The Almighty Dollar

Restoring some fiscal sanity in our -- negative savings rate -- lives

3.10.2006

Banks suck!

If any of you are fully satisfied with your bank's customer service, please tell me which bank you use.

My husband and I have multiple accounts at a local bricks-and-mortar bank and an online bank. I opened my online account years ago, mostly because I was so fed up with my local bank. The tellers were rude, they screwed up basic wire transfers (it was for my wedding, no less!), and miscellaneous service charges appeared sporadically on our statements.

At the time, I was uncomfortable moving all of my money online, especially since online banks were so new, and chose to keep my local bank account open. I only keep a minimal amount of cash in it and transfer most of my money to the online account. Still, I prefer having the option of physically walking into a bank, if necessary, but mine only has branches near work and none in our neighborhood.

This past weekend, we decided to move our accounts to a local bank that has a branch up the street from home. My husband went to the bank's Web site and saw it offered an online application. Great, that sounds easy! So he filled it out, hit submit, and received a message saying the application could not be fully processed and that a representative would call him.

Isn't the point of offering applications online so you can avoid having to speak to a person or physically go to the bank? Plus, we wanted to open a joint account, but apparently this option was not available online. The site never mentioned that.

For the next few days, my husband got annoyed at playing phone tag with the representative, and finally told him to forget about it. I guess if we want to open an account, we will have to go into the bank.

Now I'm not sure if I want to go through the hassle of changing banks, since this one seems little better than my current one. And I haven't been thrilled with my online bank either. Its Web site is fine, but could definitely use some improvements. And there are frequent technical problems, requiring me to wait for 10 minutes on the phone or 3 days by secure email, before they are addressed.

At this rate, I'm tempted just to stash my cash under the mattress!