Wednesday, February 22, 2006

Why I Can't Stand Bank of America

I don't like Bank of America. I refuse to have an account there because they're so user-unfriendly. A few months ago I sold my house and got a 6-digit check for it from the mortgage company, which I then tried to sign over to someone with a BofA account (don't stress, it's all legit). BofA wouldn't take the check! I mean, it's not like we were trying to take money out of the bank, we were trying to deposit money into the bank. I even went to the bank myself with identification to show that the signature on the back of the check was mine--and they still wouldn't take it. They wouldn't even take it and hold the funds until the check cleared! What kind of operation is that?

Today I tried to cash a 3-digit check drawn on a BofA account. I went to a local branch to cash the check, and the first thing they asked me was if I had a BofA account. Why does that matter? What should matter is if the person who wrote the check has a BofA account, and whether they have money in the account to cover the check! When I answered no, I didn't, the teller asked me why not! She then went on to give me yet another reason not to have such an account....

First, she needed my identification--no problem. Then, she had to verify the signature on the check. This is only necessary since I don't have an account there. What's up with that? She then asked me to go take a seat and she'd call me when everything was taken care of. Then she made a lap around the tables and desks behind the counter and then set my driver's license and the check down next to a computer--and came right back up to the counter to help someone else! After she was done with that customer, and seeing that no one had even touched my i.d. or check, I went back up to her and asked for the two items so I could leave. Without any hesitation or discussion she gave them to me.

From there I met a friend at Jamba Juice, which is right next to a grocery store with a BofA branch in it. After my friend left I gave it the old college try and in I went. I got the same "do you have an account here" introduction, which doesn't impress me--and I said so. This teller also had to verify the signature but at least got to work on it right away. How is this done, you may ask? BofA electronically saves a copy of all checks for 7 years, so she was pulling up previous checks by the person who wrote mine so she could verify that the signature wasn't forged. This took the computer several minutes, during which time the teller tried to convince me this "minor inconvenience" was much better than the old-fashioned method of having to go to the actual branch location at which the person had opened the account (where they would look at a signature card).

Does BofA not realize it's 2006? Is this really the best they can do?

Finally, the checks came up on her screen. Uh oh, she said. It seems like the wife is the one who seems to write all the checks, so she'll have to scroll through the checks until she finds one signed by the husband. Scroll...scroll...scroll...scroll. I asked if she could just call the people who wrote the check--their number is printed on it--and ask them if they wrote me the check. "That still wouldn't verify the signature." Finally she finds one, and actually takes my check and places it on the computer screen to match up the signatures. Then she records all sorts of information on my check--probably the number and date of the check she confirmed the signature with. And as some final protection, I had to put a fingerprint on the check.

Only then did I get my money.

Does BofA really wonder why I don't bank there? If this is how they treat a prospective customer, how will they treat me when they actually have my money under their lock and key?


KauaiMark said...

I haven't been a fan of BoA since 1970 when they convinced my wife to leave the account with $3 open "just in case" we'd need it later.

BoF then confiscated the $3 as "fees" and closed the account a year later because we didn't use it.

Credit Unions are the only way to go!!

Ronnie said...

Golden One is a joke too, I want to open a CD and since I don't have a license they wanted to see my actual social security card, not even a copy, and you know I have that readily available. The only bank that actually has customer service is Wells Fargo where I have a personal banker, a financial banker, and they even have a special short line for me, lol.

NewSisyphus said...

What is truly scary to me about this story is that it almost exactly matches an event in my life that had me swear off BofA for the rest of my life, except that event occurred in......1989.

Sounds like they haven't changed much.

Anonymous said...

I am a BofA customer and have nothing but problems. BofA seems to have a gimmick...making money. Here's what I've learned.
If you write checks they clear them by there amount...highest first. Not in the order they come in, but by the amount of the check. How does this make them money? Take this scenerio. If you have say $500 in the account and write some small checks... $20, $45, $75 etc then write one large check say $300. Ok granted if you aren't watching what you're doing you'll over draw. But face it, we've all been in situations when you're close to payday and something comes up, you write a big check knowing that it will clear after payday....back to the story. They will hold the checks, clear the 300 one first taking your balance down to 200 and continue. If you're close to the wire, you'll go over...creating overdraft charges ($33 ea.). Imagine writing a check for $20 and having a $33 fee! Not to mention you may end up with several small checks generating $33 fees for BofA. Now imagine if this happens to 1000 customers. I see BIG $$$ for BofA.
I have a Credit Union account also, never have they done this. If I go over it's because of my own fault and not some bank trying to rip me off.
Another thing they do is hold checks. Even cashiers checks! As a comparison, I had a $5000 cashier check that deposited into my BofA account and they gave me $100 and held the rest for 5 business days. Um I thought cashiers checks were like cash. Anyway, the comparison. I had a $60,000 cashiers check I deposited into my credit union account and they gave me 1/2 ($30,000) right away and the rest in 5 business days. Who knows what would've happened had I deposited it into BofA. They probably would've strip searched me!!
Anyway...BofA is terrible. I'm moving my money elsewhere.