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Which bank is "too big to fail"?

ToldoToldo But actually,WeegianRegistered User regular
edited July 2010 in Help / Advice Forum
Greetings!

Ignore the title, would ya?

I've been living in the South for three, soon to be four years, and I've been banking with SunTrust. In a couple of months, I'll be moving up north, and I'm looking into moving to another bank. The obvious choice seems to be a larger bank, such as Bank of America, but I've heard both good and bad things about it.

Is there some other bank I should be looking into? I'm not looking for anything major--a standard checking account (preferrably one that can be handled online), a savings account, and maybe a credit card. I'll most likely be moving to the east coast.

Thanks in advance.

Toldo on

Posts

  • ceresceres When the last moon is cast over the last star of morning And the future has past without even a last desperate warningRegistered User, Moderator mod
    edited July 2010
    Assuming you live in the US, have you thought about a credit union? They have a lot of advantages that I'm sure someone for whom it is not 7 am can elucidate better than I at the moment. I won't go back to a bank if I don't have to for some reason.

    ceres on
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  • RaneadosRaneados police apologist you shouldn't have been there, obviouslyRegistered User regular
    edited July 2010
    you know people keep saying that credit unions have several advantages over banks, but I've never heard anyone say what those advantages actually are

    Raneados on
  • The Crowing OneThe Crowing One Registered User regular
    edited July 2010
    The benefits of credit unions generally come in the form of increased customer service, because as a small, local entity they both value you more as a customer and simply have a better ability to put you on the phone/face-to-face with a real person, as well as they, as a bank, have far less desire to defraud you of money through various schemes such as outrageous overdraft charges, etc.

    This is, generally, at the expense of ATM convenience. Though I do know of a number of local credit-unions who have attempted to off-set the use of third-party ATMs through various means. In many ways, it simply provides peace of mind following the crisis that one is not handing their money to Bank of America.

    I bank with Bank of America because I both understand banking and I enjoy the fact that BoA has an ATM on every corner.

    The Crowing One on
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  • TejsTejs Registered User regular
    edited July 2010
    Credit Unions DO have certain advantages. In many instances, they give better interest rates both on loans and for savings / etc, because they are not for profit.

    The members of a credit union get paid the 'profits' in better interest rates and services compared to a bank that is answerable to shareholders. The downside is that many services and features you can get with large banks don't exist with credit unions. It will be up to you to look at the account you get from a credit union VS a bank to see if it is worth it.

    My 'savings' rate with my credit union (technically, a high rate checking account, woo) is 10133% (yep, that's right) better than when I was with Wells fargo - I earned 55 dollars of interest LAST MONTH whereas I was barely getting 4-9 dollars a year with Wells Fargo; I refinanced one of my auto loans as well and the interest rate on the loan was more than cut in half. This is just anecdotal evidence, but credit unions can be awesome.

    Tejs on
  • ArrathArrath Registered User regular
    edited July 2010
    You...you missed a decimal there, right?

    Arrath on
  • TejsTejs Registered User regular
    edited July 2010
    Negative. Wells Fargo was just really giving me the shaft on my interest rate.

    The math: 10133% / 100 = 101.33.

    Current Interest Rate / 101.33 = Old Interest Rate

    Tejs on
  • Iceman.USAFIceman.USAF Major East CoastRegistered User regular
    edited July 2010
    Arrath wrote: »
    You...you missed a decimal there, right?

    He's saying its 101% better, not that his interest rate is 101%. Wow that had me there for a second too...

    Iceman.USAF on
  • ArrathArrath Registered User regular
    edited July 2010
    Oh, whoops. Glossed over the "better than at wells fargo" bit.

    Arrath on
  • The Crowing OneThe Crowing One Registered User regular
    edited July 2010
    Tejs wrote: »
    Negative. Wells Fargo was just really giving me the shaft on my interest rate.

    The math: 10133% / 100 = 101.33.

    Current Interest Rate / 101.33 = Old Interest Rate

    you mean 1.33%, I assume?

    The Crowing One on
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  • TejsTejs Registered User regular
    edited July 2010
    Old Interest Rate = 0.03% APY
    New Interest Rate: 3.04% APY

    3.04 / 0.03 = 101.33

    101x better than the old interest rate, or 10133% better.

    Tejs on
  • Captain VashCaptain Vash Registered User regular
    edited July 2010
    I use the Boeing Employee's Credit Union, which is a fairly large credit union here in WA state, and I can vouch that they offer me much better interest rates on both my checking and savings account vs a traditional bank, they're large enough here that when I need an atm I can find one, and yes they have MUCH better customer service than Wamu or Chase after the transition.

    Captain Vash on
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  • solsovlysolsovly Registered User regular
    edited July 2010
    People's Bank purely for convenience. The ones in the grocery stores have these kind of hours: Mon-Fri 10-7; Sat 10-4; Sun 11-4.

    Interest rate is pretty terrible at any bank/credit union so that is not a factor for me.

    solsovly on
  • WildEEPWildEEP Registered User regular
    edited July 2010
    Interest rates are only half the story when it comes to Credit Unions, and Customer Service...ehhh, at a bank, I try to use the internet as much as possible. I'm sure its better at a Credit Union than at a bank, I'm just saying that I don't have high expectations when it comes to register monkeys..which essentially is what bank tellers are. They're just really nicely dressed Gamestop employees.

