Free Banking ?

in Bank Fees, Banks, Service Fees

From a while ago, but still very topical.  Last night, my wife and I went for our yearly meeting with our current bank to move some money around, update our kids’ RESPs and to attempt to receive Free Banking. My wife was sure that this was not going to happen, and that we were going to walk out of their empty-handed, and I would be ranting about how we have to change banks. I guessed I might get something, given I had some compelling arguments, so we had a friendly wager(my wife taking the “We are going to continue paying bank fees” side of the bet) for a sweet treat at a local food establishment.

Now if you don’t remember my compelling arguments were outlined in yesterday’s posting: Changings Banks? but I thought of 1 or 2 other arguments just in case.

My extra arguments that I thought of on the spot during the discussions were:

  • If I walked into the Bank of Montreal down the road, and say, I’d like to transfer all of my banking to this branch today, if you give me free banking for a year, I am sure they would comply with my request (and if they didn’t I could simply go to the Scotiabank in the same mall and ask them for the same deal).
  • Why if I was a new client, you would give me a free iPod which retails for about $130, yet as a customer in good standing, you expect me to pay $156 a year to use your bank?
Very High Bank Fees free banking

Very High Bank Fees

The meeting was quite cordial, and we got the banking we needed done, and we were very happy with the service that we received, but when we were left alone, my wife was still adamant that we would not get free banking (and I was starting to wonder if she was right).

The counter points made by my bank representative were:

  • PC Financial, EQ Bank Savings Plus Account and ING (now Tangerine) have no service charges (free banking) because they are virtual banks and have much lower overhead, due to them not really having “branches”. This is an interesting argument, except that PC Financial isn’t even really a bank, it is a FRONT to CIBC right now.
  • There is a policy not to give free banking services to anyone, since this is a business. As a share holder in TD I am glad to hear that, since I like seeing companies I invest in profit, however as a customer I am not happy to hear that.
  • If I carry the minimum balance in my checking account, I receive free banking (i.e. no bank fees would be charged). I pointed out $3000 in my bank account does me little good, but $3000 paid on my debts, does a great deal of good. My guess is if I ever get out of debt, I will carry a balance and get free banking (of course by then I will get the Senior Citizen discount).

Did I Get Free Banking ?

What was the final resolution of this discussion, did I get free banking ? Well, I promised the bank representative that I would not say, and I will abide by that agreement.

Later in the evening I did enjoy the Dairy Queen Blizzard that my wife bought for me. I will enjoy it for the entire year.

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