Banks and Credit Unions
Berkeley Parents Network >
Legal & Financial Services >
Banks and Credit Unions
Credit Union with good online mobile services
I read the archives but would like recommendations of credit unions specific to my
needs. In the wake of the occupy movement last year, we switched from big bank B
of A to a local credit union. I didn't do much research and am finally frustrated
with the lack of technology at the Cooperative Federal Credit Union (corner of
Ashby and MLK in Berkeley). I can't use mint.com because of an antiquated security
code system to log into the bank accounts so my info doesn't upload automatically,
I've had tons of errors on online bill pay, couldn't access my electronic statement
on a mac, online bill pay doesn't do e-payments only checks, etc, etc... the list
goes on and on. Problem is, it is the closest to our house and most convenient.
Can anyone recommend a local credit union that would still allow me to use the ATM
at this branch for free? AND that has good technology and mobile banking services?
I rarely use the teller...just need to get cash weekly and deposit checks
occasionally. Maybe patelco?
UGH...I'm dreading doing all the work to switch again, but this is driving me nuts.
Moving my money....again!
If you are open to something that's not a credit union, I've been really happy
with Mechanics Bank. They are a local bank, they have full online banking
services, and (awesomeness) *they reimburse you for ATM fees*! So if you use an
ATM from another bank/ credit union, Mechanics Bank not only doesn't charge you,
but they reimburse any fee that the other bank charges you.
Happy local banker
First tech federal cu. was Addison ave, before that HP. Have banked with them for
nearly 20 years. Great bank!!! Have done car loans, mortgage loans, regular
checking and savings. You can use mint. They are always improving their mobile
banking 'stuff'. Free ATM usage - but there are limited ATMs for deposits (mostly
south bay). Love my cu!
We use Golden1. They used to be only for State Employees but are now open to
everyone. I do all my banking online and they do have a mobile app now too. the
system works well and I have never had any problems. They are part of the network
and easy to find ATMs with no charge.
Golden 1 customer
We also switched from BofA to a credit union - Patelco Credit Union and I love it.
They have mobile deposits (take that BofA! They also have online/scan deposits)
respond to emails and works with mint.com. You can also use atms at any 7/11 (even
make deposits!) free of charge along with any other credit union's atms (I think
they need to be part of the credit union coop?) As well as Bank of the West
We even refinanced our car with them too. It was formerly with Wells Fargo. We
were able to lower our rate and monthly payments considerably.
When I do go into the branch (downtown Oakland) I really feel as though I am a
member. They remember me and my kids. It helps that they have a teeny kid area
I have Patelco that works with mint.com and seems to have good mobile banking. So
far so good. For
future reference, you can see which atms are available with your credit union at
www.cuswirl.com. I still
mostly use my childhood credit union from Oregon and can use Cooperative, and
virtually all other credit
unions in the country, for free. Patelco also lets you use Bank of the West which
I've been happy with Patelco since they bought Cal State 9 a few years back. The
online services are good and they have a new Android app that you can use to
transfer funds, check balances, and even make a deposit by taking a picture of
the check (haven't tried this yet). You'll be able to use the CFCU ATM at MLK
and Ashby (and at the Berkeley Bowl) for free, along with pretty much any other
credit union ATM.
We have been with Patelco for about a year and have had no complaints. Their
iPhone app works well and allows mobile deposits, so you won't have to visit a
branch to make deposits. I find their website easy to use and offers all the
features I expect (bill pay, etc.) I used to live very close to the Cooperative
FCU, so I know they are on the same credit union network. (The ATM in Berkeley
Bowl is much newer and better than the one at the credit union, by the way.) I
don't know how it works with mint.com - I know I wasn't able to use mint.com
with my Bank of America account when I tried a couple years ago, so it isn't
just a credit union problem. We have a credit card with them as well and
therefore qualify as a ''commitment household,'' which has some perks that we
haven't yet taken advantage of. We get 1% cash back on our card, which is nice.
Banks make a lot more profit off credit cards than small checking accounts, so
you'll want to think about switching those too.
I highly recommend Patelco. We switched for the same reasons you mention about a
year ago and it has been a very positive experience. The branch on Shattuck Sq.
is decent, and their mobile and online banking capabilities are great, rivaling
that of Wells Fargo et al. Melissa
I highly recommend Provident Credit Union. You can use credit unions within the
Co-Op network for branch services like deposits, money orders, etc. You can do
the whole phone photo check deposit thing, too, if you like. I usually just mail
my checks in for deposit. You can issue on-line checks and bill pay. And best of
all, they will refund you ATM fees for using an out of system ATM. Yep- use
whatever McBank ATM you like- no charge. They also actually pay interest on
their checking accounts. I've had them for years- excellent customer service,
and the lack of an actual branch near me has never been an issue. I honestly
don't why anyone uses a big bank when you can support a non-profit community
lender- Provident makes it so easy.
SF or East Bay credit union
We're looking for a new credit union, preferably based in (and with branch and ATM
access in) San Francisco (FiDi would be awesome) or Oakland/Berkeley. We've been
with Technology Credit Union for umpteen years, but their not having branches
anywhere near SF or the East Bay, combined with the recent board attempt to convert
the CU to a bank have prompted a search for something better...
One good thing about Tech CU was their being part of a big CU network, so there
were a fair number of ATMs downtown that we could use. Any CU we switch to would
need to be part of that.
Need a new CU
Hiya! I just posted my response regarding Patelco Credit Union to another poster's
question. Patelco has branches in SF (close to FiDi too - 2nd street, I believe)
AND the East Bay - but you can also use atms at 7/11, Bank of the West and other
credit unions that are part of the co-op network. They have mobile & online
capabilities. I have never deposited a check in person and only occasionally at an
atm (at 7/11!). I predominately use their online and mobile apps. Patelco Member
We have been happy with Patelco. They are one of the larger credit unions in the
area, so they have 40 branches in the area, including downtown Oakland, downtown
Berkeley, and the Financial District. They are also part of a big credit union
network. However, we haven't had easy reason to visit a branch since we joined,
since we can take care of all our banking online.
Just a repeat of a shout-out for Provident Credit Union. Excellent customer
service, use any ATM you want (ANY- big bank, 7-11, whatever)- no charge, earn
interest on your checking account, easy on-line services. Use any Co-Op network
credit union for branch services. I can't recommend Provident more highly. As
far as I know, there's only one branch in the East Bay- out by the Oakland
Airport, and then 2 in SF (in Chinatown and in the federal building)- so you
might have to go out of your way to actually open your account. But after that-
couldn't be easier. Kris
Interest-earning account with easy access?
We'd like to put most of our tax refund in some kind of account until the cash
is needed to pay property taxes (December and April). We'd love to earn a
little interest and also have the money be very easy to withdraw when we need
it. Any recommendations? Could be a brick-and-mortar, or online institution, I
suppose, as long as you've had good experiences with it. Thanks!
Trying to be better with money
We love ING - we've had online accounts with them for several years and they
a decent interest rate (for a savings or checking account) and is super easy
access - you can pay bills online, withdraw money fee-free through Allpoint
ATMs, use your ATM at the grocery store and get cash back, write paper checks,
whatever you need. They've just added the ability to deposit checks using
smartphone, too. Saver
The good news is you can open up a brokerage account with many brokerages
which have no yearly fees, and in an individual account you could have access
to the funds very quickly (in around 3 days depending on what they are
The bad news is in such a low rate environment there are very few products
which will give you a decent return without assuming some risk.
If you have no risk tolerance at all your best bet may be to find a
moneymarket fund returning around 1%. If you are willing to assume a little
risk you could safely earn somewhere around 3-4%. Feel free to email me if you
would want further information about different brokerages and what to look for
if you decide to invest it.
Good Credit Union or Community Bank in Berk Oak?
I just read that the city of Berkeley was pulling their $300 million
dollars out of Wells Fargo. I'm ready to move my money out of that Big
Bank as well.
Anyone have a good experience with a community bank or credit union?
I'm looking for good ATM access, good customer service and would love
if I can find one with a credit card.
I can recommend Patelco Credit Union. We switched over late last year
and I have no complaints. I have emailed them a few times because I
hate calling and have always received quick responses. The local
branch I signed up with also remembered me when I was pregnant when I
had to come in for my work's HSA account before I switched over, so
that was nice. They have credit cards, a debit rewards program
($25/annually) and have ample locations (bank of west, 7-11 atms are
included) - they state at least 34,000 nationwide. However, I hardly
if ever, go to the atm. I make deposits online (using my
printer/scanner) and although they do have an online bill pay - I
haven't used it - instead I use the bill recipient's online system and
use patelco's routing number. I also plan to re-finance our auto loan
(wells fargo) so that I am only dealing with Patelco
-moved our money
We recently made the switch from B of A to the Cooperative Center
Federal Credit Union (main branch is at corner of Ashby and MLK in
Berkeley) and I am SO glad we did. It feels great to not give big
banks my money anymore. We went through a short sale of a property in
Florida with B of A and after that hellish experience, I will never
give them my business again. The Co-op FCU was more than willing to
give us a credit card with NO annual fee to help us rebuild our credit
AND approved us for a car loan with a great interest rate, right after
we became members. The customer service has been great for the most
part. Here are my pros and cons:
- High interest checking account (2% interest)
- ATM access at 7-11 stores and at almost any other credit union atm.
if you have the high interest checking account you can even use big
bank ATMs and they will refund you the fees on your statement each
- MUCH more community oriented- they give loans and credit based on
relationship- they can take into account your specific situation and
overlook things like the short sale on our credit report since we have
perfect credit and NO debt otherwise.
- Still have online billpay and online account access just like B of A
- sometimes you have to wait to do things while the bank is open rather
than there being a 1-800 number you can call (for example, to activate
your credit or debit card when it arrives, order checks, etc.)
- the online banking system and bill pay seems not as ''flashy'' as B
of A...not sure how to describe it but it just seems like an older
system or something. but it works, so I don't care.
