Banking Dos And Don'ts: Answers And Clarifications

The employee who provided us the Goofus and Gallant 19 point guide to banking has some answers to your questions and clarifications, inside…

Anon big bank employee writes:

I am willing to admit that when the email was typed last night, I was trying to “hide” where I worked and that some things came across a little arrogant. I apologize to anyone whom I may have offended. I will admit when I wrote the original message, I was up late (was sent at midnight) and didn’t have a good day. (everyone can have a bad day sometimes). I just see some things that people say on the consumerist and would rather let people have another look at what may have happened than jumping to say that “it’s always the banks fault”.

I wanted to give some input and feedback with a clearer head about some of the comments posted:

1) yes, the bank can be wrong. It can AND DOES happen, no bank is perfect. No company is perfect, if they claim to be, run for the hills! If there is a valid situation that is not being resolved, no matter what the reason, ask for the manager first, if it’s not fixed, ask for a regional manager or “priority service” so it can get fixed, keep in touch with the person you talk to so if the situation isn’t fixed by the date promised, you know who to go back to. Stay on them until it’s right. Nothing at all wrong with that. Follow up!

2) When referring to closing the account, too many people try to “pull rank” and act like the issue was caused by the bank when SOMETIMES this is not at all true. If it’s a valid reason, see #1 above, almost always something can be adjusted. Though for some customers, no matter what the employee or the bank does, they will not be happy they want MORE. Or they are asking to adjust something that is either not adjustable or match a rate/product/service that at that point is exclusive at the other bank. Someone will be willing to work with you to find another option, but if it’s not enough and the alternatives do not satisfy you, then closing the account may be the best option. Losing a customer isn’t a great option, but there are only so many solutions out there.

3) If you have any customer service person who is mis-treating you in anyway, see 1. Climb the ladder and complain complain complain. If you complain, and the regional notices it’s for a valid reason, they can give the person a disciplinary action and possibly get the person terminated. There is no reason to put up with being mistreated in any way.

4) Overdraft Fees: Yes, some banks charge for the “service” of doing an automatic transfer from a savings or Line of Credit for overdraft. But it’s always better than to not have the rent check get paid. And even better option? If you have remembered something may be coming out before the business day is out (before 2-3p, check with your online banking area), do a transfer on your own online from your Savings, also free. The computer automatically returns checks/ACH items if they will bring your account below zero. There is no buffer at my bank as a commenter had noted about their bank.

It’s also when some people who are over-drafting their account often think that threatening to close their account is going to scare the employee they are talking to, the bank has to balance number of times you overdraft your account against the likelihood you will pay it off again.

And here is a secret: Bring your account negative more than a few times or wait awhile (couple weeks) to pay it back and your debit card may be suspended until you “learn your lesson” and don’t overdraft again. (some “probationary” periods have been AS MUCH AS 6 months to a year for repeat offenders.)

5) Our bank posts credits before debits.

6) Every bank is different with the way debit (Mastercard/Visa) card transactions are presented, some will leave the transaction on your account until they post. Some will allow them to fall off after a business day. Though for paying items the second can be good since if some items have fallen off, those funds are NOT being held against your balance when items are presented and thus charging MORE overdraft fees.

7) If there is an incorrect Fee on your account, ask to have it returned, why it got there and how to make sure you don’t get it again. Sometimes a slip of a mouse when opening an account can put you in the wrong account or if you have a type of account that is based on the balance of all of your accounts, someone may have missed a checkbox and it just needs fixed.

8) If you are talking to someone about an issue or to verify a policy, get the person’s name or someway to be able to reference them. In person, get a business card or full name. On the customer service line, ask for any and every piece of information to say “this person told me this”. This can also be referenced above for 1 and 3.

9) Cashing foreign checks against an account can be a big issue. Make sure you have the funds to pay for your other items as well, or you could get a nasty surprise of overdrafts. Please check with your joint holder to make sure they didn’t cash a check against your account before yelling at the bank rep for why the bank “charged you all these fees”.