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At My Bank, NSF = Non-Sufficient Friendliness - Comments

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This is nothing new, and many more well-known and established banks are becoming very guilty of this. I recently suffered this indignity with Wells Fargo. I went in there and said the same thing to the bank manager. The fortunate part for me was that I didn't have to go through several people. The very bank manager simply said: "What can we do to make you happy?" I said that the one thing that would make me happy would be for him to take all of those fees back because if they had simply applied my deposit first, none of the fees would have ocurred. Sure enough, he reversed all six fees. I am still with that branch, and love my banker because of it.

I say if you get this kind of treatment, keep asking for someone higher up the chain, or move your bank account altogether. Customers need not be treated in such ways.

I like my bank, even since it became a Compass Bank branch several years ago. This is just about a silly mistake they made, when Compass acquired my bank.

My family had banked with the small "First National Bank of Localville" for forty years. I opened my first savings account there at age five, with a piggy bank full of change, and when I was in my early teens, my father opened for me a "student checking account". Over the years, of course, it stopped being a student account and was converted to a regular checking account, but I kept the account there even when I moved away and then back to my hometown, had the account for almost twenty years.

The Localville bank was sold to a regional bank, which was then acquired by Compass Bank. Compasss helpfully sent me a new ATM card and new checks with the new bank name on them. Unfortunately, they'd dredged up some old account information, saw the word "student" in the account name -- and printed up the new checks with me listed as "Robert Student"!

The folks at the bank were very nice, corrected the mistake and had a new ATM card and checks sent, with my correct name. But I wondered how many "Mr. Jr" or "Mr. MD" accounts they'd created in the switchover.

I think I'm the second person here who can praise WaMu. I've been with them for about 6 or 7 years and have only had a few problems. But for the most part they're great.

Maybe it's more a branch problem then a bank problem. The tellers at my local branch and other area branches are always friendly and nice. One time I went in and made a deposit. I got home and checked my balance online and noticed the money wasn't there. What the heck? So I pulled my deposit slip out of my purse and noticed the account number was different. They don't print the entire account number of course but it always has the last several digits and the one on my slip was one number off of what mine is, which means my money was deposited in somebody else's account. So I promptly called the bank and spoke to the lady who had made my deposit and explained the problem. She was wonderful! She apologized for the mistake and corrected it immediately over the phone. Now granted she should of made sure that the name on the deposit slip matched the name on the account she was depositing the funds into. But the fact that she fixed it immediately and didn't require me to come into the branch redeemed herself in my eyes.

I've had a few problems with overdrafts, most of them my own fault. But the last time it was a goof more on their end and I went in asking them to reverse the charges and they did with the agreement that I sign up for their automatic savings plan, which means that they'll transfer $25 a month from my checkings to savings, there won't be a $3 fee on my savings for being less then $300 and if I do have an overdraft again, they'll take the money out of savings instead of charging me a $27 fee. Works for me! I've worked very hard to make sure I don't go over again but it's comforting to know I have a backup in case it happens. I'm happy with WaMu.

How about banks that don't post the payments they have received for days after they arrive in their mail room? One trick is to assign you a mailing address far enough away to count on the USPS to mess it up.

The intent is to
1) charge late fee
2) ding your credit rating so they can up your interest
3) help their buddies because of "global" interest rates policies (if you are late in/on one account, some lenders and cards have the right to raise your interest on theirs, even if it wasn't THEIR account you were late on) Check your contract!

I had a similar problem with Wells Fargo. I deposited my payroll check on thursday. The ATM showed the money as available the next day - unfortunately the next day happened to be the 4th of July - and when I used my atm card to withdraw money so we could go out - it seemed fine. Tuesday however I get a call from the bank saying that I had overdrawn my account and would need to come in and cover the fees or they would close the account. They had still not recorded the deposit on the 3rd of July!! Yet all transactions using my card over the weekend had been deducted from my account. I closed that account that very day.

Our local bank had been merged and taken over several times over the yeas. While it was still a BankOne bank the service became unbearable and they charged a fee to speak with a teller for any reason. So my mother decided to cancel the account. She went to the branch during a quiet time and signed in at the desk. When she was approached by a smiling and cheerful lobby person she explained that she wanted to close her account and that she would like to explain to the manager or whoever was available why she was doing this. The lobby person smiled and cheerfully responded that , "Oh, no one here cares why!"

My worst experience was Bank of America. While I was in college I'd opened an account at a local bank, Security Pacific, as home was a couple of states away and my credit union didn't exist in California. Security Pacific was great. It's hard to beat friendly, personable staff who were always willing to help customers with a smile.

Then the Evil Empire (or is that AT&T?) took over, firing all of our knowledgable tellers (after all, the BofA branch was just up the street, so there was no need for a now-redundant bank). Between fees and indifferent service I decided that I'd close my account and operate on cash-only my senior year. So, I went in before leaving for the summer, asked what I'd need to do -- withdraw all my money and inform the teller I was closing my account -- and did it.