Really, the pros far outweigh the cons. Go for it! Their website is
- Keeping my money local and not-for-profit
I love Mechanics Bank. They have very few ATMs of their own,
but they refund the fees other banks charge to use their ATMs.
Good bank for home equity line of credit
College tuition is coming up in the fall, and it's time for me to
think about opening a home equity line of credit for college
expenses. Any ideas for a good place to go to or avoid for this?
Is a line of credit done with a loan broker or directly with a
bank, usually, or how? Your ideas will be welcome and much
soon to be empty nester with empty pockets
I have a HELOC with BofA, which I was lucky to get in 2006
before the economy, and my self-employment income, tanked.
The interest rate is below 3%. A few months ago they tried
to lower the credit limit ''because home values in [my]
neighborhood had plummeted,'' which was B.S. When I contested
it, they sent an appraiser, who validated my home's value,
and they promptly restored the original credit limit. I was
a BofA customer at the time I applied, but don't know how
much that made a difference. I explored another financial
institution with whom I did business and realized I would
not meet their criteria.
Wherever you apply, you will have to qualify. Start getting
applications from your bank, credit union, etc., and see
who's a good match.
Bank/credit union research
So in the wake of all of the move your money/occupy coverage, I am
wondering how to compare the relative merits of different banks and
credit unions. There has been lot of noise about BofA and Chase, but
what if I am a member of a different bank? I don't want to blindly go
from my bank (which I know little about except that I have been very
happy with their service) to a credit union just because ''banks are
bad''. I don't even know exactly what information I should be looking
for, their capitalization? total deposits? whether they sold bad
mortgages? the bonus their CEO got last year? Advice please!
Sadly, most of the Berkeley credit unions are rather
incompetent (check out Yelp reviews). Good news, Mechanics
bank is great. Local, they donate, and are not greedy and
hope-crushing like the big dogs. Good luck!
Fellow Occupy Supporter
Which bank to choose?
Dear BPN community, I need to ask a question about where to keep
your hard earned money those days. All of you I'm sure are aware of
debit card fee BofA imposing on their customers soon. Also as part
of the ''Occupy Wall Street'' movement, it is suggested (and make
sense to me) that people could respond to big banks by closing
accounts and moving their money to local banks to support local
communities. I'm quiet new to Berkeley, have my account in BofA and
thinking right now about other options that would make sense. Any
feedback would be greatly appreciated. Thanks.
Mechanics Bank is really great! Personal (people in my branch greet me
by name). Responsive (when there was a problem with bill-pay not going
through, they talked to the vendor and fixed the issue on their site).
Low/no fees (they don't charge for the debit card, and don't charge for
using other banks' ATMs, even in Mexico and Europe).
I'm a big fan of Patelco Credit Union, which is based in San
Francisco with offices throughout the Bay Area, including
Berkeley and Oakland. We've had a variety of accounts there
for over five years and have been extremely happy with them.
They have ATMs all over the place (they belong to a network
of local credit unions and also partner with Bank of the
West and a few others to blanket the area with fee-free
options for both deposits and withdrawals) and when I've
called with questions, I am quickly connected to real,
competent people who can actually solve the problem---such a
refreshing change! I initially chose them because they
offered a good combination of progressive community outreach
and solid financial standing, and we continue to be pleased
with the work they do on that front. They don't have a lot
of bells and whistles (e.g., very simple online interface)
and can't always match the big commercial banks on interest
rates (though we've found their mortgage/loan rates are
terrific, as are their loan counselors), but I'm of the mind
that you get what you pay for. You might also consider the
many other credit unions in Berkeley---some other good
contenders there as well. Happy Patelco customer!
I have been a customer of Mechanics Bank, following B of A and Wells
Fargo, for at least 10 years. They are locally, privately owned, and I
have been very happy with them. I bank at the N. Solano branch at
Colusa. I can do many of my transactions over the internet (transfers,
bill pay, etc.). coco
We recently switched to Mechanics Bank from Wells Fargo and we're very
happy. They know me by sight, when I call the 800 number I get a real
person and never have to go through a phone tree, and ATM fees get
reimbursed. They certainly do not charge people for using their debit
card!! I do online banking and bill pay and it works fine. I primarily
use the branch on San Pablo near Washington but my friend uses the
downtown Berkeley Branch (Shattuck near Bancroft) and he really likes
the staff there too. I love that they're local. It feels like the way it
used to be when I was a kid and I'd go to the bank with my parents. I
highly recommend them. It can be a hassle to move your money, but be
patient and give yourself a few months. Good luck!
Ally Bank is for you! I have just closed all my accounts
with Wells Fargo due to the ridiculous fees they have
Ally Bank is an online bank, with all guarantees, AND with
interest on your checking account! Since Ally Bank has no
branch, they are available 24/7 online and on the phone. You
can withdraw money from any ATM at no fee. Pretty good deal,
uh? I am making better use of my money now by not paying any
fees (wires are free).
If you want to compare other banks, I recommend
LearnVest.com and you'll see what each has to offer.
Torrey Pines Bank is a solid smaller bank (used to be called
Alta Alliance Bank). They keep their loans (meaning they
don't sell them to be securitized), and more germane to you
as a daily user, you can use ATMs anywhere and they will
reimburse the ATM fees.
Credit Union suggestions in East Bay
I am considering
switching from the big banks to a credit union but don't want to jump from
the pan into the fire. Help!
Provident CU - I've been with them for 2 years. The only
disadvantage is that they don't have many branches for the 1 or 2
times each year I need to do something in the branch. They have free
interest checking accounts, free automatic bill checks, like for
monthly rent, and free ATMs at any 7-11 and co-op ATMS.
I've been a member of Patelco Credit Union for years. I
have my personal and business checking/savings with them and
have had car loans as well. I bank in Lafayette and know
everyone that works there. It's not a very busy branch, so
it is very personal. They have been so helpful with all
kinds of issues over the years. I wouldn't dream of changing
I'm a member of several different East Bay credit unions:
Alliant, Provident, Co-op, and Patelco.
Roughly speaking, I'd recommend them in that order. Alliant
pays a relatively good interest rate on standard savings
accounts and has excellent service. Provident has a special
checking account that pays a higher interest rate, but for
which you have to jump through some hoops. Nothing really
stands out about the Co-op, but they're friendly and
conveniently located for me. Patelco bought my old credit
union, and I don't like them much, but they're still better
than most banks.
Patelco and the Co-Op have Berkeley branches, while
Provident is near the Oakland airport and Alliant is in
downtown Oakland. These days, I think just about anybody can
sign up for any credit union if they're willing to pay a few
dollars, though if you meet certain qualifications, you may
be able to sign up for free (for example, Kaiser members can
join Alliant for free).
Credit union member
For more than 20 years, we have been extremely satisfied
with our credit union, Financial Benefits Credit Union in
Check them out! anon
Try cooperative center federal credit union in berkeley I have been a
member since I was a student over 12 plus years ago and they are
We have been with Patelco for years (before it was Cal State 9) We
have been very happy there and have many accounts for kids and us.
We are glad to have our money in a credit union and not in one of the
Patelco! I can't say enough good things about them, and we
have been customers for over 20 years. www.patelco.org
Good bank to use for HSA
I have become eligible to open a Health Savings Account and
would like to do so, but the credit union where I do my
banking does not offer HSA's. I don't want to switch banks,
so I'm looking for somewhere where I can just open an HSA,
hopefully with a minimum of fees but with the kind of
service that gets makes the transactions simple and
hassle-free. I'd prefer an institution where I can do most
of the transactions by mail, although I'd consider a local
bank where that's not the case (I live in San Leandro). Having
never done this before, and being a single parent
with very little time on my hands, I'm looking for something
that is reliable and easy to navigate. Have you found an
HSA institution that works well for you? Thanks for your help!
- New to HSA's
I have been using Falcon National Bank in MN for several years now
and am very happy with their service. Clear quaterly statements, the
only interest bearing svngs acct that is actually making money for
me at 1.5%, midwestern politeness when I call, etc. (877)368-2265
(320)968-6300. They have checks and cards etc, but I find that with
proper record keeping on my part, you don't need any of that. Just
keep really good records in a file on what you contribute to the
acct for which year, what expenses you write checks or use credit
cards for, and since you can use last years funds for current
payments, just track your total expenses to date to make sure they
stay under your total contributions.
Falcon also has stock accounts that you can select to transfer you
HSA svngs into, which was why I went with them in the first place,
but I never had time to check it out, and then with the recession I
ended up having to use the $ in my acct on medical expenses (vs just
Love my HSA
We have our HSA at Bank of America. It was easy to set up
online, and neither good nor bad really so far - they
reimbursed us fairly quickly for expenses; that's really the
only interaction I've had with them. My only complaint is
that it's totally separate from our other BofA accounts - I
chose them thinking it would be simpler to transfer money
and manage accounts, but the HSA has a totally separate
login, they send us paper checks rather than just putting
the money in our checking account, I must send them paper
checks to fund the account, etc. Other than that small
hassle, they're fine, and the fees were comparable to other
institutions I looked at.
We use Patelco just for our HSA account. There are no fees and the
first small batch of checks are free. They have lots of branches,
including one in downtown Berkeley.
I use Patelco credit union for HSA after another bank I was
using closed their HSA program. It's great because you don't
have to send any paperwork in to get the approved
transactions, just pay your bill directly.
I've been using hsabank.com for almost a year. It has been perfectly
acceptable. The fees for our employee group are about
$2/person/month. You get a Visa card to pay your medical bills. I
make all my deposits by mail, all debits using the Visa, and check
my activity online. My daughter broke her arm, so there have been
tons of bills, and using the HSA Bank has been fine.
-- a mom
I don't know for sure about hsa's, but a very responsive and
personal banker- and her bank is the same- is Nancy McCarthy at
Mechanics Bank, El Cerrito Plaza. It is a full-service low-fee, real
Credit Union Recommendations?
I want to transfer my $ from the goliath Chase into
something more local & progressive. Anyone have experience
w/any of the following?