    The big deal about Credit Unions is that Loan officers and Branch Managers still have a say so in operations. The person agreeing to your loan is actually sitting across from you and can approve or deny a loan using some level of personal judgement. Not saying they're going to overlook credit scores or give out funds to things that are obviously bad - but they have a greater leeway on deciding your approval.

    In Banks, Loan officers and Branch Managers are completely different. A bank like BOA has a metric shit-ton of branches - there is no way they can imbue that kind of authority to all those guys. Branch Managers are often just employee managers and loan officers are just there to process loan paperwork and be a liason between you and some other office in another state that does the actual approving. Its very encumbersome.

    What I'd recommend is that you not have to make a choice between them - do both. Open an account at BOA and put money in that, and open an account at a good Credit Union. Use the BOA for the daily stuff, and keep a balance at your credit union. Use the BOA account for daily transactions, ATM services, and their online site.

    Use the credit union for all your loans - car, student, house, personal, credit card, etc. The Credit union will love you because they like making money off loans, and the Bank..well...the bank doesn't really give two geese about you unless your a hojilianaire - so thats out.

    WildEEP on
  • adytumadytum The Inevitable Rise And FallRegistered User regular
    edited July 2010
    Where are you moving up North? SunTrust has a large presence in some states up here.

    adytum on
  • jefe414jefe414 "My Other Drill Hole is a Teleporter" Mechagodzilla is Best GodzillaRegistered User regular
    edited July 2010
    Credit union all the way for all the reasons mentioned (better interest rates, customer service and the credit union I am in allows the use of a whole bunch of ATMs).

    jefe414 on
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  • HypatiaHypatia Registered User regular
    edited July 2010
    The benefits of credit unions generally come in the form of increased customer service, because as a small, local entity they both value you more as a customer and simply have a better ability to put you on the phone/face-to-face with a real person, as well as they, as a bank, have far less desire to defraud you of money through various schemes such as outrageous overdraft charges, etc.

    Definitely vouching for this, they'll recognize you, waive charges (I saw a lot of threads a while ago on people having overdraft fees and things), and in general not be silly geese about things.

    A few months ago I actually had mine call me out of the blue to say, "Last month you got charged an $8 fee because you signed up for this service and didn't use it." I told him that I realized that and figured it was my fault, and he said, "Why don't I just take the charge off?"

    "Um...wow, that would be really nice, thank you!"

    It was very surreal! :)

    Hypatia on
  • ToldoToldo But actually, WeegianRegistered User regular
    edited July 2010
    adytum wrote: »
    Where are you moving up North? SunTrust has a large presence in some states up here.

    Well, moving up north is only one of my reasons for switching banks. Another is that they've treated me like shit.

    Also, I have no idea what a credit union is.

    Toldo on
  • The Crowing OneThe Crowing One Registered User regular
    edited July 2010
    Hypatia wrote: »
    The benefits of credit unions generally come in the form of increased customer service, because as a small, local entity they both value you more as a customer and simply have a better ability to put you on the phone/face-to-face with a real person, as well as they, as a bank, have far less desire to defraud you of money through various schemes such as outrageous overdraft charges, etc.

    Definitely vouching for this, they'll recognize you, waive charges (I saw a lot of threads a while ago on people having overdraft fees and things), and in general not be silly geese about things.

    A few months ago I actually had mine call me out of the blue to say, "Last month you got charged an $8 fee because you signed up for this service and didn't use it." I told him that I realized that and figured it was my fault, and he said, "Why don't I just take the charge off?"

    "Um...wow, that would be really nice, thank you!"

    It was very surreal! :)

    Interest rates are really only in play if you're looking for a loan, but beginning a relationship with a respectable credit union can facilitate this.

    Savings interest is negligible. If you have enough money to be making money off interest in a savings account, you've got your money in the wrong place.

    The Crowing One on
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  • ThundyrkatzThundyrkatz Registered User regular
    edited July 2010
    I will throw my hat in the ring for Credit Unions for all the above listed reasons. I bank with a credit union and a small local S&L.

    Also, Large banks aka B of A, BONY, Citi, Wells Fargo etc.. don't care about you or your interests. They are interested in how much money they can generate with shady loan practices, more shady fees and completely nebulous derivative products.

    So i don't care to support them by banking with them. I realize that my account is insignificant, but together with other like minded people can make a difference.

    Thundyrkatz on
  • LadyMLadyM Registered User regular
    edited July 2010
    Another shout out for credit unions. Mine has ATMs all over the city (and covers most of eastern Washington and parts of Idaho), very convenient as well as giving great interest rates.

    LadyM on
  • adytumadytum The Inevitable Rise And FallRegistered User regular
    edited July 2010
    SunTrust has treated me like shit too, but the joke's on them.

    I use ING Direct for all my banking now. I just use suntrust to make deposits, then immediately transfer my money to a bank that doesn't try to fuck me- and pays great interest.

    adytum on
  • MKRMKR Registered User regular
    edited July 2010
    Toldo wrote: »
    Greetings!

