To the Big Bank, the little guy is just an annoyance. They offer less services, charge more fees, and pay us minuscule interest.
Why is that, do you think? Personally, I think it’s more of the same… uncontrolled, compassion-less greed.
About a month or so ago, I received a letter from Wells Fargo explaining to that my “always free” checking account was not going to be free any longer. This was originally a Wachovia account. Wells bought out Wachovia a while back. They recently completed their changeover in Florida. I guess this was an inevitable thing.
Well, I just don’t believe that a banking institute should be charging me fees to use my money to make more money for themselves. Granted, I don’t have millions on deposit with them, but neither do I cost them much for the services that I do utilize. So, I closed my Wells Fargo accounts.
I opened a checking and savings at a small neighborhood bank within walking distance of my house here in Tampa. Everything is free. I don’t have to maintain any minimum balances. I don’t have to have a direct deposit. I don’t have to do anything to get these wonderful services from this little bank.
I’m treated like I’m someone there, not just an account number. When they say they give you personal treatment, they mean it. This little neighborhood bank treats me like a neighbor, not a number. It’s pretty refreshing. So, all is well in that situation.
For all my adult life, I’ve always maintained two separate banking institutions. I keep my money split between the two. My father, a child of the Depression, did this also. I believe that is the source of my own habit regarding this.
My other bank, with which I’ve been very happy for the past few years is 5/3 Bank. Saturday last, I received a letter from 5/3 with a wonderful multi-page color brochure explaining to me all the wonderful benefits of the upcoming changes to my checking account. Uh-oh! I know what’s coming.
My checking at 5/3 has been totally free since I opened the account a few years ago; not anymore, though. 5/3 is now going the way of Wells Fargo. They are tactfully pitching their wonderful new checking account features all the while candy-coating the fact that their sticking it to you.
I went to my local 5/3 branch today and canceled my accounts. I took my hoard in cash… all $145.23 of it. OK, so I don’t have a balance like Donald Trump. I’m just a little guy. I need a bank account to pay household bills. That’s about it. Still, I can’t afford to keep the balances they demand to be exempt from service fees. So, I severed my relationship with this institution.
I took the aforementioned hoard over to a local credit union that has been in Tampa since 1943 and has recently opened their doors to a wider customer base. Just like at the little neighborhood bank where I took my Wells Fargo hoard, I was treated like a neighbor and friend. I was offered coffee and accounts were opened for me that are 100% free. They even provided me with my first box of checks for free.
I am in banking bliss now. I have checking and savings accounts at two institutions for no fees whatsoever. I have moved out of the realm of the big banks. I don’t think I’ll ever be returning to that rarified strata. I couldn’t care less if all the big greedy banks in this country fail tomorrow. Their greed and lack of compassion is sickening. Sadly, it’s not just big banks that are like this these days.
There’s more to life than just money, folks. Easy for me to say that, huh? I have no money.