Help me find a better bank.
July 10, 2010 11:14 AM   Subscribe

I hate my big corporate bank that rhymes with "face". They keep screwing up, it's impossible to talk to someone on the phone who can fix their mistakes, and they have an aggressive campaign to screw over their customers with overdraft coverage. I'd like recommendations for a better bank or credit union in the Los Angeles area, for basic checking/savings accounts (and possibly an auto loan). Even better if it will work with
posted by Dilemma to Work & Money (13 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
In my experience, people who... uh... unionize their credit at a credit union, any credit union, seem generally happy with the experience. People who bank, especially with the large companies who tend to advertise on national television, seem to hate their banks with the heat of a million suns going supernova. Just a thought.
posted by LastOfHisKind at 11:35 AM on July 10, 2010 [1 favorite]

I will just echo the recommendation for credit unions. I love mine enough that I haven't switched my banking from them even though I moved across the country (they participate in a network that gives me access to deposit-taking ATMs all over the place.)
posted by needs more cowbell at 11:48 AM on July 10, 2010

I recently quit my big bank and researched alternatives through the move your money website. It is mind boggling how different my experience with my new community bank has been. I've gotten phone calls and email from the person I opened my account with when I had a question about linking accounts, amazing service when needing to deal with a teller, and just an overall good feeling that my money is in my community. And absolutely works with my new bank. :) I say: do it!
posted by ilikecookies at 1:01 PM on July 10, 2010

I am in the LA area and very pleased with Wescom. Anyone can join it.
posted by FuzzyVerde at 2:10 PM on July 10, 2010

Four letters...USAA. I left Bank of America to join USAA, and I have never been happier. No fees, no hassles. If you were in the military, or if either of your parents was in the military, or if your spouse was in the military, you can join.

Hands down, one of the best decisions I have ever made.
posted by AlliKat75 at 2:35 PM on July 10, 2010

Seconding USAA. If you're non-military, you can still open an account. A few conveniences are not available to non-military, but it still has no additional fees (and still refunds any fees for using cash machines from other banks).
posted by rottytooth at 3:19 PM on July 10, 2010

Can't recommend a specific bank. What kind of things go wrong for you that require you to speak to someone? I've had a checking account with BofA for more than 30 years. I do everything online, including asking questions and getting rational answers. Years pass, however, before I have a question.

Credit unions are fine, if they provide the services you need.

Ignore the overdraft mail. Most people have had it all along and didn't know it. The law has changed and now banks have to explicitly get people to sign up.

I'm not saying huge corporate banks can't drive you nuts. Find the bank that best meets your needs. There is no reason, though, to expect a small time bank to be any more competent that a big bank.
posted by justcorbly at 3:41 PM on July 10, 2010

I've never used USAA's financial services, but I have their car insurance and I am very pleased.

I use Wells Fargo as my primary bank (so do my parents) and have been very pleased. Also their online site is way better than Chase's.
posted by radioamy at 5:43 PM on July 10, 2010

I came here to write exactly the comment needs more cowbell wrote. Find a credit union that provides the services you need. Mine is amazing, but it's not in the LA area.
posted by asciident at 6:26 PM on July 10, 2010

Also USAA. Customer service like Nordstrom for shoes.
posted by Pax at 9:07 PM on July 10, 2010

I've been super happy with the DWP's Water and Power Credit Union. They're a member of the Co-Op network, so you can use the ATMs in 7-Eleven for free. And they have a free change counting machine in the lobby of their downtown office.
posted by hwyengr at 9:51 PM on July 10, 2010

I used to bank with "Face" as well, until they decided to close my personal accounts without warning me and refusing to give an explanation for it. (Two months later they did the same thing with a credit card I had with them. Avoid any and all interactions with these people like the plague, eh?)

I switched over to Wells Fargo and haven't had a single problem. From what I've been able to tell when I was looking for a new bank, they don't have nearly as many complaints as the other big banks in the area. Credit unions are awesome - and I probably should have chosen one myself - but when it comes to something that's still a "big name" I'm not disappointed.
posted by Tequila Mockingbird at 4:44 PM on July 12, 2010

I am really in love with my schwab investor checking account. No minimums, no fees, refunds all atm fees from and atm (even the high international atm fees). Can be set up to transfer money into and out of any other account electronically without any fees (e.g. I can withdraw from or deposit into my bofa account). Offers a fairly competitive interest rate on the checking portion. Gives you free checks. Has super friendly/helpful phone support and a good web interface. Free easy bill pay.

You have to set up a brokerage account in addition to the checking account, but you don't actually have to use it unless you want to.

I love my account in every way.
posted by vegetableagony at 2:35 PM on July 14, 2010

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