What’s going on with banks this week? Many stories of banking woe out there. Examples:
Jory Des Jardins has been getting nicked with unknown service fees from BofA. Says Jory:
Bank of America, my bank, a Bay Area ubiquity that has been charging me a $5.50 “Service” fee for the past few months.
I called BofA to investigate.
“Have I gone under my limit?” I asked the customer service rep.
“No,” he said.
“Have I written any bad checks?”
“No,” he said.
“What, then, have I done wrong?”
“You’re not using direct deposit.”
Yvonne DiVita has had customer service issues of her own in bank-land. Yvonne:
“I’m still not able to access my ‘online’ account from anywhere. I need the ‘digital certificate’ which is designed to protect me, I know, but what it does is prevent me from doing my banking, unless I’m at the computer I set the account up on.
Also, I called to transfer money from my business loan to my account, and my rep wasn’t in…so, I was routed all over the U.S. to three different people, who all asked the SAME questions, over and over, till, finally, the last one said, “Your money will be available in the morning.” In the morning? This is the Internet…why wasn’t it available immediately???
I’m headed for a credit union.”
My buddy Pat Mosier has this to say (PJ is a laser-sharp business person, and has one of the most finely-tuned B.S.-detectors I’ve ever encountered). His approach?
“I’ve long believed that the smallest bank that can perform all the financial functions you need is the one to patronize. Nowadays even a tiny locally-owned bank can issue credit cards, transfer funds internationally, participate in chains of free ATMs, write loans bigger than the typical homeowner or small to medium business person will ever need. Decisions are made rapidly; policies aren’t cast in stone and handed down from above. The very owner of the bank is somebody you can meet with.
Citicorp, Wells Fargo, Bank of America…as far as I’m concerned they bring nothing to the table that’s to my benefit.”
So, here we are. By driving everyone online, and making their service into a commodity, the giganto-banks may have made themselves less relevant. If every bank pushes you online, and has you interact with them via their website, or via an ATM, where’s the differentiation?
Per PJ’s point…if customers are willing to take the time, will the community bank have a chance to make a comeback, since service and personal relationships do come into the equation? Or has the service of banking become such a utility that it doesn’t matter who the customer chooses, since all providers are the same?
Need better identification for Royal Bank of Canada? Larry Borsato brings his first born son in as a form of ID. (I’m only exaggerating a little.)