4.26.2005

From the sublime to the mercantile...

So, while I still need to reply to StrangeSojourner's comment below, I do have one small vent regarding topics far less sublime than papacies and elections: my continuing frustration with my banking situation.

In the beginning. Many years ago, when I was a fresh-eyed graduate student and first moved to Boston, I proudly opened my account with Bank of Boston....remember their shiny green signs, reminiscent of the Celtics and a tenacious Boston identity? Obviously Bank of Boston was not a small, mom-and-pop bank, but it had enough of a local flavor to make one feel slightly invested in the region. Well, if you've been in the Boston area, you know that Bank of Boston was eaten by Fleet, which has in turn been eaten by Bank of America. (You'll notice that I won't be hyperlinking to the latter...)

In addition to losing its shiny green logo, B of A also started moving jobs out of Boston, laying off tellers, etc. Now, in my heart of bleeding hearts, I would love to say that I jumped ship at that point and switched to a more community-oriented bank, but I didn't. You see, I (and I expect many of you) am a fundamentally lazy person, and so the effort of switching accounts, changing paperwork, etc., particularly when it's not as though I have tons of moolah to begin with, seemed too much.

I have to admit that I may have reached a decision today, based on something rather stupid: the one advantage I saw in staying with a larger bank is that they would generally be more prepared to respond to your needs than a smaller bank, and yet today my local B of A branch didn't have any quarters. At all. Won't have them until the end of the week. Maybe. So this dirty-laundried unsatisfied B of A customer is moving on.

I'm particularly interested in Wainwright Bank. They sponsor free space to allow my church to take donations online, and do a lot of community investment. But I worry that I may be getting sucked in to the lefty marketing strategy of "Banking on Values"...which is just another way of being taken to the bank, so to speak. Does anyone have any experience of Wainwright, and/or any other ideas on whether attempting to bank more locally even makes sense or makes any difference in 2005? Is my attempt to bank with a locally owned, socially responsible bank simply a more sophisticated exploitation of my consumer preferences than the bottom-line marketing scheme of larger institutions?

1 comment:

toonrmeusa said...

Check out the comments in this DailyKos posting -- it sounds like it's great if you trust Wainwright to donate (your returns) to charity for you. If you want better returns, go with a "big" bank.

Personally, I would look into a credit union. They often have good rates, and if the union makes a profit, you get a share.