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'Bank Transfer Day' Won't Hurt Big Banks -- Why You Should Switch Banks Anyway

Stocks in this article: BAC

Don't Switch For Spite

So, if you are mad enough at your TBTF bank to switch, do it because it will benefit you, not for spite. For example, if you use automated bill pay services, you will likely have to re-specify all of your vendors if you switch, and you will lose automated history. If you have direct deposits, you will have to contact all of the originating entities, sign the appropriate documents, and then jump through any other hoops that are imposed. Finally, if you have a loan with a TBTF bank, if you switch, you may lose a rate concession based on your consumer banking relationships. If you still want to pursue switching, some CBs and CUs have people and instructions that will make it easier for you to switch. Be sure to ask your local CB or CU if they have such help.

There is no doubt that, as a general rule, the CBs and CUs are more consumer friendly than the TBTF. But banks come in many shapes and sizes. Some of the larger regional banks aren't really too different than TBTF in their treatment of consumers. And, there are also some TBTF branches that have personnel that really care about the clients and act on their behalf. But, by and large, the rules and policies imposed by the TBTF institutions on their employees make such branches the exception. So, if you are not getting the service you want or feel you are paying too much, here are some things to look for at a CB or CU:

1) Choose a bank where the tellers will know you by name, and you won't be charged extra to use the tellers.

2) Look at the services you use, and make sure the CB or CU has the same or similar services. As a general rule, nearly all of the services used by consumers are offered at CBs or CUs, but at lower prices.

3) Most CBs and CUs have credit and debit card services and have joined a national ATM network to allow you to use your debit card to get cash almost anywhere. Ask the CB or CU you are considering if they will refund all or part of the fees charged by most ATM vendors.

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