1.People's Federal Credit Union
2.Oakland Municipal Credit Union
3.Alliant Credit Union
6.1st United Services Credit Union
7.Financial Benefits Credit Union
Factors such as customer service, ease of access to branches
/ ATMs, access to online bill pay, rates of return on
various investments are all important.
I don't know why everyone doesn't have their money at
Patelco. We have been there for over 20 years, and think
they are wonderful. The people we have dealt with there
have always been friendly and helpful, and there are fairly
modest requirements for being what they call a Commitment
Household. If you are a CH, you get free accounts, no ATM
fees at their member branches (and that includes other
locations, such as 7-Elevens and Bank of the West ATMS),
free online banking (which is super easy to use and we have
never had an issue with), free notary services, etc. We had
a car loan with them for a while, and they set it up so was
a deductible home equity loan and they matched the slightly
lower rate we were offered elsewhere. I haven't tried it
yet, but they even just started a new service where you can
make a deposit by scanning in a check image and uploading it
to them on-line. With everyone complaining about how they
are treated by banks and the exorbitant fees (which I just
heard are likely to go up even more, as banks eliminate most
''free'' services to make up lost revenue), it seems a
no-brainer to switch to a credit union, and we have been
extremely happy at Patelco.
Looking for a good credit union
Looking for a good credit union. Would like it to have strong:
Thanks for your help.
We really like PATELCO. I think the fees are very reasonable, and you can get
cash out of any 7-11 without charge. I think the CSR in the branches is quite
good, but I have had 1-2 snippy interactions over the phone. Regardless, I think
you should check them out.
I'm looking for a bank to open my child's first bank account.
Something with no monthly fees and a very low minimum balance.
Bank of the West on Shattuck and Vine (right next to Safeway). $100 to
open the account, no fees for custodial accounts for kids. Plus, they are
friendly with the kids and support Cal.
Bank of the West customer
HSBC.com has AMAZING interest rates for their online checking accounts.
It takes a little more work to set up than walking into a bank but if
you're looking to save some for the long term, the good interest rates are
worth it. No monthly fees, no minimum amount. Once you get it set up
they will send you an ATM card or you can transfer money from another bank
online (no fees to do so). If you're looking to set up an account for
your child to go in and make deposits and learn about money, this may not
be the best option but I seriously recommend looking into it.
How about a credit union? I go to Patelco and have several account there,
including one savings account I share with my daughter.
Hi Allison,I recommend you try ING Direct.I opened joint accounts with
each of my children(since they are minors).There is no minimum balance and
no fees attached. All the banking can be done over the phone or on line.
It's quick and easy, no hassles.Hope this helps.
We use Wells Fargo, and they have a kids saving account program and a teen
checking/debit card account. There is a minimum you have to deposit each
month to keep it fee-free, but they waived that because we have checking
and savings with Wells. You might might want to check with your current
bank. Even if they don't have an advertised kids' plan, they would most
likely set one up for you because you are a customer. I had this offered
to me previously by bankers at other banks I have used.
I like Bank of the West on Shattuck at Vine because it is free etc and
also, right now everyone in there is pregnant and it just feels good.
They all seem to love kids and it is folksier than a lot of banks...
although, there is no play area... There are chairs for sit down business.
Real live Security Guards... a camera where you can see yourself in line,
a little parking lot, wheel chair/stroller access, ATM, not fancy but
quite pleasant. They have never made a mistake with our accounts...
I have had savings accounts for both my children at Mechanics Bank for
several years. The kids were very intrigued with the concept of interest.
I have seen some good books for kids on investment, money management, etc.
I like that Mechanics is a smaller, family owned, local bank. If you want
higher interest, go with an ING savings account online. I have also used
them for several years and it is easy to transfer money from your regular
bank account to theirs and back again. No transfer fees with ING. Paypal
also pays higher interest but there are fees to send the money elsewhere.
I think most banks allow you to open a child's saving account with no fees
- especially if it's where you do your own banking. Just ask! Of course,
the interest will be tiny (isn't it all, these days, though!).
With all the banks misbehaving lately, I am thinking of going more local.
I don't care that much about interest, since no one is giving any these
days, but I think that a credit union might be more appropriate for a
small time savings and checking. I have banked with WAMU for years which
bought my Great Western and has now been bought by Chase and JP Morgan. I
am tired of these big fish that eat the little fish and want something
Any advice or recommendations would be appreciated.
I wish to find one like Jimmy Stewart ran in IT'S A WONDERFUL LIFE.
I have been extremely happy with Mechanics Bank for many years (after
uneven experiences with Wells and B of A). I am at the N. Solano Ave.
branch. I recommend you see Chris O'Brien, Office Manager, at the
Kensington Office, 279 Arlington Ave., 527-2225. Please tell him I
referred you. Checking is free with one direct deposit. They will
reimburse you for the fees incurred at other banks' atms, and they are
If you want a great bank that makes you feel like you're in ''It's A
Wonderful Life'', go to the Mechanics Bank in Kensington and ask for
Chris O'Brien, (510) 527-2225. Since moving all my accounts to their
bank I feel like a king when I walk in and talk about special
treatment! This bank is top of the line and you won't believe how
helpful and friendly they are. You won't be disappointed.
For a great local bank, I would try Mechanic's Bank. They give
extremely personalized service and are the only local bay area bank
that I know of. There is a wonderful gentleman named Chris O'Brien at
the Kensington branch, but you could count on any branch that is near
to you. They are very community-minded and also green certified, if
that is of value to you.
Mechanics Bank is a local bank with great press. My own experience has
been good, and I've heard good things from clients and friends that
I've referred there. They're very stable financially, besides being
just plain nice folks. They also provide free ATM access at ANY ATM,
which is a nice perk in my eyes.
Hi - Many banks have been merged into larger institutions as a result
of this crisis. Its not necessarily a bad thing to have a larger
institution with more financial backing behind your bank. Also with a
regional bank, you have to be aware of branches and ATM fees. Most of
the banks that have failed (17 year to date!) were small, regional
That said, my clients have had good experiences with Fremont Bank
(www.fremontbank.com). They have an SF branch and the rest are deeper
in the East Bay. Another surprisingly good bank is First Republic,
which is actually owned by Merrill Lynch. Clients have reported
excellent service and good rates/products - especially for small
Hope that helps ~
It's not a small institution, but I love ING direct: ingdirect.com
I've had a savings account with them linked to my Wells Fargo checking
since 2000. I'm not usually ebulient over financial matters, but I
love ING. I earn interest like a CD (or better), my money is totally
liquid (very easy online transfers between accts), and their default
policy is to never share my info with any company ever - I would have
to ''opt in'' for all the marketing nonsense that every other financial
institution makes you actively opt out of. They now have a checking
option, too with free atm access.
Yes!! One California Bank is based in Oakland is very committed to serving
the local community. They offer all the basic banking products, work with
local small businesses on loans, and are an all around great company. You
can check them out here:
Please support community banking and local businesses!
I'm another Cal State 9 customer who will soon be part of
Patelco Credit Union. Any opinion of Patelco? Or of the
Mechanics Bank here in Berkeley?
I'll probably give Patelco a chance, but I'm particularly
interested in finding an institution that's stable and deals
well with overseas transfers, as our daughter is going to
school in Britain. (And, of course, one whose ATM card is
Also, can anyone recommend a credit card that donates to good
causes? I had a Working Assets card for years until it was
taken over by MBNA and the fees miraculously increased.
My husband and I have been Patleco members for almost 20 years
and we LOVE it.
We travelled to England, France, Germany, Spain, Austria, Italy
and the Czech Republic and had no problems using the ATMs in any
of those countries. We also financed two cars, opened an IRA and
have had money wired to us using Patelco.
Are only gripe is that there aren't very many branches in the
East Bay, so making deposits can be a pain.
We decided to look elsewhere as we did not like the way Cal State
9 handled their demise -- we read about the problems first in the
newspaper, then got a letter from the CU -- not
confidence-instilling. We are in the process of moving our
accounts to Mechanics Bank, where I have banked for 25 years.
Unlike my usual experiences with Cal State 9, the Mechanics staff
are friendly and helpful, their ATM cards work everywhere (and
they rebate the fees to you) and, best of all, the bank is
locally owned (started to help mechanics working at local
refineries, factories and railroads). They are also consistently
ranked as one of the safest banks in the state.
Longtime Mechanics Bank fan
We've had good luck with Patelco, although we've mostly dealt
with the North Bay branches. During years of banking with Cal
State 9, their customer service degenerated from very good to
being surly, slow and inaccurate, so personally I think almost
anything is an improvement.
So Far, So Good
I'm looking for a savings account for my kids(10 & 12)that will
earn more interest then they are currently getting at Wells Fargo
We make deposits quarterly, but it's hardly worth it with such a
What's worked for you?
Both of our kids have savings accounts with ING Direct. It's an online only place
so you just transfer money into the accounts electronically. Of course we were
earning over 4% at one point but not now. It's 3-point-something percent now.
(Maybe even 2?? can't remember) It is also very easy to open up CDs with great
rates w/ the money that is in there. We are extremely pleased and love this place!
If you open an account for one kid, you can ''refer'' the other and get $10 or
something like that. In fact if I refer you I get $10 and you get $25. I think.
Then again, I'm sure you could find someone that you know to refer you! :)
WaMu has a deal right now where if you open a checking account online, you get up
to 3.30% APY on your savings account. We are also considering creating an ING
account (www.ingdirect.com) for our kid -- you have to have a brick-and-mortar
checking account at another bank (like Wells Fargo) to transfer money to the
online-only ING account, but we've been really pleased with the ING account we have
for our grown-up finances -- they average about a 3% APY on savings.
Making My Money Work
If you're looking for a better rate on a regular savings account (not a cd, etc.)
then I recommend using ingdirect.com and the orange savings account. The current
rate is 3%, which isn't great, but a lot better than .25%. This is the lowest the
interest rate has been since I've had my account with them.
