So B of A is dinging customers five bucks a month for the privilege of using their plastic teller instead of bothering one of their human tellers (who've had their hours reduced to just shy of full-time so the poor bank won't have to pay them benefits.) As far as I'm concerned, BofA can kiss it. So can Wells Fargo, Citi, Chase and every other big bastard bank.
We've moved our accounts to the local credit union, and you know what? They provide better service, have competitive rates, and are owned by the members. Oh, no! This sounds like socialism! They even give your dog a treat when you go to the drive-through.( but so does the liquor store) I digress.
Maintaining a relationship with one of these rat bastard banks is kind of like trying to maintain a relationship with someone who treats you like shit. Seriously, why are we allowing our financial institutions to treat us in ways we would never tolerate from partners or friends? Think about it...you give and give and give, follow the rules, take good care of your account, and the whole time your bank is screwing your best friend, talking shit about you to other banks, stealing money out of your purse when you're not looking, asking you for your most personal information, then losing control of it, and selling your secrets to other marketing companies so they can screw you too. If your girlfriend or boyfriend pulled this crap, you'd kick them to the curb. Unless you like being treated like crap. Evidently, too many American consumers do- that's why these big guys will continue to rape and pillage- until we take responsibility and say no more.
Over the years, I've done business with just about every major bank- closing my account at Wells Fargo was about the toughest thing I'd ever done, since at the time I did (back in the 70's) they'd been my bank since my first grade savings account was opened. It took one experience to make me realize that they were no longer the same organization I started with, when the nice tellers took my wrinkled birthday money and marked deposits in a dog-eared passbook. In 1977, I got my first real job, at the newspaper where my dad worked. It was the first time I could actually afford to buy more than one cosmetic item at a time, and back then, I was pretty careful- so when I got an overdraft notice from Wells Fargo, I was completely flustered. I did what any responsible 21-year old would do, I waited for my lunch break, then ran downstairs to my father's office. I breathlessly told him I got a notice from the bank that I didn't understand. As he launched into Parental Lecture 29-A (financial responsibility) I showed him the OVERDRAFT NOTICE. It read:
Wells Fargo has processed an item in the amount of 6,997,698.12 resulting in insufficient funds in your account. As a courtesy to you, we have paid the amount causing the overdraft, and charged your account 4.00 (Don't forget, this was 1977)
When my dad stopped snickering, and explained it was a mistake, he suggested I call the bank from his office, and let him listen on the extension, which I did. It took me a few tries to read the overdraft notice without laughing as I read the amount. This was the first time I realized that the person on the other end of the phone didn't know me, didn't care, and had no sense of humor.She was not my nice local teller. She was just a voice on the other end of the line. After keeping me on hold for 22 minutes, she came back on the line and told me to disregard the notice, because it was an 'apparent' mistake. Apparent. She did not see the paradox of her institution allowing me to use almost 7 million bucks (even for a few days) and being charged four dollars for the courtesy. She also never apologized for the apparent screw-up, instead she was rude and abrupt. Maybe because I was howling like a hyena for most of our conversation. Maybe I wasn't the only customer with an erroneous overdraft notice she was responding to, and the humor of the situation had worn thin- who knows? I do know that conversation destroyed my loyalty to the bank, and I closed my account the next day. It was no longer a symbiotic relationship, and I was done. I've opened and closed accounts at various banks over the years, and the state of customer service has only gotten worse, but this last bitch-slap by Bof A sealed it for me. No more banks. There's nothing they do for us that can't be done by a local establishment that's customer owned. The credit union has the 'we're all in this together' attitude, which beats the crap out of Bof A's 'we're out to mess you around' mentality. Plus...the dog treats.