Monday, July 20, 2009

Grace v. B of A--This Time, Grace Wins One

As I've pointed out in earlier posts, I've had a Bank of America checking account since the late sixties when I headed off to college. (Actually, I had an account with a different bank--several different banks, come to think of it--but ultimately, as one bank absorbed another, I found myself with Bank of America.)

My current account is called Senior Advantage and comes with free checks, no monthly service costs and no minimum balances.

On Saturday, I get a letter from Bank of America assuring me that my account will be better than ever, and oh, by the way, they were now going to assess a $15 a month charge unless I kept at least $1000 as a minimum balance.

Excuuuuse me?

If I had an extra $1000 laying around, it would be in my emergency fund, NOT my checking account! But it's a moot point since I do NOT have $1000 to put in.

I called B of A, enraged at their action, and even more enraged that they would be directing these charges at their senior citizen clients. But before I could even get out an angry sputter, the extremely nice lady at customer service agreed with me that it was outrageous and said she could solve the problem.

Did I have paychecks? Umm--Yes!

Could I do a direct deposit? Umm--I already DO have my payroll checks deposited directly into my checking account.

"Well, then," said the extremely nice lady, "We'll just sign you up for an Access Account,--same bank account number, same checks, same everything--and you'll be on your way."

Which I was, within five minutes of calling customer service.

Now, why the bank couldn't have just done this on their own, since I've had my checks deposited directly for the past nineteen years, I don't know. Why they couldn't have put these options in their letter, I don't know. Why they want or need to start charging for the senior accounts, I don't know.

Then again, why I'm still with Bank of America? I don't know.

Maybe because of the extremely nice lady at customer service.


Anonymous said...

The squeaky wheel, gets the grease.

Florence said...

They do it because a percentage of people will not read the notice and BoA will get the $$$.

Petunia 100 said...

They need to increase their revenue. That credit card fee reform that is in the pipeline? Those fees must be made up somewhere.

Congrats on keeping your account fee free. I have B of A too, but would not pay $15 per month for a checking account. As of right now, there are too many free accounts available to justify paying for one. Maybe that won't be true in the future, who knows?