How do you know when it’s time to leave your bank behind? Maybe you’ve been a little dissatisfied over the years, or maybe recent events—like a merger between your bank and another—have given you doubts about the future. If you’re wondering whether it’s time to move on, here are five things to ask yourself.
5 questions to ask about your current bank
1. Am I fee-d up with my bank?
Excessive fees can add up and make you feel like you’re losing more than you gain from your banking relationship. Scan your accounts for bank charges. If they seem excessive or you don’t understand what they’re for, ask your bank to explain them to you. If you’re not satisfied with their explanation, it may be time to break free from the fees.
2. Do they give me their attention or a sales pitch?
Beware of a bank that tries to sell you products or services without asking about your financial goals. If your bank has your best interests in mind, they’ll find out what’s important to you before suggesting a loan or savings product.
3. Do they care about my overall satisfaction?
Financial goals are important, but having a hassle-free everyday banking experience counts for a lot, too. Do you feel your bank is on your side? Do their employees handle any problems you have quickly and cheerfully?
4. Will they help me improve my credit?
If your credit score needs work, has your bank tried to help you improve it? Anisa Picalli of Michigan Schools and Government Credit Union (MSGCU) says that when a member needs assistance with their credit, “We help them understand what makes up their credit score. Then we review their credit report. We take a look and understand what is causing the low score. Based on that information, we identify a course of action and offer personalized guidance at every step.”
5. Is my bank merging with another, and will it affect my accounts?
Sometimes new fees or account rules are put in place by the bank that’s merging with yours. There may also be glitches during the transition that can derail automated payments or online bill pay, and the complete transition can take months. If you are already considering a new bank, avoiding the disruption of a merger may be a good reason to make the move. Questions to ask potential new banks or credit unions.
Questions to ask potential new banks or credit unions
If the answers to the questions above convince you it’s time to make a move, make sure you’re moving in the right direction by asking potential new banks or credit unions a few more questions:
Do they have products and services that align with my goals?
Don’t just consider your immediate goals; think ahead to future goals as well. For instance, right now, you might want to open a checking account, but you might want a home equity loan in the future. Don’t assume every bank is full-service—some may be limited in the products and services they provide. Ask if they offer:
- A mobile app for banking on-the-go
- Online banking and bill pay
- Checking accounts
- Auto loans, personal loans, mortgages and home equity loans
- Low-rate and rewards credit cards
- Financial education
- Free ATMs near you
MSGCU offers all the above products and services, and any Michigander can join.
What kinds of fees do they charge?
- Minimum balance requirements and associated fees
- Maintenance fees
- Application fees for loans
- ATM fees
- Transfer fees (for moving money between accounts)
If they charge too many fees for your liking, move on to the next candidate. “Being a not-for-profit institution allows us to provide products that benefit our members with lower rates on loans and lower fees as well. It’s just one way that we provide value to our members,” says Picalli.
Will they help me switch?
Switching your accounts from one institution to another isn’t difficult, but it can be intimidating, especially if you’ve been with your bank for a long time. Ask if the new bank or credit union is willing to help you make the switch. When MSGCU welcomes a new member, “We provide guidance on how to transition things over slowly, so transactions don’t end up bouncing, and there is less stress with this approach,” says Picalli. “We stay in contact with them and make sure we help them along the way.”
Take the time to visit new banks and credit unions, then choose the one that feels right. “Do you feel comfortable with the experience you had? It sets the tone for the rest of your relationship,” says Picalli. Choose well, and you’ll be more satisfied with your banking.
Michigan Schools and Government Credit Union (MSGCU) makes switching easier by helping you through the process with personalized guidance. Learn more about how we can champion you. Contact us or stop by any one of our 17 branch office locations.
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