Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Internet banks are good, but IMHO nothing beats having a great relationship with your banker.

Don’t get me wrong, I just recently started a savings account at an on-line savings bank, primarily because this service could not be provided at my current bank at a competitive interest rate. But I have to say nothing beats being able to physically talk to someone who is really looking out for you and not just a call center staffed with minimum wage workers. So I feel compelled to share my great experience yesterday and why my banker is awesome.

I have an amazing relationship with my current bank, in fact despite moving about 4 hours away and not having access to my physical bank until I go home for a weekend I still stayed with my current bank. Don’t worry while I don’t have physical access to my bank I have online bill pay, mail in deposits etc so I’m not deprived, plus I go back to Atlanta at least twice a month so there’s always night deposits and ATM’s. I opted to stay because of the relationship with the people there and how they treat me plus the knowledge that I’d be moving back to that area in the near future.. The service amazes me, especially because my bank in located in down town Atlanta, a city of over 5.1 million people, not some small town where everyone knows your name.

Case in point of how customer relationship is what keeps me coming back. Yesterday I had a CD that contained a portion of my house down payment (all of my down payment savings are laddered in CD’s) that was up for renewal with a grace period until the 5th of March.

I know I could have clicked on line to renew my CD and I did check online for interest rates before calling my bank’s branch manager Charlie. I’ve met with Charlie in person several times and have banked with him for a few years (note I say him not the bank, although I do love all the other people that work in my branch).

I call him up on his direct line, “Hey Charlie this is Future Millionaire ”. Immediately I get, “Hey , long time no see, how’s Valdosta treating you?” we chit chat for a few minutes and Charlie even glow about how his son just completed a drafting class at the high school and really wants to become an engineer and has started talking about going to my alma mater Georgia Tech. I’ve even met his son one time, because Charlie’s helped me out by coming to the bank on a Saturday when its normally closed so I could get into my safety deposit box. Another reason why I love my bank and banker, they work with you.

I told Charlie that one of my CD’s was up for renewal and wanted to see what my options where. Charlie went through the regular offers that I had already seen online, CD for 3.59 apy 3.65 (better than what I’m getting with Emigrant Direct for a savings account). My philosophy is it never hurts to ask no matter the situation (provided you are nice about it), half the time I get “honestly that’s the best I’ve got”, other times I get you know if we reclassified your money market then you’d qualify for this .1% bump making it 3.69 apy 3.67. Heck yeah! Thanks Charlie I’ll take that.

He was going to fax me the forms to sign and I’d mail them back to him. Ba-da-bing ba-da-boom CD renewal all taken care of and had a nice little chat.

A few seconds later, he called me back unfortunately he couldn’t make it fully work with the system and I’d be about .05% lower that what he said and have a rate of 3.64 with an apy of 3.71. He apologized and was very sorry but he’s already run the numbers and it would be about $6.11 less in interest for the four months, but to make it up he’d take me to lunch the next time I’m in town. No biggy, I’d have loved that extra $6 but I’m still fine with interest rate, its better than I can do anywhere else and I still feel great about the transaction.

I’m telling you, I’d willingly settle for slightly less interest (although not in this case) to talk to a person who is actually willing to help me out.


BK Brian said...

ummmm is this how everything is outside of nyc? if so, then maybe one day i'll consider leaving....well maybe...but probably not b/c apparently i love crappy bankers

"Future Millionaire" said...

@ bk brian - lol no I wish everything outside of nyc was like this. I think that's the biggest reason why I'm so happy with my banker is because its very much unexpected. If you ever decide to leave the crappy bankers in nyc I'd be happy to give you Charlie's contact info, he's definitely one of a kind

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