    Ignore the title, would ya?

    I've been living in the South for three, soon to be four years, and I've been banking with SunTrust. In a couple of months, I'll be moving up north, and I'm looking into moving to another bank. The obvious choice seems to be a larger bank, such as Bank of America, but I've heard both good and bad things about it.

    Is there some other bank I should be looking into? I'm not looking for anything major--a standard checking account (preferrably one that can be handled online), a savings account, and maybe a credit card. I'll most likely be moving to the east coast.

    Thanks in advance.

    If stability is your concern, what's important is the FDIC cutoff. If you don't plan to have more than a quarter million bucks in there, you're covered. Most of them will keep the interest at inflation, which is a big thing from a money security standpoint. You don't want to lose money every year without doing anything.

    A lot of people are talking about things that seem to diverge from what you (apparently) want. I'm not sure whether you talked about growing your money in another thread or not, so maybe I'm just missing where it's all coming from.

    I've been using BOA for a while and always had good experiences in the branch offices.

    MKR on
  • WildEEPWildEEP Registered User regular
    edited July 2010
    MKR wrote: »
    Toldo wrote: »
    Greetings!

    Ignore the title, would ya?

    I've been living in the South for three, soon to be four years, and I've been banking with SunTrust. In a couple of months, I'll be moving up north, and I'm looking into moving to another bank. The obvious choice seems to be a larger bank, such as Bank of America, but I've heard both good and bad things about it.

    Is there some other bank I should be looking into? I'm not looking for anything major--a standard checking account (preferrably one that can be handled online), a savings account, and maybe a credit card. I'll most likely be moving to the east coast.

    Thanks in advance.

    If stability is your concern, what's important is the FDIC cutoff. If you don't plan to have more than a quarter million bucks in there, you're covered. Most of them will keep the interest at inflation, which is a big thing from a money security standpoint. You don't want to lose money every year without doing anything.

    A lot of people are talking about things that seem to diverge from what you (apparently) want. I'm not sure whether you talked about growing your money in another thread or not, so maybe I'm just missing where it's all coming from.

    I've been using BOA for a while and always had good experiences in the branch offices.

    I don't think he is actually worried about the bank failing...thats why the first line reads, "Ignore the title".

    WildEEP on
  • Dr. FrenchensteinDr. Frenchenstein Registered User regular
    edited July 2010
    You have to look at their services as well. I think the majority of credit unions offer online bill pay nowadays, but i know i wouldn't bank at a place that doesn't have that. That's just one example of a lot of the stuff that BoA offers.

    Dr. Frenchenstein on
  • a5ehrena5ehren AtlantaRegistered User regular
    edited July 2010
    Tejs wrote: »
    Old Interest Rate = 0.03% APY
    New Interest Rate: 3.04% APY

    3.04 / 0.03 = 101.33

    101x better than the old interest rate, or 10133% better.

    How the hell are you getting 3.04% on a checking account? I need your CU :P

    a5ehren on
  • SpudgeSpudge Witty comments go next to this blue dot thingyRegistered User regular
    edited July 2010
    Yet another vouch for credit unions. One thing that is awesome about CUs that I'm surprised hasn't been added here is this:

    You get a say in who sits in the high positions.

    (Granted there may be some CUs that don't do this but) When a position in a committee or board is up they hold an election with the CU members being the voters. Also if someone on one of the boards is doing stupid shit you can vote to have them dropped. This can add to even greater feelings of security with your financial institution.

    On the part of ATMs and which you can/would rather not use, check this out and see if your credit union (or a CU you are thinking about joining) is part of this network. This made it awesome when I was working out of state for a year, there was a service center participant in the town I was staying in. No fees, no bullshit, just like I was in my old CU.

    Spudge on
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  • FeatherBladeFeatherBlade Registered User regular
    edited July 2010
    One thing I like about my credit union is that they offer a checking account that gives you a higher dividend yield (may have been as much as 6% when I started, probably less now) if you get e-statements (instead of paper ones) and use your debit card at least 12 times in a month.

    If you don't use your card that often you just get the standard rate of 2%. (The percentages do change by the year and economy)

    This particular option also give you full refunds on ATM fees.

    The checking accounts also come with a savings account attached that you can use for protection from overdraft fees.

    Another good thing about credit unions is that they are less likely to make the kind of stupid investing decisions that borked the big banks (because credit unions are more directly responsible to the people who use them)
    ... which, it could be argued, makes them less likely to fail than, for example, BoA.

    Most credit unions are also NCUA insured (National Credit Union Administration - like FDIC but for credit unions), so there's no risk to your money. I'd be a bit leery of going with one that didn't have this insurance.

    Potential downsides are that credit unions don't have branches in an many places as banks do. Some of them offset this by being in a "shared branching" network with other credit unions. Mine recently closed the only branch within 60 miles of my town, so if I need to deposit a check, I go to a different credit union in town that is in the network.

    This won't prevent you from withdrawing money from most any ATM in the country, and, as I said: ATM fee refunds.

    Other than that, I do all of my transactions online.

    FeatherBlade on
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