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Happy Holidays, from your fat cat bank.

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This is the time of year when megabanks throughout the Bay Area, should be thanking their customers for all the support in 2013. They should recognize customers for having demonstrated patience, practiced forgiveness and magnanimous tolerance. In 2013, perhaps your bank has:
• paid millions of dollars in fines for past indiscretions
• made obtaining a loan more difficult than climbing Mt. Everest without supplemental oxygen
• delivered mediocre, poor or no service at all
• sent correspondence to you announcing an extensive array of new fees you can expect to pay
• revealed publically they are considering charging you for your deposits, instead of the other way around
• provided unclear ambiguous answers to questions from the bank’s call center half way around the globe.
Surprisingly, many big bank customers have had these kinds of experiences and yet, they still maintain relationships with these banks. The obvious question is why. These banks have, for some time, had a deliberate strategy of loading customers up with multiple products and services. In the sales incentive driven culture of many large financial institutions, it’s not about what the customer wants, or what’s in the customer’s best interests, it’s about making sales, plain and simple. Yes, sales do generate fee income, but what about listening to the customer, discovering what they really require? Most people go to a bank with basic needs, yet they can be barraged with countless product and service offers driven not by individual needs but by a high pressure sales environment. Once someone has numerous products tying them to a bank, the perception, not reality but perception, is that leaving a bank where you have direct deposit, a mortgage, a home equity loan, on-line banking, mobile banking, a line of credit and a credit card is too much of a hassle. Another bank would not only welcome you and your business, they would assist you with untying and closing your old accounts. The key here, it’s your money. If you feel you have a trusted banker who puts your banking needs ahead of all others, stay with that banker and that bank. If you don’t feel that way, chances are you’re not with the right bank. You do have options and they are not as onerous as you may believe. Happy Holidays.

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