Small Banks

Small regional banks are so much better than the huge monsters like Bank of America or Chase.

I’ve been trying to open an account for my professional organization of which I am treasurer. We don’t move large amounts of money, we conduct just half a dozen transactions a year, our membership fee is $20, but BofAm was treating me like they suspected I was a drug lord. They wanted mountains of paperwork. I provided all of it. Then they wanted letterhead, which we don’t even have. Then they wanted me to go on a conference call with a Business Specialist in Florida, the local banker, and the president of the organization. I wondered why we don’t ask the President of the US to be on the call just to make it even more fun.

After struggling with them for a month (!), I came to my senses, went to a small regional bank, talked to a live human being in person, and had everything done in under an hour.

And it was the same thing for our mortgage. We had first gone to BofAm who treated us like total undesirables, although we had great credit scores and a good down payment. But they just couldn’t get over N being a recent immigrant. So we went to the local bank where the bank’s owner met us, showed us pictures of his grandkids, and assured us that if we ever encountered any financial trouble and had difficulty coming up with a payment, we just had to talk to him and we’ll figure out what to do. And it’s been fantastic ever since.

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6 thoughts on “Small Banks”

  1. And that’s why I do the majority of my banking at a credit union.

    Oh the stories of the dumbassery that results from having to use a major bank for a small business account! One would think being larger would mean more convenience and more security, but no.

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    1. “majority of my banking at a credit union.”

      Yeah, back when I was in the US as soon as I was eligible I opened an account at a credit union and far preferred it to the bank (and my previous bank wasn’t bad or a national giant or anything, the credit union was just …. better).

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  2. Yeah, when I was trying to get bank letters to send in with my then-fiancés immigration paperwork, it took 5 minutes on the phone with my local bank to arrange to get the letter to pick up the next day.

    It took 4 phone calls and finally going into the local branch of BoA to find someone who even knew what I was talking about, 5 days to process the request “it has to go through corporate” and then they charged my account $10, without telling me ahead of time that there would be a fee, and mailed it insted of faxing it to the local branch (like I had requested because I was running into deadlines)

    Closing my account with them the next year took multiple trips to the branch and hours of waiting time.

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  3. I still remember I could not get a partial loan for a used car when I moved to the US. No credit history or credit score. So Wells Fargo, even though they knew my paycheck, didn’t want to extend the loan. It was an eng. prof. salary! What I had was a cash flow problem, normal when moving across continents. No big banks wanted either. In the end, the guy at the car dealership had to pull a personal favor from a local bank. And he let me “test drive” the car the whole week while the banking got resolved. I am now a happy customer of a local dealership and bank.

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