When I was a child, I remember going to the bank every Friday with my mom. She’d run inside to deposit her paycheck, or pull up to the drive-thru window where the teller would sometimes put a candy in the cash envelope if he or she saw me or my siblings sitting in the car. It’s all very quaint and rose-colored now, but that notion of going to the bank on a regular basis appears to be a thing of the past. [More]
Remember when the country was full of local and regional banks with wacky local and regional ad campaigns? We sort of do. Reader Jason’s father worked for one such institution in Arizona, Valley National Bank. The company later became part of Bank One, then Chase, but not before distributing this very weird jingle tape as a Christmas gift to employees. [More]
Chris happened to live in Minnesota when he opened his first bank account at age 18, and went with Wells Fargo. They were everywhere, convenient, and the rest of his family were all signing up with them too. Shrug – why not? He stuck with them for more than a decade. He moved around the continent and a lot of things changed through his twenties, but his Wells Fargo account was a constant. Sometimes it was a little inconvenient, but he stuck with them out of habit. Until his balance fell low enough that they began charging him fees for the privilege of being their customer. It took him less than an hour to switch everything over to a local bank that isn’t fee-happy. Why, he wonders, did he stick with Big Stagecoach for so long?
So you’re tired of banking at one of the big, faceless national chains and want to keep your money local? You can try one of the recent sites devoted to the local bank movement, like anewwayforward.org or moveyourmoney.info, or you can follow this Kiplinger columnist’s lead and do it yourself with a little online research.
Credit unions might be attractive alternatives to big commercial banks, but they’re not crisis-proof. OregonLive says about a fifth of the nation’s credit unions are having financial troubles right now. To get in better financial health, they’re introducing fees for services that have long been free, and even asking members to move their deposits to other institutions.