A couple of weeks ago, I had the distinct pleasure of speaking at the quarterly gathering of Financial Women International - in Orange County Ca. This is a great organization that facilitates resources to financial professionals (not exclusively women), trying to make a difference and improve business practices.
During the talk we touched on my experience with banking and the potential need to reconsider the banking industry’s heavy reliance on fees and penalties as a source of revenue. My position, as you can guess, is the practice is inherently destructive to XCS and thereby to business value.
I left Bank of America because of poor service. And now it feels like I will have to change all my direct deposits and automatic payments again . . . .sigh!
A few minutes ago I logged on to my online banking account and found two charges on my overdraft protection account that didn’t make sense, $10 and $12.56. I had little to do while waiting for my plane at the gate so I decided to call.
“Hi, this is John” – a voice answered.
Hello? is this Wells Fargo? Yes, John replied. (I will save commentary on his greeting for another time).
I asked John about the charges, and after looking for my record, he was easily able to assess the situation. “Every time your overdraft protection account is accessed, there is a fee assessed on your account”. WHAT?
Of course, Sir you are making use of a service for which there is a fee.
John, you charge me interest for that service, isn’t that fee enough?
You also have ALL my money in your bank, which I assume is worth something.
Finally, the purpose of the overdraft protection is to “PROTECT ME FROM OVERDRAFTS !”, not to find another reason why I should get a fee. Plus, “I have this super duper platimun, high octane, VIP account with glittery cards that is supposed to separate me from the masses that actually have to deal with fees like these !”
Guess what he said? Mr. Vidal, your agreement which I can make available to you, clearly outlines these fees.
Guess what I said? John, close my accounts.
And now I have to find another bank.
This is getting old, and frankly, I don’t have the time for it.
OK, I talk about it a lot, but I actually thought I had let go of this angry side. Even though I say it’s an epedemic, institutional issue, I thought moving from my old bank to a new one would solve my problem. But I haven’t moved on on, and it isn’t solved. Why? Because it is an epidemic institutional issue.
I’m angry. Not because of the $22, but because we are losing our sense of decency for each other. We continue to sell ourselves for money, protected by the shield of corporate policy. Thinking the one who dies with the most wins.
XCS is about us, not about money.