Lollipops Are for Suckers
Yesterday, I scanned a check at my computer and uploaded it to my Ally Bank account. A couple hours later, I got an email from Ally Bank (nee GMAC) confirming that my deposit had been processed successfully. In a couple hours, I will close my Sovereign account. Only the lollipops at the teller’s window will be missed.
This is not a decision that was made in haste. Local banks have been working on this for decades.
When I was a kid, my father and I visited several banks every month to do the family business. It was very personal. A guy in a jacket and tie greeted us by name. He offered me a lollipop, asked my dad how things were going, and thanked us for our patronage. They sent us calendars and made the initial deposit when I opened my first account. They were thrilled to have our business.
When I bought my home, we financed locally. Before the closing, the loan had been sold. Within a year, it was sold again — this time to GMAC. When we decided to refinance, our balance was too small to interest local institutions. GMAC was happy to accommodate. The last time we refinanced — yes, we as in Ally and me — I learned about their other products. CDs, money market accounts, free checking, free use of any ATM, and 7×24 domestic phone support secured my business. We closed all other accounts except for a no fee, no interest local checking account at Sovereign. We used the bank to buy money orders and cashiers checks, and to cash checks to us. Last month Sovereign decided to charge me $5 per month for that service. This month I decided not to pay $5 per month for that service.
If your bank isn’t thrilled to do business with you, fine one that is.