Trying to be a saver too
So you're looking for a savings account for your kids that gives you more than
.25%. If you just want savings and the kids won't be withdrawing, some of the banks
(i.e. Bank of America and others, I'm sure) are offering an 11-mo. ''RISK FREE'' CD
that offers 4.5%. The risk free means you can withdraw money without penalty but
not add. There may be a minimum deposit for this. Another option I like is Charles
Schwab, but then l mail in my deposits, and your kids wouldn't have the physical
experience of going to the bank and checking their balance, which I think is
important for them.
Trying to save
Have you looked into your local credit union? We have found that CU's tend to offer
better interest rates than mainstream banks. We have our checking account at a
bank, for convenience, and our savings account at a credit union.
I started my daughter with a California State Employees Credit
Union savings account when she was born. Every month we took
found and gift money to CSE. When she started earning money I
had her put in 75% of her earnings into the account. When the
amount was large enough I opened a CD and explained how that
works. Now she has HSBCdirect.com, which is offering 3.5% for
an online savings account. You just have to factor in the
3-business day lag time for money to move in or out of that
bank. We have it linked to an account at Washington Mutual
which she uses for ''quick access''. Happy wealth building!
I would like recommendations for a good credit union or bank that has
good rates, low or no fees, and friendly, efficient service.
My favorite Credit Unions (in no particular order):
Kaiser Lakeside Credit Union, also called Kaiser Credit Union - friendly
people for the most part, no waiting in line, free checking and bill payment,
low rates on car loans and credit cards.
Patelco Credit Union - they are everywhere. Low rates on auto loans, easy
home banking and lots of ATMs. Not so friendly staff and long waits in line
on payday, but you can avoid all that with direct deposit and ATMs
Mechanics Bank - You get what you pay for - GREAT service - nearly perfect.
No mistakes, no lines, but you pay about $8 per month.
Love Great Service
We recently got a letter from our credit union, Cal State 9, stating that the
institution is now in a conservatorship. We've never been too enthused about Cal State
9, and the fact that they were slow to notify ''owner-members'' of the problems (only
the Chronicle reported on the cause -- too many bad loans) has us looking for a new
place for our checking and savings accounts. Does anyone have a bank they can
recommend? We are looking for truly free checking and reasonable interest rates on
savings. We hate paying fees for the privilege of loaning our money to a bank.
Looking for a better deal
I use Washington Mutual and get totally free checking.
I have free checking at Bank of America. One account is free because I
keep a balance of $1,000 in it and I usually keep a little more so I am
never under $1,000. The checking other account is free because I have
my work check directly deposited in it.
I have a checking account at WaMu. It is free. I do have to buy the
actual checks, but there are no account fees (unless I bounced a check
or something). I have a savings account set up through ING. I can
easily (and without charge) transfer money back and forth between my
WaMu checking account and my ING account.
Schwab.com offers free high yield checking accounts (here is the direct
but if you need quick access to cash, can be a bit of a drag. Advice-
keep a no-cost savings account for cash or check deposits/withdrawals
at wells fargo or some other easy-access bank. Paypal money from that
account to the schwabb account and back when cash needed. Schwabb
offers ~4% interest on checking, free bill pay and free atms anywhere
(including the fee that the owner of the ATM charges) and VISA
checkcards. Works for me. I haven't found a catch yet.
... in Berkeley or nearby, for CD's and a checking account.
For a socially responsible bank, try a Credit Union which may be very locally
supportive, or the very green San Francisco Based New Resource Bank
http://www.newresourcebank.com/ . New Resource helps various non-profits (e.g.
City CarShare), among other efforts.
We bank at the Cooperative Center Federal Credit Union-they invest in the
community, are local, you get real people on the phone.
After yet another bad experience w/ Bank of America, I am ready to find a new bank for both
checking and savings. Prefer a local bank that still believes in customer service.
I've finally found a banker and a bank who wants to specialize in customer
care! Call Jack Lucas at Bank of the West, Orinda, to get started. Then
go to any of the branches. Jack has pulled me through some messy
situations and manages to always champion my causes! Julie
I love Bank of the West. I use it for business and the people in our
branch are very friendly. Also, I think that they still answer their own
branch phones so that if you need to call them, you're able to talk
directly to your own branch.
If you want personal service from an excellent bank, call Brandy Smith
(510) 558-2319 at the Mechanics Bank. I've been with Mechanics Bank for 38
years, and I have not had one problem in all that time. They put the
If you want personal service from an excellent bank, call Brandy Smith
(510) 558-2319 at the Mechanics Bank. I've been with Mechanics Bank for 38
years, and I have not had one problem in all that time. They put the
I understand your frustration with Bank of America. I was a customer for
close to 30 years and have an excellent credit score (low 800's). Twice I
was charged exhorbitant fees $35.00 each, for insufficient funds that
amounted to being overdrawn by $15 in my account. There unwillingness to
waive fees after all my years of being a customer, prompted me to go into
my local branch and see what they could do. They refused to waive fees
too! Right then and there, I pulled all 6 of our accounts (including all
three of my children's savings accounts) and went across the street to
Wells Fargo. That was the best thing I could have done. Wells, albeit
another large bank, was great about setting me up with the right account
to avoid ever being overdrawn.
fed up with BoA
I too was looking for a new bank when Bank of America, after 10 years of good
experiences, started treating me very poorly. We were using their online Bill Pay service
and for some reason, the automatic payments we make (mortgage, etc.) reverted to being
drawn from an old account that had very little money in it. We were charged really high
overdraft fees, given the run-
around on the phone (after long, long hold times) and then in-
person, at our branch, were told that branch employees no longer had the power to
override charges. These decisions are now made by the computer - no joke. They have an
algorithm that determines how ''valuable'' a customer you are and that determines your
fee. I am apparently about 20% valuable despite having had car loans, home equity lines,
and credit cards with them that have always been paid on time and are now paid off. I
think that's the catch. If you don't owe them a lot of money that you're paying interest
on, they couldn't care less.
I wanted to use a bank that still had personal service but had a large network of ATMs. I
chose Wells Fargo. I have a personal banker, I have his direct phone line (shocking! no
voicemail tree!) and there are actually more Wells ATMs than BofA.
Wells Fargo is still based in San Francisco, which makes me feel good. BofA, although
originally from SF, is now headquartered in North Carolina.
By the way, if the plentiful-ATM thing weren't such an issue for me, I'd bank with Bank
of the West in a heartbeat.
bite me, BofA
I was surprised to see Bank of the West recommended. Maybe it really depends on the
personnel. The El Cerrito branch appears small and intimate, but when I opened my kids'
savings accounts (under $200 each) , one account was free and the other had a monthly
fee. They weren't able to explain it so I could understand why (different types of minor
accounts), but more troubling was that they could not correct the account with the fee,
so I closed my accounts there.
If you're eligible, I recommend Cal State 9 - the staff are like
your old fashioned personal bankers. Cal State 9 has been our
bank for 10 years, and they've taken care of any problem we've
had promptly and professionally. They have all the services of
the big guys - online banking, credit cards, loans etc., and it's
great to support a local business. Their ATMs are scattered
around, and you can also use the ATMs in any 7-11 for free. The
Berkeley office is on Shattuck just south of University.
happy with our bank
I am looking to establish a home equity line of credit. I am
wondering if it is wise to do so through a credit union. Would I
get a better rate than through the bank, which has quoted me a
rate of prime plus 0.25%? I don't know much about credit unions,
and as far as I know I have no access to one through an employer
or professional organization. Are there any local credit unions
that are accessible to the average person that I might be able
to approach? Would I also need to have another account with them
in order to get a home equity line of credit? Would appreciate
any and all education. Thanks
Regarding establishing a home equity line of credit through a
credit union versus a bank, I'm a mortgage broker and if my
clients have good credit and need a HELOC only, I steer them
towards banks that offer great rates like prime plus 0% or
Prime minus .25%. Try Fremont Bank or National City Bank, or do
an online search.
We're tired of paying expensive annual fees AND quarterly
fees to our long time, very user friendly brokerage/banker. We
do a lot of online banking and online bill paying. A safe deposit
be handy, too. The Washington Mutual and Wells Fargo name seem to
be popular. If you'd like to comment (good/bad) about your
banking services, please do!
I really love Mechanics Bank...or at least their office at the top of Solano, I don't
the other branches. They know most of their customers by name, and always call
when there's an overdraft so you can run in and fix the situation before getting
dinged. My wife does most of her banking online and seems satisfied with their
online presence. They're even dog-friendly and hand out treats to the pets. Also, to
make up for the fact that their ATMs aren't as available as other national banks, they
reimburse your account for ATM fees. Best of all, I get warm fuzzies dealing with a
local bank that I know has a stake in our community, instead of a big faceless
multinational. My wife talked me into switching to them from Wells Fargo several
years ago and once again, she was right.
We have been using Washington Mutual for about a year now and
have been happy with them. We basically do everything online.
Their online bill paying tool is very easy to use - and free.
my two cents
Why not try a credit union? You can use other credit unions' ATMs (there are several
downtown berkeley), none of the insane fees the big banks like BofA will finagle you
with, and a lot of them offer online billpay - and CD accounts with fairly competitive
the little guy
I have banked with Wells Fargo, BofA, Washington Mutual, 3
Credit Unions and Bank of the West. And overall I have found it
is who you know at the Bank. The Bank Representative that takes
care of the customer. I work with Frank Sacarro, a premier
banker with Bank of America. I am not sure which branch he
maily works with, but I make all deposits at Albany bank and
some poeple know him there. He is great. He is upfront about
the charges, fees, and different accounts you can maintain.
Wells Fargo, Credit Unions, Washington Mutual, and Bank of the
West All Lie. They want the account, then they don't tell you
about holds if you are a new account, the charges for cashier
checks if you have one acct versus another, and are not good at
explaining accounts in detail. The little things like charges
per mo., Check fees if re-ordered, if you talk to a banker
fees, and if you view the acct online fees. I could go on.
Point: Frank Sacarro is amazingly great at customer service and
does work with BofA. Look him up. He is wonderful to work with.
A Banking Diva
Our brokerage checking account increased their fees to $125/year,
unless we keep 25k in the account, so we're looking for a change.
