Bank of America: Still the Nation’s Banking Choice?

Bank of America. They changed their name years ago to better reflect what they felt their positioning in the United States among other similar banks, and distinguish themselves above  other banks of the area. Actually, it was also due to a 1998 takeover of the North Carolina-based  NationsBank. This is when the bank really established their main headquarters in Charlotte, NC  where they continue to reside. Anyone from this Charlotte area knows that BofA’s occupation of  the city is obvious; Bank of America offices litter the city. Bank of America even posts its name  across the home of the Carolina Panthers: Bank of America Stadium. One Bank of America  Center, a LEED-certified eco-friendly building, is set to grace downtown Charlotte and is currently  under construction. Charlotte is not their only large city presence, though; worldwide they own  and operate about 28 different corporate locations.

“Bank of America is one of the largest financial services companies, largest bank by assets, largest commercial bank by deposits  and is  the second largest by market capitalization in the United States. The company holds 12.2% of all U.S. deposits. Also, Bank  of America  is  the number one underwriter of global high yield debt, the third largest underwriter of global equity and the ninth largest  adviser on  global  mergers and acquisitions.

Bank of America serves clients in more than 150 countries and has a relationship with 99 percent of the U.S. Fortune 500 companies and 83 percent of the Fortune Global 500.

At one point considered one of the winners and healthiest survivors of the 2007 credit crisis, plunged in market value due in part to massive losses caused by its purchase of Merrill Lynch. Its Q1 2009 profit was 4.2 billion with 3.7 billion having come from Merrill Lynch. As of September 2009, the total value of B of A’sMortgage and Asset Backed Securities is one of the highest in the banking industry at $264 Billion.

Bank of America is one of the Big Four Banks of the United States with CitigroupJP Morgan Chase and Wells Fargo.” (Wikipedia)

Despite their enormous sized client base, Bank of America lately seems relentless to stick to making more money this coming year than ever. They pull you in with offers of free money with the opening of a checking account, but what they don’t tell you are about all the fees you’re to be hit with anytime you lose track of your funds. And for those who already possess a Bank of America account, well, you have no promotional offers, you’re exempt of all free money, and you get hit with the same charges as everyone else. Their is always the option of stepping inside of a discussion of options with your nearest banking center, but judging by my past few experiences of the past two years with such moves, you will get nowhere, in fact, you’ll leave more frustrated later on when you realize the agents aren’t even 100% clear on their own rules and policies.

As for the fees, I will credit them on the fact that they are not the only one, Wachovia being just as bad if not worse, but considering BofA received a $20 billion bailout, I really think they could cut their customers a little bit of slack. Instead, they intend on joining in with excessive overdraft fees, one of the first rise in overdraft charges amoung banks during a recession since the late 1980’s, and even still, experts say that the fees are extremely high and excessive. Banks argue that their are warnings and everyone should be aware of their funds before they attempt to use them. Banks even argue that people are WILLING to pay for these overdraft fees… I can’t say I ever have been. By the end of this cycle, banks are currently set to generate about a $38.5 billion profit from overdraft fees alone.

I was always the person speaking up in defense of my bank, telling everyone to switch, and how well I was treated. Since Bank of America’s growth and defense of their funds since the economy hit rock bottom, I have been less than impressed with their performance. I find that tellers are not nearly as friendly as they once were. I remember when they knew you by name and were like walking in to talk to a friend. It now seems as if you inconvenience them each time, and they are only there because it is their job to be. I find they talk more than they care to immediately respond to their customers, and even during transactions, find it necessary to talk about the weather and the new cobbler they just read about in a magazine… And the results:

1. I went into the bank with a deposit and was to receive money back. I changed my mind when I remembered that you can send money directly online from BofA customer to BofA customer, so asked for that portion to be discarded and the entire amount to be deposited. As I left the bank, I noticed that only the number I wrote at the bottom was entered into the system, and the other $250 I had originally planned on mailing home was as if it never existed. I’d have walked out $250 short with no proof of its existence.

2. As a customer with BofA since about age 6, I found the free money offers to be a bit unfair, and after a representative came to the store I was working at and said even we could still be eligible, I had renewed faith in my bank and went across the street for more details. I was told if I opened up a second checking account, free of charge and fees, I could get the same money offer as new customers of the company… Twice my referral or new account free money offer fell through. $50 minus what I was orginally promised… I’ve not filled out a referral form, or even referred anyone since, for that matter.

3. I was finally about to receive fees on the second account I opened, so I cancelled it online, which is an amazing bonus feature BofA offers for those that work Mon-Fri 8-5. Only problem was that my savings account was suppose to become my overdraft protection. I received fees the very next time I overdrafted paying my rent, while a significant amount of money sat in my savings account, completely untouched.

4. The day I went in to switch banks, I sat in the office, received a number to ask the clerk to hand me in the form of a cashiers check. As I spoke to the clerk, she informed me his number was over $400 shy of what my actual amount was. There was confusion, and she was FAR from helpful or customer service friendly; this one particular location in Rock Hill, SC always seems to be less than adequate to me. The money was returned to me, in cash, not a cashiers check as I had requested (extremely safe to walk around with your entire bank account worth of cash in hand).

…Point being, I strong urge everyone to take a closer look at your bank in the coming months as these fees and services start to change within your bank. Don’t kindly accept these overdraft fees “willingly”, but instead, put up some fight when you feel the order of withdrawal and fee placement doesn’t quite add up. Contact customer service anytime you have an issue, and get it resolve, and in writing if possible. Online chat is convenient, and allows you to copy and paste a conversation if you feel it necessary. And if it becomes something you feel is right for you, although some of these banks are national, which adds connivence and power to their name, don’t let that hold you back from switching. Smaller, more local banks might not have the same money backing them, but they are much more willing to listen and work with you, and many of them allow the use of any ATMs nationwide, if you really dig and research the different options you have. The bank I am currently now with, NBSC, even offers a 3.5% deposit into your account if you meet their list of requirements, more than even their basic savings account offers.

 

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2 Comments»

  Oscilloscope : wrote @

checking accounts are very convenient for business transactions that is why i have it;;.

  Liposuction and Its Side Effects · wrote @

when doing business transactions, checking accounts are really needed for faster transactions “’


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