I opened an account at a small (teeny) local (in-state only) bank - my office switched their account from a large mega-corporate, multi-state, ate-up-six-national-banks-in-their-last-takeover bank to a smaller one.
And I found there are some real advantages to a small bank over the mondo-mega-banks:
- Free checking.
- Automatic overdraft protection.
- Great interest rates on my account.
- No monthly service charges.
- Three regular teller windows and one with wheelchair access**
- No ropes or stanchons making a single line - just walk up and pick a teller. Too many folks waiting? One of the managers opens a second or third window.
- Large TV running the financial networks, with closed captions - something to watch while waiting in line.
- Friendly people who knew my name the day after I opened my account.
- I can even borrow a magazine from the lobby to read while I am at lunch, even if I have no banking business that day.
** low desk with a cutaway for the wheels - I’m not in a chair, but I was impressed with the design
But the coolest thing about this bank is that they have free ice cream for customers. I did not know this when I opened the account.
Really - there is a top-loading cooler in the lobby filled lots of choices like Nutty Buddy sundae cones, Toll House Chocolate Cookie vanilla sandwiches, Creamsicles, and frozen fruit bars.
AND!!! when I mentioned I couldn’t eat sugar, they are ordering in special sugar-free ice cream for me (and anyone else who can’t have sugar)!!!
Now is that customer service, or what!!
Wow!! I’m impressed! I’ve always loved my credit union, but as wonderful as their service is, they’ve NEVER had ice cream in the lobby. Of course, since they’ve changed from a federal to a state charter, they’re now available for anyone in the 5-county area, so they’ll soon be bigger and busier than ever. They’d need a fully-stocked walk-in freezer.
Then again, with direct deposit, check cards, and on-line banking, it’s rare for me to have to go into any branch office, so even if they DID have ice cream, I’d never get any. Still, that’s mighty nifty!
Oops, forgot to mention: it’s at the end of the block from my office, so it’s not too far to walk, and right across from my favorite Japanese restaurant. Really convenient.
The check options are really great, too. I’ve always had yer standard blue or yellow ‘safety checks’, but now I have Jeff Gordon checks (mainly to annoy (former)Roommate - he’s an Earnhardt fan).
I like my bank! Hmmmm. I think it’s time for a frozen fruit bar.
It amazes me that people use big banks at all. I personally use a small one. They have only 10 branches, but they cover where I work and where I live, so that’s fine with me. And I get free checking, and no ATM fees.
If I went to Fleet, they’d charge me for both of those, and would probably charge me even more to talk to a teller. And for what benefit?
I worked at a small bank for 11.5 years. I continue to bank there. Great service, great people. I love it.
I bank both at a local credit union (for savings) and a small bank (for checking). I get weekly mini-statements in my e-mail so I can keep my checkbook balanced more regularly than monthly or quarterly, which is nice. And my bank has free popcorn.
I love our little local bank out in the country. Mr. S banked there for years, before he ever met me. When we moved into his house, I opened an account there, and the tellers already knew me by name because I’d been going in there with him. We have different last names, and the tellers would always know to give one of us both bank statements (we keep totally separate accounts). There are always treats on the first Friday of the month, and sometimes other days too.
They recently built another branch and moved al the old tellers there, so now we have new tellers who are still learning our names. But the bank VP who set up our mortgage always waves and says hi when he sees us.
I wish my bank gave free ice cream
I’ll soon be eligible for a credit union (well, technically, I am now, but since I’m moving and all, it doesn’t make sense to set up an account here) through the University. I’m thinking about going for it - for a savings account anyway. That way, I can stick my excess financial aid there, and gradually change my checking there as well, as I get all my automatic deductions switched over.
That is, if they’re nice to me when I walk in the door.