Regarding Bruce Mulkey's Feb. 24 commentary in Xpress, "Just Say No to Megabanks," I have had an interesting and completely opposite experience with one local bank. … I recently closed my checking account there, and I refuse to do any more business with them.
I moved to Asheville in 1997. … I started thinking about "banking local" several years ago — before it was so cool. I've never been a fan of these mega-giant corporations that run our world.
A couple years back, when I was ready to try to buy a home, someone told me to go to [a local bank], so I did. I opened a checking account there. They did eventually do my mortgage for me, but within a week or so, they sold the loan … just like the megabanks do! (I did the first-time homebuyer thing back when things were booming. I feel certain that any of the megabanks would have done the loan, too.)
I've been lucky through the recession. My job has been busy and I have prospered. All my bills remain paid and none have been late. I am very, very grateful for this. I recently decided I would make a purchase — something I've been wanting for a long time. I had about one-third of the cash myself and I applied to take out a fairly small personal loan. After applying and my credit was pulled (score 749), I was denied. They couldn't "get the numbers to work." I went somewhere else and got the money I needed, but at a higher rate. A few days later, I went and closed my bank account and took my money elsewhere.
I'm doing my part to stimulate the economy, with no help from these local banks. In my opinion, [the local bank I used] is as much a part of the problem as any megabank. When they won't help me when I ask, what's the point of doing business with them?
What's the difference between the local guys and the mega-banks? I don't see any. You think they care about you? Don't be fooled. They only care about their bottom line. Period. FYI: I'm a liberal-minded person, and I've never voted Republican in my life. I generally can't stand corporate America. But don't for a minute think that these local guys actually care. That's a crock!
My experience with banking local has been an exercise in frustration, inconvenience and a false sense of security. [The banks I now use] may be megabanks, but I'm pretty sure that those folks working there have a local address, too — and families at home to feed. At least they don't pretend they care, and now I can get all the conveniences that they offer. I don't pay any fees for any of my accounts or online services. Anybody who does is wasting money.
— Billy Earnest