It’s challenging to end a banking relationship. It was a difficult decision I recently had to make. I maintained TD Bank savings and checking accounts for about 10 years. The relationship was forced upon me. Initially, I opened accounts with Commerce Bank. After about a year with that bank, TD Banknorth and Commerce together were branded as “TD Bank.”
There were signs it might be a rocky relationship. In 2008, logos changed. Friendly faces I had become accustomed to behind the counter disappeared. Interest rates paid on savings accounts dropped. Minimum balances and monthly maintenance fees rose.
Despite changes, the new entity maintained some services that had attracted me to Commerce: a free notary public service and seven-day operations, among them. Even more important, I could still use coin-counting machines without paying a service fee.
Of course, I liked getting one or two papers notarized free every year or so. I enjoyed being able to make a deposit or ask a teller a question on Sundays. But more than anything, I loved dumping my bag full of nickels, dimes and quarters into their coin-counting machine.
The animated cartoon character, Penny Arcade, encouraged me to pour coins into the slot. She urged me to guess the coins’ value. And, if I guessed well, I might get a promotional gift: an ink pen, a change purse or a coin holder.
All that changed this spring. In April, TD decided to suspend the coin-counting service after news reports identified inaccuracies with some machines. About a month later, TD Bank announced its decision to retire all its coin-counting machines.
The discontinued service prompted me to question the ever-changing relationship: Should I remain with TDBank simply to have access to a free notary service? Should I maintain my allegiance because I could speak with a teller on Sundays? How did my accounts’ terms compare with those at other banks where I already had accounts?
In the online banking age, the seven-day service no longer a distinguished TDBank. Their Simple Savings Account paid a 0.05% interest rate and charged a $5 monthly fee if the daily balance fell below the minimum required. With “Convenience Checking”, there was a minimum daily balance of $100 and you had to pay for checks. I hardly used the notary service.
So, I found an online bank that offered a savings account with NO minimum balance requirement, gave its clients 20 times the interest rate — and offered FREE checking. The decision became clear: I had to divorce TDBank.
Here’s what ruptured the relationship: TDBank lost my trust. Not only did the bank fail to maintain their coin-counting machines, but it likely profited from its negligence. In essence, the bank ‘short-changed’ its clients.
TDBank shortchanged its clients – -and became like other consumer-friendly banks.
It focused on lining its own pockets at the expense of service provision. In doing so, TDBank lost what distinguished it from other institutions.
If your bank is no longer serving your needs, it’s time to make a break.
I did – and I’m glad.
That’s the Lowdown!