Up Selling in Banking

My wife went in to our Bank last week (the brick and mortar version), to cash a cheque. She decided to do this at a teller, and she stood in line for this privilege. As she got to the teller, suddenly she was accosted by the teller, asking about how our family investments were being handled, and whether we had an investment advisor.

Upselling financially

You want fries with your GIC?

Mrs. C8j has learned the answer to give, and she simply stated that we take care of our own investments and we were happy with that, however, evidently that was not good enough for this teller. My wife came home with a glossy brochure, and, a flyer about Financial Planning Week, along with the name of a “Financial Planner” who could help us out. I realize this is the bank attempting to “drum up some business” for their Financial Planning income stream, but it is another reason (for me) to stay away from my local branch.

As usual, I should thank TD for giving me more content to rant about, since without them I am not sure what I would be writing about.

Given I feel I have a smart and sophisticated readership, I’d like to give you folks some homework. I do plan on sending an e-mail to this planner and possibly going to visit with him to research how the system now works, however, what kind of questions should I be asking?

Questions to Ask Your Financial Planner

So far, I have a couple of obvious examples:

  • How do you earn your pay ? What is the difference between you and a fee-based financial planner?
  • What licenses, credentials or other certifications do you have?
  • Could I see a sample financial plan?
  • What makes your client experience unique?
  • Given I have a pension, what kind of a retirement plan do you think I should have?
  • Do you still make money if I lose money?

Am I missing other great questions to ask?

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More Blocked Mutual Fund Transactions at TD

Again, I am tripped up by my “investing profile” at TD? Yes, again, due to my Mutual Funds account investing profile was not “up to date” and thus my risky transfer from a Money Market Fund, to a Bond Fund was blocked. What do I mean by blocked? It was disallowed and my money remains in the Money Market Fund.

Transaction Denied

Dikembe must work for TD ?

I sent the following message:

So AGAIN, my transaction in a TD Mutual Fund account is BLOCKED because my “Profile” is not up to date? I was just in my bank branch, having to do the EXACT SAME THING for another Mutual account, yet I must do it again?

Can I do this on-line? If not, why not? My level of frustration with this system is nearing a critical level, and feel that while it is good that you care enough about your customers to ask them about their investing needs, I am also growing weary having to wander into my local branch to update my profile once a year.

I figured I’d hear nothing back, however, I got the following even more frustrating message back, using the secure message feature of TD’s On-line banking interface.

Thanks for connecting with us. I am happy to offer further guidance.

The idea of reviewing your investments once a year is to make sure they still align with the level of risk that you are comfortable with. Since your investment goals and some events in life might have changed, by reviewing your profile, you are reducing the chance of being affected by unpredictable changes.

You can revisit your priprities and review your Mutual Funds Investment profile by calling us at 1-866-222-3456 option 5. A licensed representative will be happy to assist you with your Mutual Funds from the comfort of your home.

I trust this will help. Please let me know if you have any other questions.

How does this address my query? How is this helpful? Telling me that yes, you need to review your investing profile every year seems to suggest my e-mail was not quite understood?

OK, so this has now convinced me, I only have 2 TD Mutual fund accounts left, and I will be closing those, enough is enough.

 

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No I Can’t Do Anything About That

That is a direct quote from a TD representative when I asked if anything could be done about the interest rate on my Unsecured Line of Credit.

For the longest of times, this Unsecured Line of Credit was “Prime + 1.5%”, but about 2 years ago, it was raised to “Prime + 2.0%”, which while annoying, was something I could live with, however, about six months ago I got a terse piece of Snail Mail announcing, “Yeh, it will be Prime + 3.0%. I was quite irked by this (as a customer of TD), and decided the next time I was in the Bank (say to cash in an RESP) I would ask about this.

The Answer

The Answer is Always No, if you don’t ask

In the interim, my daughter got her Student Line of Credit from CIBC, which I co-signed, and she got that at Prime, so I figured I’d bring the documentation with me (to TD)  to see if I could motivate my friendly TD rep to do something about my unsecured line of credit rate.  This is where the title of this post came in to play.

First I was easily able to cash out my daughter’s RESP (as I had move all E-series Index Funds into the Money Market fund, won’t get fooled twice on that one), in a relatively quick few minutes. I then had to have my “investing profile” updated to allow me to do what I wanted in another account, again done quite quickly as the rep simply cloned the last time I did this update.

At this point I brought up my Unsecured Line of Credit and the high interest rate (in my opinion) and the fact that I have good enough credit to co-sign a loan for prime only, and the answer was short and to the point:

“No, that is an unsecured line of credit and I cannot lower that rate.”

I asked if there was any chance to discuss it, and was dismissed with, “Your Daughter has a professional line of credit loan, not the same thing, we can’t do anything for you”.  I believe I also asked if anybody else could help, but was told No. Now I have said previously, The Answer is Always No, unless you ask, but evidently it can be No even if you do ask.

If I remember the happy young lady at the CIBC, when she gave us the details about my daughter’s student line of credit, told me that an unsecured line of credit rate for me would have an interest rate depending on my credit rating and how much debt I carry, but she’d gladly check it out for me if I wanted her to do that. I guess I’ll be going to visit CIBC in the near future.

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Bell Ringing Banks and Frank Costanza

One of my favourite Seinfeld episode (if I can have just one) is the episode where Frank Costanza (played by Jerry Stiller) starts a PC Sales company out of his garage, and every time someone made a sale (not George, but that Lloyd Braun!) they  rang a table bell, needless to say things get a little out of control and “SERENITY NOW!!!” (something I also yell a lot) was in great usage in that episode.

Why would I bring up such an obtuse TV reference, maybe I had nothing better to write (did I just hear a bell ring), or maybe it was because I was in my local TD Canada Trust branch and saw the following sign:

“… if you like the job we did ring our bell to show your satisfaction…”

(Or something like that). My wife dutifully rang the bell after visiting with the young teller she was at, but as I left, I rang the bell as well and pronounced loudly:

“That was for the banking machine it did a GREAT JOB as well!”

I just wish I’d yelled, SERENITY NOW! right after that .

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What is this Cheque From?

Twice now my wife has deposited a large cheque and the teller has asked her either:

  • What is this cheque from?
  • What is this cheque for?

One of My Favorite Parts of Mad Magazine

Courtesy of Mad Magazine (click for site)

Now I have already talked about Snappy Answer to Stupid Financial Questions, however, this question begs a commentary from me as well.

I understand why the question is being asked, however, it really smells of a “Lawyer Question”. You know the “Lawyer Question”, it’s a question that  the lawyers make you ask so you have the “I told them not to do that” or “Yes, I asked them if this was illegal”.

Just to be helpful here are some answers that you should not give if you are asked this question at the bank:

It’s the proceeds of selling my Crystal Meth business, I already endorsed it as Walter White

While I think this is funny, my guess is you will not make any friends except with law enforcement.

 What’s it to you? Cash the damn cheque and shut up, I am the customer.

That’s one of those, it feels good for 5 seconds and it hurts for weeks after that, never talk to anyone in the service industry like this if you ever want to have service.

The guy who wrote it told me to come in and cash it right away.

No bank would cash anything after you make that statement (without a 2 week hold on it). If your buddy told you that, you might want to keep that to yourself.

I got it from a Nigerian Prince who is trying to get money out of his country

OK, that one I went a little too far.

 

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