Thursday, October 16, 2008

Where Do You Bank?

The state of Banks in America is big news. Seems every time I turn on the news, another large bank is having a problem (Wa Mu, Indy Mac, Wachovia). I'm leery of "big banks". Always have, much prefer small local banking institutions. They are insured and covered by the FDIC just like the big ones and I've consistently gotten better service from them year in and year out. I have this philosophy that I won't bank at an institution with more than 10 separate locations. The only time I deviated from that philosophy was when the Ex boyfriend insisted we bank at what is now Bank of America and we had nothing but trouble and declining customer service with each takeover/acquisition (three times in six years). When I left the relationship, I got a new bank.

GMA did a story today on The Burke and Herbert Bank, located in Northern Virginia. When I lived in the DC area, I banked at that bank. I chose Burke and Herbert for the reasons outlined above, a good small local bank, well funded, a location close to my office did not hurt either, and most importantly, the excellent customer service I received. The CEO of Burke and Herbert told GMA that he has opened new accounts this past two weeks totalling 50 million (USD) in deposits. Fifty Million, not five million. In two weeks. All I can say is wow, but I'm not surprised. Burke and Herbert is a great bank.

When I moved back to New England, I spent a decent amount of time researching the local banks, number of branches, services offered, community involvement, strength of assets, etc. I narrowed my choice down to two banks and ultimately chose one bank because it had a branch not to far from my work. Like so many banks, it eventually got gobbled up by a larger corporation (and eventually we had a loss of service, and the bank became more impersonal).

I went to my second choice bank about two years ago (It has 9 locations in eight towns) and not only am I offered all the same services as those big impersonal banks (BOA, Chase, WaMu), I am more than an account number, I am a person. I chose my local credit union for many of the same reasons, it's small, well funded, very personable and I am more than just an account number. When the time comes to refinance my car loan, my credit union is willing to work with me. Can't see BOA working with a post BK person, not in this economy! My local bank manager has already said she can try to work with me being post BK, the bank has programs for folks like me. I just can't see BOA working with me right now. I get all the benefits of the larger more impersonal banks without the fear that they may be taken over by the FDIC if they fail.

Where do you bank ?

8 comments:

Anonymous said...

I bank locally, at Corus in Chicago...

www.corusbank.com

Sista Saver said...

I have an account with a credit union. I love it, no fees or minimums. I also have a saving account with ING, thinking about opening one with HSBC since they have a higher interest rate.

Luna said...

I bank with a few of banks. I happen to love USAA (military bank) the most. It's all online, so I still keep an account with my local credit union in case I need to make a cash transaction. I also have a savings account with ING because generally they have good interest rates versus USAA or my local CU.

Budget Mama said...

I'm with Wells Fargo and BofA. I'm going to get rid of BofA soon and then look for a different bank-not sure which yet. I need to do some research.

Les@SpillingBuckets said...

I use Chase because there are a lot of branches both here in upstate NY and where I grew up in CT. Chase has my checking account, but they don't have many high yeild savings options, so I also have an online account with Citibank. (no branches here at all, so it has to be 100% online)

For a while I used People's and really liked them.

CookinsForMe said...

I bank locally at Austin Bank. Speaking of banks and their safety we went to a Wal-Mart Supercenter tonight and the little bank inside (I don't remember the name of it) had a big sign out on a table that said something like, "Small bank, no debt". The man person and I thought that was kind of funny and sad at the same time.

Amber C said...

I bank at a credit union and a local bank. I've checked there ratings and both are still highly rated.

Anonymous said...

Don't bother with HSBC - their rates are only marginally better than ING and their customer service is AWFUL. Their ACH transfers routinely take twice as long as they do at ING, which can be a real problem if you need your money in a hurry.