We like the ability to bank online and see checks, transfer
funds, pay bills online. Will need to make cash deposits in
person on occasion so ''internet banker'' is not a good fit. Does
anyone have a recommendation for a reliable, long term, free/low
priced checking account?
We switched a few years ago from Wells Fargo to Washington
Mutual, and have been very happy.
Free checking, free online bill paying (which was the reason I
switched--Wells wanted $7 a month for a service that actually
saves them money), convenient ATMs and branches.
Happy WaMu customer
Both our business and our personal accounts are with Bank of
America. Too bad such nice individuals work for such a lousy
institution. This week's saga involves the bank cancelling my atm
card because THEIR information was compromised. They informed me
by snail mail. We found out when the card was refused, very
embarassing. Email and phone are not in their toolbox, apparently.
Their letter advised that I check on-line banking for fraud. I
tried, but they cancel access to on-line banking, ''as a matter of
course'' when your atm card is cancelled. The phone numbers that
they tell you to call can never help, etc.
Looking for a replacement for personal and business. Can anyone
recommend a bank that has reasonable branch coverage in N Calif,
less nit picky fees, on-line account access, and possibly some
idea between departments of what folks are doing and how to help?
Hi, I have had a bank account with ING for the last 20 years, It
is a real bank and they have tons of branches all over the world.
ING is a Dutch bank and I highly recommend them. Nicolette
Sorry to hear about your bad experience with BofA. It's hard to find a bank with
the conveniences/coverage of a large one, without getting a lot of bureacracy and
inefficiencies, not to mention sometimes impersonal ways of handling customers.
We've stayed with BofA mostly because, when we travel, we have lots of access to
ATMs without the rip-off charges, whether on the east coast, or in Europe. So, I
try to keep a minimal amount of money in BofA, with the rest in an
interest-bearing account like ING-Orange. I will funnel money from ING to BofA
for online bill paying, which is a real convenience that some of the smaller
banks can't handle very well. If your workplace allows, you can auto-deposit
just a small amount of money into the BofA account, which keeps it free of
charges. You have to work them, as much as they're trying to work us,
I have had an excellent experience with City National Bank. They do not have as
many Nor Cal locations as some but I have used them for 3 years first for
personal and then for small business banking. Always very professional, felt like
we were treated really well, branch staff greeted me by name, etc. Ask for (Mr.)
Amika Prasad in downtown SF office.
Loyal CNB customer
Is ING Bank a safe place to deposit money? Are they a ''real''
bank with the usual safeguards and security? Are there any
other banks which offer a high rate of interest for a
relatively small amount of savings in a savings account?
small nest egg, big dreams!
I've banked with ING for several years now, and have never had any trouble.
They're insured by the FDIC, which I assume makes them as safe as any other bank.
Internet only banks can keep their costs low because they're not paying for the
bank building or for salaries for tellers and other employees who deal directly
with the customers.
However, you can get better interest these days from Emigrant Direct -- another
internet bank, insured by the FDIC, also with a minimum deposit of $1. They're
currently offering 4.5% interest vs. just 3.8% from ING (ING is running a
promotional deal where you get 4.75% on new deposits for a limited time period,
but that deal is over in another month or so -- and then all of your money,
including the new deposits, goes back to 3.8%). I have had an account with
Emigrant for about a year and have had no trouble with them either. There's
another bank called HSBC whose rate is slightly higher - 4.8% (I'm pretty sure
that's not a promotional rate). I haven't switched to them because a difference
of 0.3% isn't big enoug to motivate me -- plus, since they tend to compete, when
one goes up, often the others do too (ING has been trailing the others for a
while though). You can track rates through www.bankrate.com .
I haven't checked to see if ING is FDIC-insured but I can tell you that I've been
very happy with them. There's no brick & mortar bank; everything is done over
the phone or via the internet. But it's very easy to move one's money and the
interest rates are great. satisfied customer
I love ING Bank! I switched all of my savings over to them about
a year ago, after hitting a wall with Wells Fargo's terrible,
fee-driven service. I have the Orange Savings account, which was
very simple to set up and has a great interest rate (3.8%). I do
all my banking online, and it's easy to transfer money between my
checking account and the ING account; the only catch is that it
takes a few days for the transactions to go through, so you have
to plan ahead.
For checking accounts, I highly recommend Mechanics Bank
(http://www.mechbank.com) - it's a small community bank. They
don't have many branches, but you can use any ATM and have your
fees reimbursed (!!), and there's no fee if you do direct
deposit. Their customer service is fantastic - much better than
any of the big banks. Kristine G
I opened an account with ING Direct about a year ago and have
been happy with their service. At the begining you have to jump
through a few hoops for security purposes while setting up your
checking account with ING Direct. There will be a lag time of
about 2 days from transferring from ING to your checking account,
but the interest rates are great and just about the best you can
However, the best rate I have found within the last month, is
with Emigrant Direct (emigrantdirect.com). Same thing as ING
just better rates. I just started an account with them to try it
out. Not sure I am sold on the lay out and found for the first
few days I was getting unsolicited emails, but those have slowed
down and the verdict is still out and their interest rates are
the highest I can currently find (at 4.5%). Check out this link.
I think this might help a bit.
Fellow Ing & Emigrant User
Ing is a 'real' bank. It is based in the Netherlands and is one
of the largest banks in the world. I can't comment on any
accounts that they are offering here, but they do have to adhere
to US banking laws for the business that they do here.
ING Direct is perfectly safe (FDIC insured) and legit - they are
a big dutch financial company (I think ING stands for
International Netherlands Group.) A good place to find out what
banks give the best interest is the finance board at fatwallet -
http://www.fatwallet.com/c/52/ - there are lots of people there
who have accounts in multiple banks and shuttle the money back
and forth to the bank with the highest interest rate. I can't be
bothered, but there is lots of good financial advice there. Right now the best
savings acct. interest is HSBC Direct but that
is always changing.
My husband and I began with ING direct last year and we love them! Easy to set
up and save, not so easy to take out. Great for those of us who might spend
impulsively! As far as I know they still have the best savings rate as well.
I just started banking with ING, so I hope it is safe. It's a
FDIC member. Citibank just introduced its e-savings account with
I've been getting lots of solicitations from this ING bank, and
have seen billboards and such around, too. I finally read one,
and it sounds like a good deal - a bank with no physical
locations, but it gives a good interest rate. Has anyone
opened an account, and are you happy with them?
We opened an ING account about 2 years ago, after receiving a few
junkmail solicitations. We're very happy with it. The interest
rate is great--and is only going to improve as Greenspan
continues to push rates up! It's easy to navigate online and the
phone customer service has been very helpful, too.
I've had ING for at least 6 months now. It's got a better
interest rate than most banks out there and it's quite user-
friendly. Once you're a member you can refer others and get a
kickback bonus if your referrals sign up for an account.
We've used ING since it first opened for business in the US,
having had a good experience with it in Canada. We've used the
savings accounts and CDs. Very good service, very easy, clear
website, excellent rates and no hassle. I think it's a great
deal. We especially like the fact that you can open as many
accounts as you like for no fee and no minimum balance, so we
have various saving accounts, for kids' education, for
vacations, etc. that we can add little amounts to regularly.
I opened an ING orange savings account a little while ago and
love it. It's really easy to move money back and forth between
it and my checking account, through their voice-mail system. I
haven't had any problems with it. And the rate of interest is
so much better than what I was able to get elsewhere. They
sometimes have deals in which they'll give you $25 for opening
up an account - you might want to look for that.
a happy customer
We love Orange. They have a great interest rate for a plain
savings account, which means your cash is liquid, if that's how
you're looking to keep some $$$$ around.
the great thing isthat there are no minimums & you can refer
family members and get a referral fee! When you refer your
spouse, for example, and s/he opens and funds an account (even
with $1!!) you receive a $10 referral bonus and they get a $25
opening bonus! I have friends with quite a few children, and
they have referred all the way down the line, making a few
We have had nothing but GREAT experience with them, and are
thinking we might even get our home loan with them because it
sounds like a great deal. The ONE thing that is kind of annoying
to me is that you have to remember your individual account
number; they don't let you log on with a name or ''handle'' -- but
that is a minor inconvenience for the great rate, IMO.
-making my $$ work!
I opened an account with ING Direct in January of this year and
I'm pleased so far. The savings rate is good. I've started
directing more money to the account automatically from my
checking account. I look forward to hearing what others have
to say about the online bank.
I'm very happy with ING Direct. I have been with them for over
a year and they keep raising the interest rate they pay. As a
financial professional I have to say that interest rates are so
low these days that you should have the majority of your
savings in real estate or the bond or stock markets. However,
for the money you want to put into a very safe and very
accessible condition, ING is excellent. When you want to move
your money to a checking account, they make it very easy to do
that by phone or over the internet. Not only that but they
give you a little bonus ($25 I believe) if you are referred by
a current customer and the current customer gets $10 too. If
you don't already know another ING customer, I'll be happy to
be that person.
My wife and I have been ING account holders for a bit over a
year now, and we've been pretty satisfied. The interest rate is
definitely better than all the other banks I surveyed, and
they'll raise it to keep that edge, as everyone else's rates go
up. Yes, it's all ''virtual,'' and that takes some getting used
to. You can link up to 3 of your other accounts at other banks
and move money back and forth, as needed. The quickness of the
transaction hasn't been as fast as I'd like-- while ING has said
2-3 business days, it usually takes at least a week, before your
money is actually deposited or transferred. So, don't expect to
transfer your money and be able to grab it right away. If you
leave yourself some cushion, you'll be fine. The one time I
called their customer service, it was polite and friendly.
Email responses had also, generally, been helpful.
I am thrilled with Ing Orange Bank. Excellent interest rates
which keep going up. No frills, and they don't drown you in
email messages. I also contacted them for a mortgage on a home
I was purchasing two months ago--they had the lowest rates and
best terms I could find. I was able to talk directly to very
helpful representatives (no mu-sack and delayed wait times, or
many push buttons on the phone) and they faxed all materials to
me instantly. They wanted way lees paperwork than another agent
I was working with. I ended up not using them as my agent
finally agreed to meet their terms (which resulted in a huge
rebate to me) and be there in person at the closing, which Ing
cannot do. In the end, he wasn't there, so I maight as well
have used Ing. I am really impressed.
