Make Your Bank Work For You

With all the recent news about Wells Fargo opening fraudulent accounts in customer’s names that did not even request it, I figured that this would be a timely post. Over 5000 employees were accused in this case, and several whistle blowers have said they were fired when trying to report the practice. It’s important to choose the bank that is right for your situation, one that will make you money – not take your money. It seems there was a systematic failure at Wells Fargo to prevent these issues from happening, and we want to prevent this from happening to ourselves. I’m going to be sharing some advice on how to choose the bank that is right for you while trying to avoid that same situation.

Here are four important things I would focus on choosing a bank:

  1. Fees – You want to make sure you aren’t being ripped off by the bank, you want to be the one earning the money! Make sure that the fees for the accounts you are interested in (like checking, savings, etc.) are minimal. Pick a bank that doesn’t have overdraft fees or offers overdraft protection. Look for one that also has minimal maintenance fees or maintenance fees that are easy to avoid.
  2. Flexibility – Look for a bank that suits your needs. If you want to mostly bank online, make sure they have a decent system. If you want to bank in person, make sure there is a branch nearby to you. Check out the bank’s network of ATMs to withdraw cash, you don’t want to get hit with a fee for using another bank’s ATM. Many credit unions are also part of a network that allows nationwide ATM access comparable to national banks.
  3. Interest and Bonuses – If you find a few banks that you like, make sure to compare what sort of interest rates they are offering. Usually a bank offering higher interest rates will consistently do this compared to their competitors. Some banks will offer cash back for making transactions, setting up direct deposit, or using their bill payment service. Take advantage of this!
  4. Legitimacy and Culture – Absolutely make sure that the bank you are dealing with is legitimate. Make sure they are FDIC insured and do some research to be positive that nothing strange is going on. The culture of the bank is also important, just look at Wells Fargo. Because of their sales people being pushy and constantly trying to up sell new accounts, that really isn’t a place where I would want to keep my money. Find a bank where you are comfortable with the people working there. This should be a place where you want to interact with the employees.

The most important thing to do is always research as much as possible! Once again, this is going to be the place where you are storing your money. It’s worth the extra effort to make sure that everything is exactly how you want it to be. If something doesn’t feel right or the employees are off-putting, there are always other options out there.

Were/are you a Wells Fargo Customer? How do you feel about the recent news about Wells Fargo? If you are a member of another bank, what’s your opinion of that bank?

photo credit: HSBC Tottenham Court Road branch via photopin (license)

2 thoughts on “Make Your Bank Work For You

  1. Yes very timely post! The funny thing is that Wells Fargo hardly made any fees in this fraud case… What a mess though. Working in the banking industry (albeit corporate banking) I can tell you that most big banks will be a bit more aggressive up selling. If you can get over this, or avoid going into the branch, then the advantages are the much broader service offerings like good online platforms, mobile imaging for checks, atms nationwide, etc etc.

    Good message though, to do research to find the bank that serves your needs well. And relationships at those banks are important!

    • Yeah, it wasn’t really that they were making out on the fees. The individual banks and bankers were hitting their sales targets by selling all of these extra accounts that people probably didn’t need.

      I’ve found that one branch of the same bank can also be a lot different than the same bank another town over. Guess it really depends on the manager of the bank too.

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.