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15 September 2008 @ 04:16 pm
It looks like in the general crumbling of the financial system, I may be in the market for a new bank. Yes, mine is the soon-to-be-late WaMu. I'm not worried about my money per se -- I'm well under the FDIC limit -- but I figure my ability to withdraw and my automatic payments may get screwed up.

It's unfortunate, as the banking side of it is actually quite nice. I changed accounts to there after Citibank ate my bank, CalFed, as I got quickly tired of Citi's attempts to charge fees for everything.

So I'm looking for bank recommendations. Things I am looking for:

Free or nearly so checking accounts. My WaMu one is free as long as I transfer $25 a month to a savings account.

The ability to have more than one checking account. I have one that I use for 'internet people I don't trust', such as Paypal.

The ability to bank online, so as to transfer money around my accounts.

Automatic bill payment. It doesn't have to be free (I find it a bit odd that WaMu does it free, in fact), but cost shouldn't be much more than postage.

Reasonable fees, not a screw-the-customer attitude.

Tellers that can solve problems. The final straw for me with Citibank was tellers informing me that they couldn't look at records, I should go use the phone in the lobby to call the bank!

Any suggestions?

Edit: I'm in San Jose in California, if people want to give local recommendations.
Kentkent on September 16th, 2008 12:19 am (UTC)
We use a credit union that's open to Washington residents only. You can probably find something near you that's rated highly by its members. You usually get higher interest rates. Ours has a good online billpay, etc. We do have some limit on transfers per month, but we've never hit it before.

Credit unions don't have shareholders, so profits tend to go back to account holders in the form of lower fees and better interest rates. And they're still FDIC insured.
Lauratavella on September 16th, 2008 12:24 am (UTC)
That's a good point, I should check out the local credit unions. My old bank before I moved was Pentagon Federal Credit Union, in fact.
(Anonymous) on September 17th, 2008 10:07 pm (UTC)
You might be able to reenroll with them
Son of the Shining Path, the Clouded Mind: I'M MAKING SCIENCEtorquemada on September 16th, 2008 12:29 am (UTC)
I'm 99% sure I am a member of this same exact credit union, and kent has hit the same high points I was going to. Go credit union.

Unfortunately, I no longer remember any credit unions from down that way I'd recommend, but mine is a member of the Co-Op Network, who have a search page (http://www.co-opfs.org/public/locators/culocator/index.cfm) for finding member credit unions. It looks like you have a lot of options.
Kentkent on September 16th, 2008 12:53 am (UTC)
I'm using BECU.
Evil Magnusevilmagnus on September 16th, 2008 02:51 am (UTC)
Go to BofA. They're now Officially Too Big To Fail! (tm)
Esseparadise_city on September 16th, 2008 03:52 am (UTC)
Seconded. I've been using them for years and haven't had any problems.
gwyneth: monarch diet sing_song_girlgwyn_r on September 16th, 2008 06:18 am (UTC)
Credit union, credit union, credit union. I changed all my banking years ago to CUs, and I have never regretted it. They are always nice, they treat you like a human being, the larger ones have online banking, etc. Many of the old restrictions for joining them have been relaxed in the past few years as well.

One of the big issues people mention about CUs is that they can't get a bank machine any old where, but most CUs are part of what's called the Co-Op Network, and you can use your card at any machine in any state without a fee, as long as you're a member. There are hundreds around here and in WA state, we also have 7-Elevens with co-op ATMs in them. So now I can get surcharge free cash AND a Pepsi Big Gulp in an emergency. ;-)
Madeline the Edifyingzdashamber on September 16th, 2008 04:38 pm (UTC)
Eh, I'm sticking with WaMu for the moment. The credit union I was in was worse than Working Assets for web banking, and BofA got on my bad side with rampant sexism to its female employees.
Lauratavella on September 16th, 2008 05:01 pm (UTC)
Yeah, that's the problem with credit unions for me -- I really *need* to have good online banking. I hate banking by phone, and I damn well don't want to have to go into the building every time I need to do something with my money.
(Anonymous) on September 17th, 2008 10:09 pm (UTC)
I use their on-line banking all the time.
mikkeneko on September 16th, 2008 09:56 pm (UTC)
I've never had any problems with Wells Fargo, and they have an excellent online banking system I've been using from Japan for the last two years. They have recurring bill pay online and as far as I know it's free. I've never noticed their fees or though them unreasonable. And the tellers I've dealt with (not terribly many I admit) have all been helpful.

I went into the bank the other day to tell them that I needed an 'official bank document' to activate my japanese pension withdrawal; they were a little bewildered because they didn't usually have need of such a thing, but they asked me to wait and in a few minutes had produced one from scratch.
Mysterious Arteilonwey on September 17th, 2008 01:15 am (UTC)
I don't know if you have family members in the military or otherwise meet the eligibility requirements, but a couple years ago I switched my accounts to USAA. They have good online banking options, and refund ATM fees to boot.