1/11/09

bank account review: and then there were two

when last you read, there were 7 semi-finalist banks trying to woo me and win my new checking account business.

Bank of America started strong but ultimately made me, in the words of esteemed poet bob seger, feel like a number. as for the others?

much to my shock, Citibank sent an auto-reply. i know this for a fact because the sender email was "autoreply@citicorp.com". is it too tough to come up with something that sounds semi-personal? the email said that, based on the information i provided, i might want to consider a checking account over a personal one. i wonder what information they meant. could it be the sentence i wrote them that said, "i'd like to open a small business checking account"? their ads say, "citi never sleeps." i say citi never cares either. they have been dropped from consideration for my account.

Chase seemed to leave the hard work for the computers as well. their auto reply just listed things one needs to open an account (fyi, you'll need a driver's license or ID), and if i had any questions, i needed to call a fellow named Chase By Phone at 1-800-935-9935. i'll save us both some time, Mr. By Phone: your bank is out of the running.

i had high hopes for WaMu because their marketing always seems like it has been created by humans. but their email began, "welcome to WaMu, part of Chase!" oh yeah, i forgot. out they go.

Wells Fargo plays hard-to-get. or more specifically, hard-to-contact. the only email address i could find on their site was the online phishing/fraud complaint department. so i sent my RFP there, hoping they'd forward it. i received a quick response saying, "you are a valuable partner in our fraud prevention efforts." a valuable partner? that's kinda cool. i was hoping they'd send some sort of sheriff's badge so people would ask me about it, instead of me having to slip a mention of my crime-fighting achievements into casual conversation. alas, no badge. so no account either.
the shortest email i received was from Harris Bank. but it was the best response yet, addressing me by name, saying a business banker will be in touch, and it was signed by kim stecker. kim! a first name and everything! now this is the kind of personal touch i was looking for.

another personal touch came from the last of the semi-finalists, Corus Bank. again, a greeting by name, an acknowledgment that i need a business account, a personal sign-off, and they even suggested two branches they thought were closest to my address. neither were close at all, but hey, maybe they just don't know the neighborhood as well as me.

when i began the account review, i had asked each responding bank for something "a little extra" knowing these are tough times for financial institutions. perhaps a standing ovation when i first arrive, i suggested. 2 weeks later, i'm settling for any bank with a pulse.

oh well, Harris and Corus seem like two worthy adversaries. I'm happy to announce they are the finalists in the competition for my small business checking account.

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