As it turns out, switching to a community bank is not without struggles.
Over the last couple weeks, my asset transfer has been in a gridlock. My direct deposit is tied to my old bank. My employer only accepts void checks or signed letters from the bank to set up a new direct deposit. They do not accept starter checks. When I set up an account with my awesome new community bank, I was told that I would have real checks mailed to me in 4 weeks. I wasn’t going to wait that long so I sent 2 emails a week apart to my new community bank asking for a signed letter from the bank and even cc’d the HR generalist at work.
I never got a response and neither did the HR generalist. At this point, I decided that I was too busy to deal with this so I’d just wait two more weeks until the real checks came in the mail. It’s been 5 weeks since I set up my account and still no checks. So here I am with my savings split across two different banks, and still invested in a portfolio of businesses that don’t align with my values.
As far as I can tell there is one glaring issue causing all of this gridlock; we’re all too busy.
My Bank: The rumors are true. The employees there are really nice and really do have great customer service. But it seems that sometimes they just lose track of me and forget to follow up with me.
Me: I haven’t followed up as much as I could/should have either. I try and make progress when I can, but that’s honestly once a week. I have a lot going on, and it’s easier to tell myself that I’ll wait for checks that I assume are on their way, instead of calling and checking up on what’s going on.
Step one of getting through this is for me take the initiative. It would be convenient to just blame my bank for not being more responsive, but it would also be convenient to just forget that most of my money is still directly invested in ways I don’t agree with. I didn’t make the switch because of the customer service. I made the switch because my new bank is doing exceptional work providing affordable financing for underserved areas of DC. For me, that’s worth a little oversight in customer service.
Having said that though, I hope that once I get everything settled this communication issue doesn’t become a reoccurring problem. Sure, I’ve been busy and haven’t taken much initiative, but who really has the free time to switch banks? Forums and blogs make it sound so easy, but the reality is that switching banks is as easy as your bank makes it. If community banks really want to make themselves a viable alternative, they need to not only make opening an account easy and accessible, but also aid new account holders in the transfer process.
In any case, today I get this switch back on track. Hopefully it’s only a matter of a couple phone calls and an email. But the adventure won’t end there. My next step: the break up.