I recently closed my bank accounts with Chase and opened one with First Republic Bank. While it’s not quite in line with what Move Your Money recommends, I still feel a lot better about it. Why? Because First Republic was bought my Merrill Lynch, who was then bought by Bank of America, and to make a long story short, First Republic raised enough money to buy themselves out. Now they’re a private bank, and while they have to go public within the next two years (I think), I’m so happy and so in love, and Chase can suck my dick.
I don’t know anyone who is happy banking with Chase besides my younger brother. The main reason I left them was because of all their fees. I didn’t want a debit card. I wanted an ATM card, but no, Chase only offers debit cards that I had to use at least 5 or 6 times a month, or else they’d charge me $6. And if I used a non-Chase ATM, I’d have to pay $2 on top of whatever the ATM’s fee was. And I’m 95% sure that Chase didn’t include in their literature that if I made more than 4 transfers out of my savings account in a month, they would charge me $9 for every transfer after that. After I had made 6 transfers within 1 month/statement period, I noticed these random charges. I thought “Hmm, what’s with these $9 withdrawals?” A few days later I received a letter explaining the situation.
I also felt cheated as a previous WaMu customer. The California accounts for some reason were special, and while I was at school in NYC, I couldn’t access my account during the switch over. I went into a Chase to make a deposit, and a banker took me into his office and suggested I close my WaMu account and open a Chase account. It seemed to be a logical option, so I agreed. Later I found out that he hadn’t offered me the student option, and people who had WaMu accounts did not have these ridiculous debit card requirements and fees.
So after explaining this to the guy at Chase, he told me to proceed to the teller to make my final withdrawals. As the lady typed away, she said “Oh, there’s an $8 fee for me to print you a cashier’s check.” It cost me 16 fucking dollars to close my accounts with Chase. So now every time I drive by or see a Chase, I say “Screw you Chase. I’m never banking with you again. Screw you and your fees.”
When I walked into the First Republic to open my account, I noticed there were no bank tellers. Just three desks and three people. That’s what it’s like at all First Republic banks: no tellers, just people. And these people become your personal bankers. They know the bankers in the next town over because there are only 3-5 of them in each office. They refund all ATM fees, which is great because they don’t have a whole lot of branches. The only downside is that their minimum balance is pretty high, but to make up for it, they give you a cookie! You can have a cookie every time you go to the bank. Isn’t that how it should be? Shouldn’t banking be a pleasant experience?
So if you have your money in Chase, take it out. Take it out forever because they are not your friend. Put your money in a local bank, a credit union, whatever. Just don’t leave it with Chase. update: I think I’m going to open a savings account with Ally: no minimum, one of the highest interest rates out there, 100% online…