Permalink Christopher Wells 
August 25th, 2005
on a somewhat related note, i have walked up to 30 minutes or drive an extra 10K just to avoid service charges, and i religiously maintain a minimum balance... and, of course, i never use interac for purchases... only in emergency situations do i get charged for anything on my bank account... (i also slide in under the maximum allowable free cheques a month)

i would do this even if i was worth a billion dollars...

fucking banks...
Permalink Kenny 
August 25th, 2005
>> Well, so long, Bank of America. There are a half dozen banks I can get completely fee-free checking from, so why do I need YOUR ass? <<

Talk to the branch manager. Explain that you'll be taking your business elsewhere unless you continue to receive free checking like you were accustomed to.

When they laugh at you, *then* you can leave.

BTW: Wachovia (used to be First Union) is pretty much the same.

What you want is a credit union, or a local bank with only 2-3 branches. Those are the guys who want your business.
Permalink example 
August 25th, 2005
"and, of course, i never use interac for purchases..."

There should be no fee for interac on purchases.

I use interac all the time; rarely do I need to use a bank machine because I rarely need cash.
Permalink Almost H. Anonymous 
August 25th, 2005
> Talk to the branch manager. Explain that you'll be
> taking your business elsewhere unless you continue
> to receive free checking like you were accustomed to.

+1 this advice. Bank of America will listen if you just talk to them the right way. I've had BoA for a number of years and have had to talk to them a few times about our banking relationship.

Most recently:
Me: "Hi, I'd like to be able to download my statements
  into Quicken, can you enable my account please?"
Them: "Sure thing Mr. Thomas, there is a $15 service
    charge for that though."
Me: "Can you check my balance first? Do you really
  think I should have to pay this fee?"
Them: "Sir, we're happy to turn this on for free.
  Thanks for using Bank of America."

Banks make far more money off you than you make from them. They assume almost no risk (thanks FDIC) when you hold less than $100k in a savings account. You are valuable to them, not really the other way around. Try to bargain with them and don't hesitate to leave.

Other posters have mentioned Credit Unions. I've never been a member of one, but two guys I work with are members of the local university union and love it.

Good luck with it!
Permalink Jeff Thomas 
August 25th, 2005
I rarely, if ever, pay bank service charges. I have two accounts -- a chequing with PC Bank and a savings account with ING Direct.

PC Bank is available through major grocery stores in Canada. It is underwritten by CIBC so I can access all of their ATMs free of charge as well as get money when I buy groceries. There are no charges, cheques are free, online banking is free etc.

ING Direct is a virtual bank that has good rates on savings accounts, no service fees and a good online banking site. The two accounts are linked -- I can transfer to and from PC Bank from the ING website. It does take two business days to transfer money around. I like this since it makes it harder to spend the savings account money.

Are there not 'no-service fee' style banks in the US?
Permalink O Canader 
August 25th, 2005
Jeff -

I frankly don't have enough love or affection for BoA to be bothered dealing with them over this. I'd much rather just open new accounts and print new checks than go hat in hand asking them to waive their new fees.
Permalink muppet 
August 25th, 2005
>Are there not 'no-service fee' style banks in the US?
Well, there are several thousand banks in the US. Not like some countries where the number of banks can be counted on the fingers of your hand.

The markups in the banking industry can be breath taking, so some virgin who's never seen what they are raking in. For example, Citibank borrows money at 2.5% (commercial bonds) and loans it out at 21% to 42% interest (plus late charges etc).

However, due to the consolodations/mergers going on in the industry, someone has to pay for all those lawyers and new carpets and CEO bonuses, and that someone is *you*.
Permalink Peter 
August 25th, 2005
<<There should be no fee for interac on purchases.>>

hrm... i think you're right... i've become so prejudiced against using my bank card for anything that i never bothered to investigate further... plus, its so easy to pull out the ol' visa...
Permalink Kenny 
August 25th, 2005
...go hat in hand...

You don't need to grovel; you are the customer and they (should) want your money. Just go to them and tell them plainly what you want. They will probably say no, corporate policy, no local discretion, blah, blah, blah, but at least you have a chance of success vs. the inconvenience of changing to a different bank.
Permalink Ian Boys 
August 25th, 2005
We have a Bank of America account, and they mostly suck, but since we only use it when travelling in the states, we didn't switch when of BofA bought out SeaFirst. One good thing I can say about BofA is that when we were in Hong Kong, we got excellect service from BofA Asia because we were US BofA customers - free US and Canadian exchange, among other things.

Canadian banks suck. Everyone I know has a story about Bank of Montreal screwing something up and causing them to lose money. I've dealt with Vancity (Vancouver City Savings Credit Union) for 25 years and although they aren't perfect, they're a lot less annoying than the big banks. They have service charges, but they're among the lowest, they have good on-line banking (although it got worse in their recent upgrade), they have good mortgage rates, they still have a reasonable number of branches with actual *tellers*.

Given how little useful service banks give, I would think more people would switch to the virtual banks, like ING or Citizen's Bank.
Permalink Ward 
August 25th, 2005
"Given how little useful service banks give, I would think more people would switch to the virtual banks, like ING or Citizen's Bank."

This would seem logical, however the entrenched Canadian banks have a certain "big and solid and respectful" reputation amongst the Canadian public. It is unearned, and completely contrary to all current evidence (of robber baron management, unbelievable technical gaffes, and nefarious and risky ventures), but it's the reason why people head to a big bank when they want a banking product.
Permalink Dennis Forbes 
August 25th, 2005
Ward:

At one time I did have an account with Citizen's Bank. I had to give it up once the big banks started charging fees to withdraw money with their ATMs. Yes very anti-competitive of the big banks -- almost collusion or monopolistic the way they did it. Of course Citizen's Bank also did charge you $8/month service fees. Presidents Choice (ignore the stupid name) does not charge a monthly fee just for the privelege of having an account.
Permalink O Canader 
August 25th, 2005
My wife dealt with North Shore Credit union for her business for many years, until they were bought out by Bank of Nova Scotia. Service charges went up, they messed up her overdraft protection within a month, the branch hours went down, and the staff who had been at the branch for 10 years all turned over.

I do have a mortgage at RBC 'cause they had a good rate at the time, and we use an RBC Aviion Visa for the points, but everything else is at Vancity. We're pretty much counting on the BofA account if we ever need "big name" bank recognition.
Permalink Ward 
August 25th, 2005
I just dropped Bank of America a few days ago also. They just purchased MBNA (may they rot in hell) was part of the reason since I hate MBNA. Plus my last over draft fee cost $35 dollars. And I only went under $1.21!
Permalink  
August 25th, 2005
When did Bank of Nova Scotia buy out North Shore Credit Union? I've bank with North Shore Credit Union for years and I've never heard anything like that.
Permalink  
August 25th, 2005
>> However, due to the consolodations/mergers going on in the industry, someone has to pay for all those lawyers and new carpets and CEO bonuses, and that someone is *you*. <<

Don't forget all their branch offices. Those places are not cheap to build, what with their marble countertops, granite tile, and walnut paneling.

In a way, they're temples to money.
Permalink example 
August 25th, 2005
Sorry, I probably have alzheimers... I thought it was NSCU, but apparently not. I can't find anything on-line to tell me who BofNS bought out, so I'll have to look up some old cheques... It was on the west side of Lonsdale is all I can remember now.
Permalink Ward 
August 25th, 2005
Oops, not NSCU, National Trust.
Permalink Ward 
August 25th, 2005

This topic was orginally posted to the off-topic forum of the
Joel on Software discussion board.

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