I have been banking with PNC since college. I opened my first account there as a freshman because that’s where my parents and grandparents in Pittsburgh banked. I was with them through college and then all my years abroad, but we started having problems when I moved to Harrisonburg: the closest branch is two hours away, and I no longer get paid in a big envelope of cash (like I did in Asia). I impulsively got a bank account at the local Bank of America, but that relationship was pretty short-lived: I ended it after they tried to charge me $9 to talk to a teller instead of line up behind the cars waiting for the drive-thru ATM.
Also, I didn’t realize that Bank of America was the devil: I was in Taiwan when the financial crisis hit the US and I had to catch up on what was happening when I got back late 2010. I finally did my homework and decided to go with a local credit union.
Dupont Community Credit Union is about two shakes from my house. They also offer interest on checking accounts and online banking with all the bells and whistles I was used to coming from a larger banking corporation. And the first day I visited, they set me up with a new checking account, savings account, and gave me an awesome deal on a balance transfer for my credit card debt. All this over a cup of coffee, in a bright room with lots of windows, where I could look at the computer screen along with the banker. Oh, and it’s all for free. I was feeling so cheery I even signed up for that insurance you get on your credit card in case you lose your job and can’t make payments. I was just feeling generous.
In the meantime, PNC is giving me headaches with the ATM fees and also we have exchanged words about other customer service issues as of late. That’s okay, cause I found a new bank, a better bank, a bank that cares about my needs, and I don’t even want to go back. PNC can have all the customers it wants, except for this one.
And also, while we’re on the subject, Wells Fargo can go $%&# itself. While I am getting my direct deposit sorted out at work, I had to get a check in the mail, and when I tried to take it to Wells Fargo to get it cashed, it not only took forever, but the banker kept trying to sell me on getting an account there.
“It’s so convenient,” she cooed.
Considering the service I get at DCCU is the same or better, and it’s even closer to my house, I didn’t think that could be true.
“And because of where you work, you get a free checking account.”
Everyone gets a free checking account at DCCU. Who put you in charge of deciding who gets free checking accounts?
And then, just to really piss me off, and to really, really convince me that I made the right decision in switching to a local credit union, at the last possible second, right before I was about to get my cash, the banker came back and casually mentioned, “Oh, yeah, there’s a $7.50 fee to cash this check [that is from our bank] because you’re not a customer here.”
Call me naive, but I wasn’t expecting that. And then definitely call me impatient, because after I told her that was absolutely ridiculous, I also dismissed her with an imperious wave and told her to just give me the money.
And then I took all my money to Dupont and had a nice chat with the banker about how awful those big banks are. Next time I go, I’m going to refinance my car loan with them.