My only complaint is that when the money transfers, it takes a
day or two more than I expected it should, so be careful if you
have tight deadlines.
A Happy Customer
Yes, I have had an account with Ing Direct for over a year. I
like their service, and have closed my savings account at
local bank which gave me hardly any interest, but had to
keep $ in it with a minimum balance in order to avoid
service charges. I have my Ing account linked to my
checking account and transfer money online easily and
within 2-3 business days. I have no complaints!
My husband and I set up an ING account about a year ago, and
we're very happy with it. We have it linked to our Bank of
America account where our paychecks are deposited, and you can
easily transfer money back and forth so you can use B of A's
ATMs while keeping the bulk of your savings in ING, where it
gets higher interest (about 3 percent, last time I checked).
The website is easy to use too.
I've had an account with ING for a couple years now and haven't
had any problems with them. For your convenience, you just need
to have another account with a real bank like Wells Fargo or B
of A where you can access your checking account (that's linked
to the ING account) online. You should expect to be able to
transfer money in and out of the ING account with a few days
notice electronically. Also, they do provide you with financial
compensation if you recommend someone who ends up signing up for
an account (such as an account for your husband or child,
etc...) which I didn't know until after I'd signed up for both
my husband and me (so I lost out on this referral benefit). It
is a bit of a hassle to try to get into the ING account online
since they do ask for several security questions, but I don't
mind too much since it is for my own protection. Anyways, if
you have any other questions, feel free to email me.
I have used ING Direct for years for myself and the kids. We
love it. You can link all your other accounts and transfer
funds easily from any banks you deal with. The interest rate
is the best you can get from a standard savings with no fees
Happy ING customer
I started an account for my son, who is now 5 months old, with ING Direct as I
wanted something which would earn interest while we figured out what other kind
of investment instrument we wanted to have for him. I figured it was a good short-
term account to put some money aside and earn interest at the same time. I have
called customer service a couple times and have had all my questions answered (and
it was a bit complicated setting up the account as I had checks made out to
Nathaniel who obviously can't sign his name yet but I wanted to put the account in
We love ORANGE savings. We have been members for about 5 years -
it really is as hassle free and easy as it sounds. The biggest
hassle is getting it set up - you have to send them a check from
every account that you want linked. I think you can link up to 3
checking accounts to each savings account. This is really great
for me and my husband to mix finance - we each get our paychecks
into our own checkign account, and then transfer money into ING.
We let it sit there and then transfer it into one checking
account when we need the money to pay bills. They say it takes 3
days for an transfer to happen, but we have found that the money
is usually available before that. You can also set up automatic
transfers - so that every month (or week) you can have it
transfer x dollars into ING, which is very helpful. And the
interest earned is higher than anywhere I have ever banked
(including my credit union). I love it!!!
My 10 year old has saved some money and is ready to open a savings
account. Any recommendations for free savings accounts for kids? Many
If you are a member of a Credit Union (such as Cal State 9), I'd suggest
checking with them. I had considered opening an account for our daughter
at a local bank that offered "free savings accounts for children". The
catch was, if they started withdrawing money (i.e. they saved their money
and then wanted to use it for some special purchase), the bank would then
change the account to a 'regular' savings account, and start charging the
normal fees. This seemed to be the norm, at least at the few banks I
checked into. And, given the low interest rate being paid on the accounts,
and the anticipated low balance in a child's account, this just didn't seem
Good luck! Leslie
Wells Fargo does free passbook savings accounts for kids up to 18 year's old.
Only about 1.5% interest, but no service charges. Heather
I am looking to switch banks and would like to get recommendations for ones
that have free or very-close-to-free checking. That is my main consideration.
I need very little other banking services. I will be using the ATM but the
ATM charges are not as big a consideration. I also want branches of the bank
in Berkeley so it is convenient to go to.
In addition to that recommendation, my 5 year old son wants to start a
savings account at a bank so that his money will collect interest. Do
any of you know of a bank that has kid's accounts with very low minimal
balance requirements that pay interest?
Thanks in advance for your suggestions!
Try the USE credit union on University. they have a special "piggy bank"
program for kids that's pretty cute. I believe that their checking is free
if you have
automatic deposit and maintain a certain minimum amount in checking and or
You can join if you work for UC or LBL, and I think also if you are a
student. Or a
state employee, too, I think.
they have a lot of services available. downside is that there arent' too many
branches, so there aren't a lot of ATMs available without fees.
I have a recommendation & a dis-recommendation. I'll do the "dis" first
since they're so much more fun. I had a small savings account at Wells
Fargo a few years ago, which I didn't pay much attention to, it was less
than $500, I never put anything in or took anything out, but theoretically
it earned interest. Well, I began to pay attention to my statements &
noticed my balance was getting *smaller*, so I called up the bank and got
the following explanation: accounts are charged a "maintenance fee" every
month that the balance falls below a certain amount, around $500. The
"maintenance fee" was higher than the interest the account was earning. So
I asked the guy "you mean my balance will just keep getting smaller and
smaller until it disappears entirely?" and he say "yes". So I yanked my
money out of there immediately, closed my checking account too, opened
accounts at Cal Fed in El Cerrito & am very happy with them (no fee
checking). So whatever you do, make sure your kid's little account doesn't
fall victim to this practice, or he may get an economics lesson that you
hadn't planned on!
From: Andrea (2/99)
I'm not sure if the situation is the same now, but 6 years ago I compared the
two university credit unions (USE and Cal State 9)
and Cal State 9 was far superior to the other one
in all areas - loan rates, quality of service, fees, etc. I have been very
happy with the Cal State 9 Credit Union service ever since then.
See also: Washington Mutual,
Cal State 9 Credit Union,
and World Savings
Small Business-Friendly Bank
After 10 years of working for others, I'm about to make the leap and start
working on my own. One of the hundreds of things I need to figure out: can
anyone recommend a local bank that is interested in working with small
business? Very small. I think at this point I will just need a business
checking account, but I'm sure there are other considerations that haven't
occurred to me yet.
Thanks in advance
I am a self-employed graphic designer and I've been very happy with
Mechanics Bank for my business accounts. When you call them you don't deal
with a phone tree - the person who answers the phone will help you. And I
couldn't live without the convenience of their drive-through locations for
my frequent deposits!
I had a small business and moved once to I was with two banks, a smaller
one in NY, and Bank of America here. Both were very similar ...
$10/month for a basic business checking acount, free if you kept a high
average balance (I didn't). You could call around to see if any other
bank has a better deal, but for me it was fine. You'll need your
business license from the county before you go to the bank.
We found Wells Fargo to be best for our needs when we opened a business
checking account. They had the most choices, lowest rates for the most minimal
choice, and required fewer copies of business papers to open the account.
One feature we wanted was the return of our cancelled checks. Most banks
charge extra for this. This is standard for Wells Fargo accounts, and I think
they give a slight discount if you don't want the checks returned. One nice
bonus is that the downtown Berkeley branch has a separate line for business
Having been in business for 18 years - a small business we got fed up with
the "big" bank we had been using for those 18 years and switched to Summit
Bank. They have offices in Emeryville, Oakland, Pleasanton and Walnut
Creek and specialize in small business banking. Have found the switch to
be hassle free and pleasant, its a good bank to work with
Cal State 9 Credit Union
I bank at Cal State 9 Credit Union. They have "free" checking
options. They also have low min balance savings accounts that pay a small
amount of interest. These have a limit on how many times you can access
them in a month (otherwise, they're checking accts, not savings!), but it
might be appropriate for your son. Of course, to belong to the Credit
Union, you have to be eligible, which means a State employee (UCB employees
are eligible). One downside is that they have few actual branches, but
they do have reciprocal agreements with many other credit unions, so you're
not completely out of luck. It's just not as convenient as, say, BofA (but
then, you get treated like a human being, which was not always my
experience at BofA).
You might also check out Washington Mutual. They have free checking
accounts (no interest). They are open to anyone, and have many
branches. Since I don't bank there, I don't have details, but I have
considered switching to them for the higher convenience factor.
I would strongly recommend you do NOT use Cal State 9 Credit Union. When
my daughter was 8 I opened an account for her and automatically
deposited money in there from my paycheck every month. This money was to
be used for school or something. When my daughter was 16 I started
having 'teenage problems' with her and at some point I went into the
credit union and had a note put on her account saying she could not
withdraw the money (they cautioned me that once she turned 18 this would
not apply - no problem). Six months later my daughter got a job and
needed an account. We went to the credit union and asked to open an
account for her. They refused to open another account and said she had
to use the one she already had. I explained to them that I was not
comfortable with that since there was a hefty sum of money in the
savings account and I did not trust her to have access to it since we
were having problems. This was not easy to say to a stranger, but I had
to. They were very understanding and assured me that the savings and
checking would not be linked. The ATM card she got would not have access
to the savings....should I go on? Six months later (two years ago) the
problems with my daughter reached a critical (beyond critical) level and
I desperately needed money to get her some help - I went to use the
monpey in that account and guess what? It was all gone! All of it. Since
the checking account was empty when she used her check card, they took
the money out of the savings, since the money kept coming out, she kept
You cannot imagine the feeling of desperation I felt at that moment. I
almost collapsed right then and there in the lobby. The teller felt
sorry for me and printed for me the notes attached to the account where
I had clearly stated that she was not to have access to that money (in
case they tried to cover up). Needless to say, that was the only
sympathy and understanding I got from Cal State 9. As far as they were
concerned she took the money and it was my problem. The fact that they
assured me that she could not access it - a lie or a mistake - was
irrelevant. Too bad. I did not even get an apology. They told me that if
I took action against them, they would take action against me because
she was under age. I could not pursue it at the time with everything
else going on and the feelings of rage and frustration are overwhelming
even as I think of it now. I certainly don't trust them with my money
From: Andrea (2/99)
I'm not sure if the situation is the same now, but 6 years ago I compared the
two university credit unions (USE and Cal State 9)
and Cal State 9 was far superior to the other one
in all areas - loan rates, quality of service, fees, etc. I have been very
happy with the Cal State 9 Credit Union service ever since then.
