Ask The Readers: Where Do You Bank?

Alright guys and gals, I need your help on this one. With banks closing left and right and their fees going up, many people are changing where they do their banking, either by force or by choice. Even though I live 23 miles from the closest Bank of America, I still have my main checking and a small savings account there. (My emergency and other savings is at ING, my stocks are held at Scottrade, my mutual funds at T.Rowe Price, and some loaned out money at Lending Club.) If I need to make a deposit, I just mail it in or make the trek to the bank. There is a local credit union here open to anyone that I would actually prefer to bank with, but the reasons I have stayed with them are three-fold:

1. I am a stockholder, and switching banks would feel like shooting myself in the foot.
2. While they have had their problems, they seem to be pretty stable right now.
3. I have all my e-bills and autopayments working perfectly. Everything gets paid when it needs to get paid, and I can also take a look at all my other accounts while inside the BofA dashboard.

All that being said, I know that some have major problems with them – there are always problems with any bank. So in the interest of opening up a discussion about the pro and con experiences we have all had with our banks, I want to ask you a few questions: Where do you do your banking? Are you happy with your current arrangement? What would make you switch? I am hopeful that if we get a few opinions on different banks, those unhappy with theirs might be willing to make a switch. Let’s talk!

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Comments (18)

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  1. Abby says:

    For our regular banking, we use PNC, a regional bank that seems to get bigger every time I turn around.

    We started out with them because we had a good workplace banking deal years ago – we’ve stayed with them for your reasons regarding BofA – easy online bill pay, with everything set up and working without much thought. And we have reasonably easy access to ATMs, too.

    And again like you, I’m eligible for a great credit union. But switching would be a job of work, and I’m not clear that the benefits outweigh the possible hassles of the transfer.

    Most of our money is in online accounts – ING and Ally – but we like being able to use the ATM without fees, so for now, we’re not likely to change.

  2. Dawn says:

    Personally, I bank at a credit union. No fees, free coin counting, etc. etc Love them.

    For work, we use Wachovia (now Wells Fargo). That’s what made me choose a credit union for my personal accounts.

  3. Melissa says:

    I recently left US Bank after they botched my refinance and I lost my 4.5% fixed rate.

    I’m now with First National Bank (the Brick and Mortar owner of FNBO Direct.)

  4. Rini says:

    I consider ING my primary bank, but a brick-and-mortar is still a necessity for us, if only to cash the various small checks we get for surveys and rebates and the like.

    We currently use Compass, but I am “shopping”. We got a notice this week that Compass is implementing a monthly service charge unless you meet their requirements for “activity”. I am not confident in my ability to remember to follow their rules and would rather switch to a “free means free” sort of account.

    We’re considering a credit union we just became eligible for, but I have misgivings about what extra limitations it might carry.

    Also, I have my business account at Compass currently, and I like being able to seamlessly transfer money to myself. The credit union does not offer a business account that would work for me.

    So in short, I’m looking forward to the rest of the comments here! 🙂

  5. Craig says:

    I do my banking at Citibank and happy as long as they don’t go out of business (mets need to start winning). The money market account has decent interest rates and all my accounts are there and organized for me.

  6. Melissa says:

    I use Wachovia (Wells Fargo) for checking and actually was with SouthTrust (before they got bought out by Wachovia). I used to have my savings acct with them until the interest rate got so ridiculously low that I switched my savings/emergency fund/money of that sort over to ING. While the rate is not so hot at ING right now, I’m happy to leave my money there for now. I’m also happy with Wachovia/WF at the moment as the acct truly is fee-free and I can pretty much do anything I need online. Kind of wished my checking acct earned interest but (although I haven’t looked into it) I’m sure that getting that perk would mean a trade elsewhere and I’m not sure it would be worth it. Also, my wallet was stolen last year and I was really pleased with the customer service I received through that process (no hassle reversal of charges made to my debit card and I had a new card in the mail on Monday…the wallet was stolen Friday afternoon)

    We just refinanced our mortgage with BoA…pleased with that process so far. Had tried with 2 other banks and got scammed (and left footing the bill) on the appraisal component both times, so making it through that aspect and signing the closing documents yesterday(!) makes me feel at least a bit of confidence.