I came back in September to $60 worth of "below minimum balance" fees (which are obviously designed to help one with that kind of problem) and a letter stating I needed to take care of this or they'd sic a collection agency on me.

The confrontation was mildly amusing, though. When I, in a polite-but-irate fashion, said "I closed this account" I was rudely told I hadn't spoken to anyone about that. Then I calmly turned around and pointed at the account manager who'd given me the instructions because he'd been "too busy" to deal with a poor college student. I then looked carefully at the teller and smiled because it was the same teller I'd seen three months before. It was with great pleasure I told her "If you can check it, I know you're the one who 'helped' me."

She turned bright red, conceded that she did remember me "kinda." The charges were reversed and the account closed.

None of this is new. Sufficiently long ago that the bank name no longer exists, I had one that blew my blood pressure through the roof.

I was part owner of a small business, and had both the business accounts and my personal account at the same bank. Every other Friday, I wrote myself a paycheck from one account (which I owned) to another (which I also owned). At some point the following week I wrote checks to pay my bills.

The NEXT week, I received several letters from the bank, saying 1. That all my checks had bounced, and 2. That my paycheck was not honored because of a "signature mismatch."

Somehow, they decided my signature didn't match the sample on file, and refused to honor the check. Hold in mind that I was a customer of long standing, and was literally across the street from the bank - I could see the manager's desk from my own.

No one could demonstrate how my signature varied from the sample, nor how the "mismatch" was determined. Nor could they explain why they didn't just call and TELL me there was a problem. The bank flat-out refused to make any adjustment to the substantial bounced-check fees; they said they had to be paid for their own costs in bouncing all those checks.

After it was clear they weren't going to budge, I closed all the accounts, currently holding perhaps $30,000. I insisted on cash, and walked out with it. There was never an apology, an explanation, or any attempt to keep my business. They'd simply found a creative way to steal a couple of hundred dollars from me, and hung onto their ill-gotten gains like grim death.

In this day and age of electronic banking I am generally a very happy camper. USUALLY. About three years ago we were banking with US Bank after they bought out FirStar here in Ohio. For the most part everything was okay. I had made a deposit into the bank via the ATM on Monday morning. The first $100 was posted as "available" immediately the rest was posted as "pending" and I knew that the full amount should be available as well by Tuesday morning. This is as it had been since they took over. Tuesday morning I checked my balance online, saw the entire amount was listed in the "available balance" column and went about my day including a run to the grocery store, the hardware store and then a cash withdrawl that night.

Wednesday morning my account showed three NSF transactions of $29.00 each. WHAT? Surely this had to be some strange clerical error somewhere since at the time these transactions posted to my account I was showing an available balance more than enough to cover everything. I called the USBank's customer service line and was told that there deposits can take up to three days to clear. "If the money wasn't cleared then why did the full amount show up as available?" The man on the line hemmed and hawed and said something about that I'd have to keep track of when my deposits were made and account for the three day wait time. I explained to him calmly but firmly that when I check with the bank either over the phone or through their online banking site I expect to know that what I see is fact and not supposition. If I can't rely on their systems to assure me that money is available for me to use then I will take my business to another bank that will. After a few more minutes of this he finally agreed to reverse the fees "just this one time". I agreed that that would be fine because if it ever happened again, I would be moving my business elsewhere.

I'm now a National City Bank customer. Can you guess why? I've been there for a few years now and couldn't be happier.

I actually have a good bank story! When I moved to Arkansas, I opened an account at Arvest Bank, conveniently located in the Wal-Mart Supercenter where my wife and I did most of our shopping. [Disclosure: he owners of Arvest and the owners of Wal-Mart have a familial relationship.]

In the many instances where I made a "just in time" deposit, they always posted the credit before the many, many debits. Where I did not have enough funds and ran over into my overdraft protection, they charged a whopping (sarcasm) $12.93 for each NSF fee, and I could call and get all but one of them reversed for being a "good customer."

When I made a $2600 purchase on my check card, they declined it. With a simple call to customer service, I spoke to a very pleasant young lady who explained that it was declined because they have a $2500 limit on Visa purchases as a protection "feature." If I had been at home instead of traveling, I would have been able to answer the call from the bank asking me for approval (instead, they left a very pleasant message on my machine asking me to call back). This very nice lady immediately upped my limit and the charge went through.

When I had an international check from an eBay sale, they only charged me a minimal fee and only held it for 6 days.

My daughter has an account with them. To transfer money from my account to hers is a simple phone call and $1.97 charge for immediate posting. A pile of money cheaper than sending a Western Union or FedEx.

Their online banking system is very easy to use. Even my technologically challenged wife is able to keep our balance with it.

It's a terrible shame that we had to move away. Arvest is only in Arkansas, Oklahoma and Missouri. But I still do business with them from North Carolina, sending my deposits by mail. I maintain a Bank of America account so I have a local address when I need to write a check or hit an ATM.

I'm not a huge customer - I generally have less than $1000 in my account. I don't have a mortgage or car loan with them. They just have a great understanding of customer service and they use their heads when dealing with customers.

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