From: Olga (2/99)
For people who belong to Cal-State 9 Credit Union:
I thought you might all like to know that there is a newly installed
Cal-State 9 ATM in the ASUC store. It is near the stairs and the candy
Safeamerica Credit Union
We just recently got a very good deal on a car loan at Safeamerica federal
union. I got the account through a former employer, but I think they are
as to who joins. I've found them quite competent, their deals on loans
(we've had two
car loans through them) to be better than anyone elses (we tried on line
our other traditional bank) and fairly convenient. They also financed a car
bought through a private individual which saved us money and got us a
better car than
we would have through a dealer... They also handled the paper work which
since they know how to do it and we don't. They also turned it into what
an auto-equity loan which allows us to deduct the interest on our taxes.
The downside is that they have are located in Hayward, and while they have
that can be a bit of a drag to haul down there. They also don't have ATM's
but it's free
to use the ones at Safeway. If you're interested they have a web site
Washington Mutual advertises its free checking accounts all the time. But
we've had lots of problems with them and I don't recommend them. (We
"inherited" them when the bank we chose left Berkeley and then its replacement
was bought out by WM.) We've been much happier with an account we have at
Wells Fargo. If you don't qualify for a free checking acct. with Wells (i.e.,
keep a high enough balance or have your paycheck automatically deposited), I
believe they have an "ATM-only" checking account with very low fees. Both
Wells Fargo and Washington Mutual have branches on upper Solano and near
Berkeley BART. Wells also has ATM machines in a lot of different places, such
as Andronico's on Solano.
My 6-year old son has a savings account with Washington Mutual. I believe it
pays interest. Its minimum balance is either very low or $0. Many banks
offer such accounts to minors.
I'm sorry to hear someone had a bad experience with Washington Mutual.
We have had nothing but excellent service there. We bank at the WM at the
top of Solano. Many of the tellers have gone out of their way for me on
several occasions. The day I set up my first account there, my baby decided
to go ballistic in the middle of everything and two of the tellers (it was a
slow day) held him and played with him behind the counter while I signed
everything. They always remember us- if my baby's not with me, they ask how
The service and products (FREE CHECKING!) are excellent. I have never
had a problem with any of our three accounts there. I am thrilled to be away
from Wells Fargo- it seems like they charge you a fee for passing by on the
sidewalk. When I pulled our five accounts (3 checking, 2 money market) out
of Wells Fargo to go to WM, the teller confided in me that her son had just
done the same.
I am an evangelist when it comes to banking with USAA. If you are
eligible (some military or govt. experience by you or your close family),
then it is so worth it. THEY PAY YOU MONEY WHEN YOU USE OTHER BANKS'
ATMS! They have very neglible fees (and often no fee), they have a
special account set-up for little kids to have their first money/saving
experience, they are in my experience extremely service-oriented. Its
wonderful to be free of the Wells Fargo/Bank of America stranglehold.
You said you wanted a bank close by, but USAA makes it very easy to have a
long-distance banking relationship, so if you are open to it, it is worth
Clarification about banking at USAA:
Someone recommended USAA Federal Savings Bank in the last edition. I wanted
to make a correction to that post. USAA Banking Services are available to
public, not just military personnel or their children. (USAA insurance is,
however, restricted to military personnel and their children). I have been
with them for the last 9 years, first from France, and now from California.
They are, by far, easier to deal with than my local bank. USAA is accustomed
to providing services for people who are far away from home and they are
very good at this. I highly recommend them.
USE Credit Union
From: Monica (2/99)
I have nothing bad to say about USE Credit Union. They made a big goof-up
with my checking accounting once and confused it with my mother's, but they
took care of correcting all their mistakes right away. The office is
conveniently located in the same building that I work in, so I never have a
problem getting to my money or accessing my account information. All the
employees are very friendly and willing to give an extra hand. Also, I hear
their auto and home loans are excellent.
I just had to reply to the recommendation to USE credit union.
I'm sure some people have had a good experience with this institution. I,
however, have not. I had--rather still have--a savings account with USE
that I have tried to close 4 times. Every time I have closed the account,
there was some screwup on their part! I've reached the point that I am
now writing to the head of the company to complain. When I had my credit
card there, they bounced several ELECTRONIC payments! Now, how the hell
does an electronic payment bounce?!? They accused me of not having enough
money taken from my paycheck to cover the payment. Yet, the my paystub
indicated the deduction while the credit union could not find it. After
several frustrating phone calls the teller was kind enough to reverse the
returned check and overdue fees--but only on the understanding that I
would not bounce checks to them in the future.
I initially joined the credit union to refinance the loan. The
first loan was not a problem. I paid it off early and they discharged the
loan. When I took out a second loan, they were very quick to process it.
This time I paid the loan off about a year early (if not 2). They were
quick to show a zero balance on my statement, but they never discharged
(i.e., closed the account) the loan. I several times why the loan
continued to appear on my statement and I was told not to worry since it
was reported as paid to the credit reporting agencies. Finally, I called
someone down in the main (San Diego) office and I was told the account was
not closed. The loan was considered a 'line of credit' and was usable at
any time I chose. So, I would have to specifically ask to have it closed.
Now, the original loan documentation did not call the loan a line of
credit. It clearly stated if I wanted to borrow more money, my
application would be subject to the normal processing procedures. It
would also constitute a refinancing of the original loan. This is NOT
considered a 'line of credit' in my book! I did not request a line of
credit, I did not want one, and I did not sign a contract agreeing to one.
Yet, the representative claimed a line of credit is what I had.
Okay, so I figured there was a minor glitch here and there because
of changes in tellers, change over to a new computer system, etc. So, I
continued to stay with them for my savings account. I paid off the loan,
closed the account (and I even have a letter documentating that),
cancelled the credit card--how much damage can they do? I mean, it wasn't
as if I had my checking account with them (I use Bank of the West). Well,
as I mentioned, I decided to close my savings account--last October while
I was still on maternity leave. So, I request the account be closed, the
teller sends me my money, all is honkey-dorey! Now, I receive a letter
telling me my account is overdrawn because they reversed the payroll
deposit for Oct. Well, of course there was not payroll deposit for Oct--I
was on maternity leave and had been since July! So, why, all of a sudden
is there a problem when there wasn't one the previous couple of months?
Well, an extremely apologetic teller reversed the overdrawn fee and the
minimum balance fee and closed the account. Okay, I'm happy. The next
quarter draws to an end and I receive another statement. So I call.
Guess what, the account is still open! Why? Because the payroll
deduction was not cancelled. So then I ask, why wasn't it cancelled by
the last teller who said she could and would do it. OH? Didn't I know
that I had to come into the branch and fill out the paperwork myself? So
I go in and cancel the payroll deduction. But, because their computers do
everything in arrears, I have to wait for 2 months. So, time passes and I
call up and call again. Guess what? I have money coming in so they don't
want to close the account. But, I countered, I signed the paperwork. Oh,
yes, and their system indicates that no money is being deducted from my
account, but UC's computers don't know that! So, upon the advice of this
seemingly competant and nice teller, I wait. When I receive my paystub
that shows no payroll deduction, I think to myself, 'now, yes! Now, I can
close my account and be USE-free!' But, being cautious, I waited another
10 days just to be sure. So, I call, and I am told, "No! No money was
deducted so no money was expected. So, I quickly close my account,
feeling emancipated! I'm thrilled! I'm excited! I'm relieved! Until I
come home from work and receive a letter stating that account is now
overdrawn and I need to correct it! To add insult to injury, they bounced
an electronic payment (though of what, I've no clue since my loan was paid
2-3 years ago!) and are now charging me a $17.00 fine. This means war! I
have never, in my entire life, encountered such an incompetant, archaic,
idiotic financial institution as the USE credit union. So, beware, fellow
Digesters! Do not be take in by the sweet smiles and the supposed
convenience--because USE credit union is a nightmare, a financial screwup
waiting to cause you grief! If I can EVER get my account closed
(remember, I've been trying for a year now!) I will NEVER use that
institution again and I certainly hope everyone out there seriously thinks
twice about using them!!!
From: Nicole (2/99)
I have been with the USE Credit Union for many years and have been very
happy. Though the frontline staff change often, all are pleasant, and the
higher-ups (loan officers, managers, etc.) are more steady. I didn't
finance my house there as the rates were a little higher than I got
elsewhere (it wasn't only up to me, or I would have gone with USE out of
convenience and loyalty), but I have gotten car loans, equity loans, etc.,
there. The newsletters are informative, and you can bank by ATM, phone, or
over the Web. Parking in front of the Univ. Ave. branch is awful in
daytime, easy in evenings and weekends, unless you use the downstairs
garage (but it's even worse at the other CU which is right downtown). A
slight disadvantage is that you pay a fee to use non-Credit Union ATMS, and
there aren't that many of those around (three in downtown Berkeley at the
various CU's, and one in Jack London Square, that I know of offhand). USE
is planning to open a new branch at UCOP in the next few months. I had no
problem using my ATM card to withdraw funds from ATMS in Mexico and Europe.
I also have colleagues who swear by the other one. I think it's probably
six of one and half-dozen of the other, so you should choose by convenience
of the branch/ATM. No matter which one you choose, your money is working
for other members, not going to profits to bank owners, which is why I use
a credit union in the first place!
From: Regan (2/99)
I've been a satisfied member of USE Credit Union for about 13 years.
They've financed three cars for me and offer some very good services. My
mother was very unhappy with The Golden One and switched to B of A.
I also have some unpleasant experience with USE Credit Union. Their
Teleservices staff in San Diego seem to be knowledgeable,
but I have had problems with their staff at the Berkeley branch.
1. A few months ago I opened a term investment account at the Berkeley
branch. After I wrote the check, all I got from the teller was a receipt
which only contained my membership number. I
had to ASK for something in writing about the duration and the dividend
rate of this specific account.
