Who do I give all my money to? Or, alternative bank round-up.
Nov 16, 2006

I've gotten a lot of response to my two posts about the problems I've been having with Bank of America, and a lot of good advise on what banks would and wouldn't make good replacements. So now I've been doing a little more in-depth research and finding some trends. Bank of America: Basically, no one really likes Bank of America. Adam pointed me to this article in which a San Francisco man was arrested simply because he tried to verify a check at his local BofA branch which turned out to be fraudulent. He then ended up spending around $14,000 just to clear his name, even though he was just doing his due-dilligence to find out if the check he had been sent was real or not. He thinks BofA should pay the tab, BofA disagrees. There's even a whole blog about it. And of course plenty of other bloggers have their own stories about why they don't like and/or are leaving Bank of America, such as this one. [Edit: Wikipedia points out some other issues with Bank of America. Basically, they're just not very nice people.] Citizen's Bank: I had been thinking that I'd go with Citizen's Bank as I'd previously heard only good things about them. However, Rebecca and Mike both have had problems with them, similar to the ones I and others have had with Bank of America, and this guy is also having problems with them and currently considering leaving. [Edit: Citizens Bank, it turns out, is a member of the Royal Bank of Scotland Group. This wouldn't really affect me, except in that the RBS is the main sponsor of the Scottish national rugby team and the RBS 6 Nations international rugby tournament (my favorite sporting event of the year).] Sovereign Bank: Sovereign is another bank in the area that I walk by all the time and thought I'd check out. However Andraste has had a lot of problems with them and says to stay away. A quick search has revealed a few things about them. For example, this person received two Sovereign Bank check cards (with PIN numbers!) addressed to someone else. They did the right thing and tried to get the to the rightful owners (something which Sovereign wouldn't help them with), but what if it were someone a little less moral? I certainly wouldn't want my check card and PIN number being sent to some random person. It also appears that their online banking is sub-par; not a huge problem, but an annoyance. Leader Bank: Leader Bank is yet another bank that I walk by all the time. I haven't been able to find a single bad story about them. And I've found this story in which Leader Bank has started allowing people to communicate with their bank manager via IM. Cool idea. Probably wouldn't use it, but it gives them points in my book. Wainwright Bank: Thanks to Aaron, Wainwright Bank is the only one that's actually gotten a recommendation. In addition, a search has revealed no horror stories about them. Plus, I think they're the bank with the closest location to where I live (although only by a block or two). Also, their website was a winner at the MITX awards that I was at the other day. So at the moment, it looks like the short list of banks would be Wainwright and Leader. I will, of course, be doing more research into it, but at the moment I'm leaning toward Wainwright. We shall see. And so I leave you with this poll:
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