Sunday, November 6, 2011

One of the 99%. How I Broke Up with My Mega Bank

So, I'm still on this theme...and I'm proud of myself as I really have broken up with my mega bank.  Here are the steps I followed:

1) I found a Credit Union I could join. (See my previous post...or check out this credit union locator).  Community Banks are another option, and this locator tool is great for identifying local banks...that really are local and invest in your neighborhood. I joined and established a new account.
2) I ordered new checks and an ATM card IMMEDIATELY as I knew having these would help me move any automatic deposits from your old account to my new one.
3) I moved SOME of the money over from my old account ...but not all as I wanted to make sure that there were funds available for any automatic withdrawals that might hit before I'd had a chance to move all my accounts over. Even after making the change in accounts, it can take a few days or even a week before the changes take effect.
4) Then, I made a  list of all the automatic withdrawals that come out of my old bank account.  I did an initial list and then put it on the back burner for a day or two to make sure I had all accounts covered.  (Think mortgage, water, gas, electric, cable, card...charible may have more than you think.  In a worse case scenario, missing one payment won't mess up your credit rating...but if you get e-statements, pay attention and make sure no payments are being missed.)
5) I started moving accounts over. This can be a tedious process that requires yoga breaths and intermittent sojourns to the outdoors.  "You are doing the right thing" became my mantra. You can transfer many accounts on line..but some - like Washington Gas...still require the old voided check...and it took a while to get new checks for my new account.
6) I monitored automatic withdrawals from my new account.  When I saw that all major utilities and my mortgage were being deducted, I proudly walked into a local branch of my mega bank and announced that I wanted to close my account.  The bank employees (who I really like) asked why...and I told them that I didn't want to pay their fees.  Check out:
7) I cut up my old card and sent it back to the mega bank headquarters explaining that I was closing my account and why. 

Green America has a great toolkit for breaking up with your mega bank.  Do it!

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