Smartmoney.com thought they’d be clever and write a better post on some things your bank won’t tell you.  So maybe they didn’t copy me, probably because they’ve never heard of me.  But that’s okay.  You’ve heard of me and that’s all that matters.  Actually that’s a lie, I want more people to have heard of me.

Since the article was written by someone that is not a bank employee, I thought I’d see if there was anything he needed help elaborating on.

1. “Our branches are there to sell you, not serve you.”
He’s right on the money for this one.  The local branch is just as much a retail shop as Radio Shack.  And like Radio Shack employees, there is a commission for the products they sell.  I have to go down to the branch every once in a while and they’re always offering something to sell me.  When it comes to deposit products, they simply cannot compete even with ING’s savings account.  Why lock up my money for 6 months in a CD at 2.9% when I can get 3% with ING and have access to it all the time?  SmartMoney uses the example that a teller will try and sell you a home equity line of credit (HELOC) or loan if they notice you’ve got a mortgage.  The folks at my parents’ bank tried to sell them on moving their emergency fund to a CD and opening a HELOC for their emergency fund.  Its all in the name of getting credit for sales.  Those tellers are no simple cash handlers.

4. “College campuses are a gold mine for us.”
I still feels like yesterday I walked across the stage to get my diploma.  Well actually it was a rolled up flier for the alumni association.  Since I’m not involved with my bank’s credit card programs I don’t know what kind of trickery we’re up to.  I do know that while at college there were always booths from credit card companies.  Why do the greedy banks like college kids?  Its obvious, with less credit they can charge higher rates.  The kids pay more for the credit and probably pay late.  On top of that the parents might pay it off for them after a year or two.  Very lucrative.  But what isn’t so obvious is the exploitation.  Credit card companies will give you a free sub or t-shirt for signing up for their cards.  Thankfully the government has stepped in to make it more difficult to market towards college students.  Just a small piece of the puzzle to fix this nation’s debt problem.

6. “We’re excited about your trip to Europe too!”
Exchange fees.  This is a very lucrative operation.  We charge you money to covert your money into money.  Fun!  Sadly this is almost unavoidable.  You can order the currency here in states and pay a smaller fee, but then you’ve got to carry around all that coin as you travel.  Or you make withdrawals from ATMs in the country you arrive in.  The international credit cards are certainly a great option.  Make sure you do the research based on what country(ies) you’ll be traveling to as its going to vary.  Of course, with the dollar the way it is don’t expect to get much for your buck anywhere.

9. “When it comes to banks, smaller is sometimes better.”
This is the only one I’ll talk about that I disagree with.  Of course I’m biased as my employer is one of the big banks.  But after reading this site for so long do you really think I’m trying to get an advantage?  I only disagree on principle.  Most people seem to be dumb enough to fall for the outrageous fees banks like mine charge.  Manage your money right and you don’t have to worry about it.  Small banks can’t compete because they don’t have access to all the resources the big banks have.  If you are with a regional bank good luck finding an ATM even in the next state over.  You’ll pay a fee to get to your cash.  If you like the regional and small town institutions, you are much better off with a credit union.  They are non-profit and even the big banks like mine can’t compete on loan and deposit rates.  You’ll get the same advantages the regional banks can offer.  With the big banks you get the national presence and broad product base.  Take your pick, or do both!

I won’t compare my list of things the banks won’t tell you to SmartMoney’s, instead look at either as a complement to the other.  Click through to see the rest of their top 10

SmartMoney’s 10 Things Your Bank Won’t Tell You

9 Thing I’ve Learned Being a Bank Employee

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categories: banking, business, investing, lists, personal, personal finance