Then recently I got a quarterly statement which showed that the dividend
was deposited into my savings account (which I had closed ten years ago).
The dividend was less than the minimum balance required for the savings
account, thus resulting in a service charge for the savings account--
which was deducted from my dividend!
2. Several years ago, I applied for a Powerhouse loan at the Berkeley
branch. Once the application process got started, it was very difficult to
get hold of the loan officer. She was always busy. And right before
the loan was going to be approved, she suddenly told me there would be
another fee of $75. She apologized for not having told me earlier. I was
clearly not very happy about this, but I had to swallow this extra
fee since I had gone this far. The whole process was very slow
I am going to avoid this bank, especially the Berkeley branch.
I opened a savings account for my daughter at World Savings. In my
opinion, World Savings has proven itself to be a superior institution.
The account was opened in my daughter's name with me as the guardian. I
was able to specify what age my child can access her account without my
signature (I chose 18 b/c the purpose of the account is to put money in
until there is enough to send to her mutual funds--the Atlas funds through
World Savings). The account is free since it is for a minor. There is no
minimum balance or deposit. So, if she saves $5 or even $0.50, she can
still deposit without penalty! I can even deposit by mail! We use the
Lakeshore branch since it is very convenient for us. But there is one in
Montclair, downtown Oakland, and I think there's one in Berkeley. Good
Problems with Banks
Last November, my daughter closed her account at Bank of
America. She doesn't live in the area now, so she took care
of it by phone/mail. She was told she would receive a check
for her balance. By the end of December, no check, so she
called again and was promised a new check. By the end of
January, still no check, so I went and spent an hour
explaining the situation at our local branch (my name was
also on the account, so I could do that) and was told they
could not give me the money there (for some reason, this is
handled by their Texas division), but they would send an
affidavit form to be completed and notarized, at which point
she should be able to get her money. After two weeks with
no affidavit received (and, of course, no money), I called B
of A, spoke to a number of people, and seemed to get myself
way up the ranks to a ''supervisor'' who assured me they would
promptly send a check - probably by express - the following
Monday (it was a Friday when I called). They even sent me an
e-mail stating that my case had an assigned case number and
was being attended to. Well, it's now a week since that
Monday and there is no check, no affidavit form, nothing
except an e-mail stating that the case is now completed and
closed. So - they've had my daughter's money for almost
four months now, wasted hours of our time, and still she
doesn't have her money. What is the next step? Someone to
report them to? Small claims court (that would be tough
since daughter isn't' here)? Where do we go from here?
where's the money
I had a similar problem with BofA and an out of state
account. I simply went in to the nearest branch here and
told them I needed to file an ''FDIC claim'' because the money
that was in my account had apparently been stolen-possibly
by BofA. Within 24 hours my funds were returned. Give it a
try. They do not want to do an FDIC claim when they are in
the wrong! Small Claims would/could be a nightmare and end
up losing your money or any chance to reclaim if you get a
bad judge which is most likely. Try the easy way first.
got my money back
Report the bank to the Comptroller of the Currency
(http://www.helpwithmybank.gov/). When the big bank that holds our
mortgage was not properly processing our modification application, I
reported it, and we got our modification within three weeks, after 14 months
I would complain to the federal regulators, starting with
the Federal Reserve
(http://www.federalreserveconsumerhelp.gov/). I hear that
banks will respond quickly to those who file a complaint
with the fed's.
Also, I would never bank with a huge bank again, but instead
use a credit union or a regional bank who cares more about
you than its bottom line.
Hope this helps!
Hi. so, sorry you are going thru this. I dont really have
much to offer but when we closed our account a few months
ago the bofa rep when we went into the bank - said before
the actual closing of the account, to withdraw all the money
from the account - even if this is a penny and then to speak
with a rep to close the account. My husband and I have a
joint account and he was able to withdraw the cash for this
without me. If you are on the account, you should be able to
withdraw the cash - they should not provide you with a
check. But perhaps because you went thru closing the account
first then trying to withdraw the account its caused more
hurdles? We just went into a local branch that wasn't our
branch (which is in Southern California) so, could your
daughter have tried to go into any BofA to withdraw and
close the account? Technically, the account isn't closed.
Any charge from an auto pay or anything that you forgot to
cancel that is attached to the account can trigger it to be
reopened. Anyway, perhaps they are trying to not really
close your account? Is your daughter still able to log onto
the online account to see if there is a balance? If there is
a balance, the account is not closed so..
I would try going into another BofA branch and speaking with
an account specialist there. Ours was really nice - it was
the one by the lake in Oakland. Is your daughter nowhere
near a bofa? it doesn't have to be the one where she opened
former bofa customer
First of all, you should report this fiasco to the Better
Business Bureau. Then, you should send a letter to B of A,
to the highest supervisor who you can find, letting them
know that you have reported this problem to the BBB, and
that you will have to contact Small Claims Court next, and
that you will be asking for damages. That's what I would
do. I am not a lawyer. At this point, I would tell the bank
that they should pay MORE money than they initially had to,
because of all of my time that they have wasted. Who knows,
it might work. Also, you can contact Michael Finney at KGO,
channel 7 news, as he sometimes handles stuff like this and
then broadcasts it. Sears gave me the runaround of a
lifetime a few years ago, and I will never buy anything
from that store again. Also, mention to BofA that you are
contacting Michael Finney, as they may have heard of him!
I am the original poster. As it turns out, the check for
the closed account balance arrived a few days after I posted
this problem here! Still - should I file a complaint with
the someone (FDIC, Federal Reserve, or Comptroller...)
because it took so long? Is there a rule about how long the
bank has to send the money (it was almost four months). By
the way - in response to some of the replies (which I
appreciate!): the account was definitely closed. There was
no longer any way for me or my daughter to access it or view
it online, and the reps (both at the branch and on the
phone) agreed it had been closed since November. They also
claimed - TWICE - that a check had been sent for the amount
of the balance. The reason she didn't close it in person is
that there is NO BofA branch near where she lives. In
hindsight, I should have closed it here and sent her the
money, but it didn't seem like such a bid deal at the time,
since they said she could do it long-distance.
My sister-in-law has asked my husband to be the beneficiary of her second
home, in Mexico, however, the bank in Mexico requires him to send a photocopy
of his passport in order for the paperwork to be processed. Has anyone been
through this process and can offer advice on security of personal information
outside of the country? Many thanks.
Never been south of the border
In my experience, your information is safe in banks in
Mexico. I've had to do the same thing, and I've never had
a problem, neither have I heard about anyone having a
problem with this kind of thing. They just require an
official ID. Just make sure you don't send the copy
through regular mail.
OK with Mexican banks
Don't do it. Absolutely do not do it. The whole thing
sounds funky to me. Mexico is known for having corrupt
officials and you don't even know whether this is a real
bank. Someone could easily assume your husband's identity
and then commit crimes all over the world.
I'm mexican and the request doesn't make sense. The bank
would only ask for your passport if you were to open an
account there (because you don't have a mexican ID) not
when you are a beneficiary. What they'll need to have it's
accurate information about your name and date of birth for
when you need to claim the house in the future, nothing
else. Which I think your sister-in-law should know
already, isn't it?!
Only an advise.
In June, our elderly uncle stopped at his Bank of America,
Montebello, where he has banked for over 30+ years, and
closed his 4k IRA account and also asked that 1k of the IRA
be deposited directly into his checking account. He
noticed that the $1000 did not appear on his July statement
and returned to the branch several times to inquire. He was
first told that the funds were there but just didn't show up
and now is being told that the funds were withdrawn in June
via ATM. At no time did our uncle even use his ATM card
to withdraw funds. Has anyone had a similar experience
and advise how one would recoup money mysteriously
withdrawn. It appears to be an internal incident. B of A
has changed managers since he reported this incident. It is
very bizarre. BTW, uncle is of very clear mind. No one
else has his ATM card. Thanks for any suggestions on how
to deal with Bank of America.
Write a letter to the head person at BofA explaining all the
details of this problem and demand an investigation. At the
end of your letter, cc your state representative and the
news guy that always investigates consumer problems (I
forget his name). The ccs make a huge difference.
Been there w/ BofA
I have been a Bank of America customer for years, and am
generally satisfied especially with the online banking
aspect of the company. If I were in your shoes trying to
piece together what happened with the money, I would have
my uncle request copies of the June banking statement to
see where/when the supposed ATM withdrawals occurred; your
uncle can request these by phone (or online); they can be
accessed instantly online but the mailed version takes 7+
days. This information would be helpful in trying to
piece together what did or did not happen in June because
the montly statements are comprehensive and list all
transactions that affect bank balance. For example, if
the ATM withdrawals did occur, were they in the same city
as he resides? In his area? I think that this kind of
information gathering would be helpful for you before
pursuing the matter with Bank of America. I have had to
work with B of A to gather information for taxes quite a
long time after the fact and found that the staff were
helpful in assisting me.
B of A has a legal obligation to report incidents of
potential elder abuse. They are required to report any
allegation that someone may have stolen money from someone
over the age of 65 to banking regulators and APS. You
should call adult protective services in the county where
the bank is located immediately, and then call B of A
back, ask for the bank manager and warn them that you have
made a report (they will probably ask you to fax or send
a copy of your APS report, which I would do, to show you
mean business). Demand a report from them on the status of
their investigation, and inform them when you expect
updates on the status of his missing money on a regular
basis, in writing. Once they know the regulators are
coming after them, they will take it very seriously, and
most likely, they will take swift action to get him the
Your post sounds very fishy, honestly. This is
straightforward. When the IRA was closed or transferred,
he got a receipt. Everything will show up on the receipt.
this page was last updated: Oct 10, 2013
BPN is now a 501(c)(3) non-profit and we are transitioning to a new website during
The opinions and statements expressed on this website
are those of parents who subscribe to the
Berkeley Parents Network.
Disclaimer & Usage for
information about using content on this website.
Copyright © 1996-2015 Berkeley Parents Network