Building Real Relationships are Still the Way to Do Business with Banks

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Stressed Out with Computers

I’ve contemplated about switching my checking account to the online high yield checking account (ING’s electric orange or ETrade’s online account come to mind) before. I will be honest, I wanted to switch not because I liked the other two companies better but mainly due to a high(er) yield when compared to my current Wells Fargo solution and the fact that without direct deposit, I might be hit with a monthly fee.

After careful thought, I stayed with Wells Fargo because people at the bank told me that I won’t be charged any fees based on my situation (I still had one direct deposit coming from other sources each month). While I’m losing the extra yield, I’m glad that I stayed because I now realize how important relationships with real people still are in this world where computers and automation are slowly taken over day-to-day tasks.

This realization wasn’t intentional. In fact, it almost costs us $50. My wife primarily deals with Bank of America, her financial institution of choice. Last week, we were shuffling around money in our all accounts, making CD investments and got an email from Bank of America telling us that we will be hit with 2 overdraft charges of $25 each.

The rest of the story should be obvious. My wife called up the banker that she has a relationship with, left a voice mail and the next day, the fees were waived. Could we have done this with a pure online checking account? Maybe. Would it be as easy, no way.

Off the top of my head, here are more benefits of having relationships with a banker:

  1. Get Better Advice Because They Care More About You If They Know (Like) You
  2. Possibly Better Mortgage Rate
  3. Little Favors Like Waiving Fees
  4. Higher Yields on CDs (The bank managers can all give you adjustments)

The biggest benefit I believe is getting better advice because having access to someone who actually knows the products that the bank offers is priceless.  While I probably have the option to enroll is all the products on my own, there is practically impossible for me to research every little detail to make sure I’m getting the best deal possible. Having someone who knows my situation and offer advice is invaluable when there are choices.

Perhaps real relationships are still worth something in this day and age.

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  • Steve C | MyWifeQuitHerJob says:

    I have different feelings regarding BofA and Well Fargo. While they are usually willing to waive the fees, most other banks don’t even have the fees to begin with. The only reason I use Bofa today is because they have probably the largest ATM network in the nation. Your article is spot on though about being able to speak with a human. I’d much rather have access to a person than get a higher rate (unless it’s substantially higher). Great post.

  • Erin says:

    Speaking of relationships…check out this article by Robb Thompson:


    The Nectar Of A Relationship With You Must Be Sweeter Than The Fragrance Of Its Announcement From You.

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    The Power of Relational Nurturing:

    All relationships must be nurtured, but this is especially true of new relationships. When you decide that you want to pursue a relationship with a particular person whom you highly respect, you must be ready to invest substantial time, thought, and resources into your pursuit. Anything less than the conspicuous excellence of devoted attention and tireless servanthood, will delegate you to the throngs of other unnoticed people who would love to befriend such a person.

    Greenhouse Principle:

    The way that a new relationship must be nurtured is very similar to the care and attention that a tiny, new plant must receive, in order to survive, and then thrive. It would be ridiculous to plant a fragile seedling out in the inclement weather among other established plants, and expect it to survive. A new seedling must be brought into the greenhouse and protected, until it is firmly rooted, and strong enough to withstand the storms that it will later need to endure.

    Time & Attention:

    New relationships need to be handled with the same devotion and attention. The foundation you build in the earliest stages of an association will establish the very nature and future of that relationship. The care and consideration given to an individual at the inception of the relationship will open the door to a strong, deeply rooted bond that will later be able to survive the assault of the most violent storms.

    Take Action

    • What relationships have you neglected to nurture?

    • What is one way you can immediately begin to nurture those closest to you?

    • In your own words explain what it means to nurture a relationship… Take five minutes to write down your thoughts & share it with someone who is close to you.


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    Article Source:

  • Philip says:

    Really Mike, if your money is no longer safe through the FDIC when the government can just print more fiat money to cover that then we have some much much bigger problems and cash won’t be good for anything anyway. Just leave it in the bank and you are as safe as other means I feel.

  • Play Games Win Prizes says:

    At times it makes me wonder how risky it is to even have money in banks now. lol. What could happen? WAMU almost ate the dust.


  • marci says:

    Nothing can replace that friendly personal touch – in my opinion.

    They know me and my needs, and when something new comes along that fits my situation, they’ll be sure to let me know. Very effortless and stressfree on my part 🙂

  • Philip says:

    Interesting, but I have had to call ING and very quickly was connected with customer service. They were very helpful and spoke clear english. The local banks might have some better oppurtunity by being able to walk in and talk to someone, but wells fargo in my opinion is not a local bank and does not particularly care about you.

    Also, when ING overdrafts all you have to do is pay interest on the amount overdrafted, most the time (not that I have done it) the total is only a few cents.

    For mortgage rates try a credit union not a bank, and for higher rate CD’s I am not sure how local banks compare.

  • Matt @ My Financial says:

    My local bank that I have my checking account with offers better interest returns than any online savings. Right now they are at 3.98%. There are a handful of requirements to get the rate but they are minimal and easily met.
    I guess I am pretty lucky.

    My savings is all kept online at EmigrantDirect. I get a lower rate (3.00% right now) but at least I won’t spend the money as quickly as I would if it were in checking.

  • Associate Money says:

    I am using a combination of both. Online banking may be convenient and cost-effective but when there are troubles, I guess it can’t beat picking up the phone and speaking to a real person.

  • Aya @ Thrive says:

    This story is one of those that make me wish I was friends with a banker, a lawyer, a real estate broker, and all the like that will help you get through life by side-stepping some things here and there. Though there might be some people doing customer service for companies that are actually willing to help beyond the standard answers; some companies care about helping their customers more than others.

  • No Debt Plan says:

    I would think with ING Direct you wouldn’t have any problems. Customer service is even more key for the online-only banks because they don’t get to have that face-to-face interaction with customers.

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