  7. fern says:

    I would never, ever bank with Bank of America or any bank that took taxpayers’ money and then fleeced them with outrageous fees and penalties.

    It may be personally convenient for you, but do you not understand the connection between world news events and YOUR bank?

    I have checking with a local community bank that was not wrapped up in the subprime mortgage crisis and my emergency savings is with an online money manager, Dollar Savings Direct.

    My investments are with T. Rowe Price and Vanguard.

  8. Annie Jones says:

    We have three bank accounts. Our primary account is with a local bank that has just two branches, but it pays interest on a regular checking account with no minimum balance.

    Our second account is also with a local bank (this one has about 8 branches city wide) and was opened strictly for my money making hobbies (eBay sales, mystery shopping, etc.) to keep them separate from our main account. It serves kind of like a savings account for us. It doesn’t pay interest, but it’s just far enough away to make it inconvenient to withdraw funds.

    Our third account is with a somewhat local credit union. Originally the CU was only for employees of a certain company where my FIL was employeed. My husband and FIL started a joint account there when my husband bought his first vehicle as a teenager and needed a small loan. He kept the account and when we married, I replaced his dad on the account. All of our past auto loans and a couple of signature loans were through this CU. It would probably be our primary bank if it were closer; it’s about 30 miles away and just has the one branch and until just recently, offered no ATM card.

  9. I’m in love with Bank of America. There is a $25 sign-up bonus. If you have a friend with an account there, they can get a $25 referral bonus. They have a keep the change program, where they round the dollar on your purchases and put the change in your savings. They match 100% for the first three months and 5% after that. I made over $100 the first year with the matching, and I’m no big spender. Oh, and free checking and debit account when you do direct deposit. Their online accounting, budgeting and e-billing has more than enough for my needs.

  10. david says:

    While I don’t agree with the banks getting bail out money, most all of the big ones did. As did the car makers, every state in the nation, the unemployed, etc. You would be hard pressed at this point to find anyone or anything that has not taken at least a little bit of bailout money in one way or another.

  11. Nicki says:

    I currently have three banks – KNBT (regional), Wachovia/WF, and ING. My local Wachovia/WF branch is super, and even though I only have that account for dividend deposits, I’ve decided to keep it. I use ING for savings, and KNBT is our regular, everyday bank. I’m considering switching to a bank closer to our new home, but am still debating and evaluating branch locations.

  12. Wojciech says:

    I use Wachovia (now Wells Fargo) for checking and have been very happy for years. Charles Schwab has all my savings and investment accounts.

    If either one is ever dishonest with me, that’s what would make me switch (and why I quickly left Bank of America).

  13. david says:

    I agree, I would too. Other people I know have said great things about Schwab – you happy with them?

  14. Wojciech says:

    Very much so. I just finished transfering the rest of my scattered investment accounts to them last week.

  15. Jane says:

    We used to have our accounts with the large banks but several years ago switched to a local credit union. We are quite happy. Our checking account has no fees, debit card access and online bill paying too. We can transfer money back and forth from our savings account on line. Love it. Have considered online banking with Ally for a savings account but my husband is hesitant that our checking account is tied to it. He thinks maybe it is too big of a risk. Know of anyway around that concern?

  16. david says:

    I don’t – other than its not a problem for me or anyone else I know. I have had my ING and BofA accounts linked for years w/o incident!

  17. Kerri says:

    I use Merrill Lynch and am a big fan. It’s banking and investments in one seamless place. But, it is a virtual place. I obviously have no bank building which scares some people but I’m comfortable with it (you simply mail in deposits). I have absolutely no need to walk into a bank and wait in line for anything. Online banking is only going to become more prevalent moving forward.
    There’s a nominal annual fee for the services, (of course you have a financial advisor) but ATM transactions are reimbursed. Rates are great and you control the level of risk in your investments.
    A banking switch is a huge one the way accounts are synced up these days: I wish you a smooth transition!

  18. Roselle says:

    Personally, my husband and I use a credit union. Originally, we were with a bigger metro bank here in the twin cities. After several months of problems with overdraft fees being outrageously expensive and putting us in a tough financial spot, we decided to save more money by switching to the credit union where we already had our own individual savings accounts. Haven’t looked back since!

    Honestly, the type of bank you end up with really depends on what you expect from them.