Ever wonder what insiders at banks have to say about things like sales, commissions, and fees and rates on bank consumers? Well Dani Zabala, an ex-banker and founder of the website GetBankSmart.com, has some specific tips for bank customers to keep from getting fleeced by greedy bankers.
Zabala’s mantra is this: “Own your bank, and don’t let it own you.”
The key to achieving the former and avoiding the latter is knowing what tricks banking professionals have up their sleeves when they’re trying to pry you away from your cash.
One of Zabala’s primary themes is to know who is on the other side of the desk when you’re dealing with a bank employee, customer service rep, or lending officer.
Here, he offers five tips to make sure you don’t get ripped off when you’re dealing with a bank:
1. Get the whole story. Zabala knows from his own experience that bank employees are salespeople first and customer service reps second. So, make sure you get the whole story. “If the person speaking to you is only going on about the great teaser rate or the cash back bonus you’ll get after signing on, you’re hearing an incomplete story,” he says. “Financial obligations can go on for a long time, long after the salesperson in front of you has found a new job.”
2. Press for full disclosure on fees. Bank employees are trained to tamp down any talk of fees and penalties when pushing a bank product, like a certificate of deposit or a rewards checking account. In fact, Zabala doubts they’ll bring the fee issue up unless you do first. “Consumers make the mistake of not thinking clearly about how they’re going to use a product, and how a fee structure would interfere with their intentions,” he explains. “ Financial officers make the mistake of not bothering to explain it to them so as not to interfere with a sale.”