I went into my local Chase branch in Portland, OR this morning and closed my account. We used to have a Washington Mutual account, but they were seized and essentially given to JP Morgan Chase back during the financial crisis in Sept 2008.
We never switched banks because we were lazy. Well, today I was inspired to get off my ass and vote with my feet (and money) by Bank Transfer Day.
I wasn't alone, and the bank manager was desperate to keep my account. Details on the flip.
Everyone in the bank was in extra sunny happy mode when I came in. It was like I was Norm on Cheers, even though I'd probably been in that office less than 4 times in 3 years. "HI! Welcome! How are you today?!?"
Stepping up to the counter, I said "I'm great... I'd like to close my account please."
"Oh, ok. I'll need to have you talk to the branch manager," the teller said, gesturing to the gentleman at the nearby desk.
I shook the bank manager's hand, noting that his watch probably cost more than my car, and immediately felt even better about my decision. He looked up my info and then began running through his script for keeping my account open.
"Is everything OK with your account and service?"
Well, yes, except for the fact that I'm charged ten dollars a month for the privilege of having a checking account here. (We used to have free checking, but Chase implemented the fee about a year ago if our balance went below $1500. Man, we were lazy and complacent, but not today!)
"Let me see, yes, it seems you paid a fee... 3 times? So only $30."
Yes, only $30... but it's the principle. It's the greed that is annoying.
"Well, you've been with us for many years, here is what I can do. I can temporarily... uh, permanently waive any future fees. We really value our relationship with you and want to keep you as a customer."
It seems like if Chase had called me before I came down here to close my account and made that offer that it would seem genuine, but not only after I'm already here to close my account. Which I would like to do.
"Well, we could also refund those fees. We would really like to retain your business."
I'm going to be opening up an account with a local credit union.
"We are local, too, really. We all live in this community and take our community involvement very seriously. Plus, the economic forces that have made us institute fees will affect the credit unions, too. If they aren't charging fees now, they will be, believe me."
Look, I'm sure you have heard of Bank Transfer Day. That's what I'm participating in, that's why I'm here. I am closing this account.
At this point two more customers come in and get the "HI! GOOD MORNING! How are YOU today?!?!" greeting.
"We're here to close our accounts," they say. The bank manager looks from them back to me with resignation in his eyes, but reiterates his no future fees offer. I decline, and he writes me a withdrawal slip for all the money in my account.
I left the bank feeling great... i really hope this scene is playing out all over america today!
2:44 PM PT: UPDATE: Cool! Thanks for all the recs for my first diary after 7 years of lurking! That makes this day even sweeter.
Just to be clear, i'm not suggesting the bank manager was all that worried about just my $1000 in his bank. It really seemed like this had been going on all morning and looked to continue, so it was the collective action of the community that was making him sweaty and nervous! Keep up the good work, people!