Don’t be afraid to make a change

in Bank, Service Fees

This is another one of my “classic” early stories, and one that I am quite proud of, in that I got a great deal by simply being pissed off enough to act and change something that was going to cost me money. Change your Bank, sounds easy, but is it? 

A friend was talking to me about her families exorbitant Bank Fees and that she was looking at changing banks but was afraid of how complicated that might be. I told her the “parable” of my own reasons for changing banks a while ago, and it goes something like this.

Change Your Bank

When I bought my first home, we were sure that interest rates would never get below 11% ever again in our life time, so we locked in at 11% for five years (stop snickering, it is rude to laugh at the blogger). Needless to say that wasn’t the first nor will it be the last financial blunder I made in my financial career. Five years passed and we FINALLY were able to get a lower interest rate.

A beautiful hand made clock

Time for a change

We went in to talk to the nice lady at the Bank of Montreal (BMO) when it was time to renew, and she suggested that we go int the other direction and get a 6 month term, which would give us the lowest rate they had, and she even knocked it down by another 1/4 of a percent. Sweet! I was deliriously happy! My mortgage payments dropped, wonderful stuff.

When the 6 months were up, we went in to talk to the nice lady, same deal again, WONDERFUL! Another 6 months and again, another great deal.

Does this Keep Happening?

Finally another six months pass, I saunter into my BMO branch, go up ask for the nice lady, the stern woman at the “help” desk said she wasn’t there, but that she could help. I figure, what the heck, I said I’d like my standard deal please, I get this vacuous glare back, and was asked to explain what I meant. I explained that I would like to renew for 6 months and get my customary 0.25% drop in rate as well. “Sir we do not discount that rate, it is our lowest rate”, was the stern response I got back. I pointed out that in fact I had been getting that for the past 3 times, and started getting worried.

Mrs. Stern glared back and again assured me that I was wrong (remember sales people or service folk, being RIGHT is never a good thing if you PISS OFF your customer). This argument got quite heated and after 15 minutes, I left, and I was vowing to myself I’d not stand for this (normally this means I go home and vent at my wife, and then I procrastinate for about 2 weeks and then do nothing).

HOWEVER, this time something had gone off in me, and I drove by the Canada Trust (which is now part of TD), and dropped in and asked them, “What can you do for me?”. Well 60 minutes later, I had decided to move ALL of my business over to CT, and I no longer had a mortgage I had a secured line of credit (which cost nothing to set up). I had changed banks!

Yes, I had to sew up a lot of loose ends, like having my pay deposited to the CT account, get a new credit card, but I also moved my RRSPs over and set up RESPs and a trading account too! They even gave me FREE banking (which I have managed to keep until now, we shall see whether it continues) too!

Is there a Moral to the Story ?

The moral of the story? If a lazy, procrastinating and fat (at the time) bastard like me can change banks on a whim, anyone can, and anyone SHOULD! It is YOUR money, and paying bank fees, and too much for your mortgage is taking money out of your pocket. Don’t let them do this!!! Change your bank, if you are not happy.

{ 2 comments }

  • Anonymous October 3, 2005, 6:50 AM

    Try PC Financial banking. Transactions are free at CIBC and Loblaws machines. Free online banking and unlimited interac transactions. I also use BMO Mosaik Master Card with no annual fee and they give you one air mile for every $40 purchase. Why pay when you get it for free?

    Reply
  • Anonymous September 26, 2005, 6:45 AM

    I’m paying $30 a month for my Royal Bank VIP account (includes Safety Deposit box & Credit card fees for myself & wife). I wanted to change to get lower (or no) fees. However, it appears that the air-miles rewards equivalent on the credit cards (after our usual spending) adds up to more than the monthly fee, giving the appearance of ‘free’ banking? Something still doesn’t fee right with this.
    Anyone know if I can get the same kind of deal (i.e. great rewards with credit card spending) and still get free banking? (We do a lot of transactions on debit & credit cards).

    Reply

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