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Lollipops Are for Suckers

February 5, 2013

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.


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