the split

I finally got around to opening a new checking account yesterday.

I’ve been meaning to do this since, oh, last February when, based on my home ZIP code, my original checking account was sold to a bank that doesn’t have any damn branches or ATMs in the city where I work. I just dealt with it at the time, because I had numerous electronic checks/debits set up to pay off some debts, and I feared that the lag time inherent in a switchover would cause me to miss payments and get me in deep trouble.

Over time I became complacent with the bank that had been thrust upon me, and that was a major mistake. During the last several months, the following bullshit has occurred:

a) In January, they began charging me 50 cents per call if I call my automated teller line to check my balance more than ten times a month. Since I call nearly every day, that’s a problem.

b) They process debits/checks each day in order from the largest to the smallest, which means that if I have a $150 check, a $20 check, and a $10 check come in on the same day, and the $150 makes me overdraw my account, they get to charge me TWO NSF fees for the $20 and the $10 checks. Some banks process from smallest to largest, so that if you do happen to overdraw your account, the fees will be minimalized.

c) The routing number on my checks doesn’t work if I do a check-by-phone with a company that’s not based in VA. There is apparently a different routing number for “central accounts,” whatever the hell that is. So, for example, if I call and do a check-by-phone in Maryland, that check will be returned to the company with an NSF tag, even though non-sufficient funds isn’t the problem. This happened to me a few months ago, and I had bill collectors harassing me about bouncing checks with them, when my account had no record of any check bouncing because the check had never actually come to my account. It’s confusing and complicated and completely fucked up.

When we finally figured out that this was the problem, after trying several different check numbers and ways of submitting the checks, my account was accidentally debited twice for the same check, causing it to overdraw. Would my bank remove the fees? Hell no. Because, and I quote, “it wasn’t their fault that the company didn’t know about the central routing number.”

d) Recently, at a time when I had $11 in my account to get me through a weekend, and no cash, and needed to put gas in my car, my bank accidentally had a computer glitch or something that caused it to record all checks that came in that day twice, thus – you guessed it – overdrawing my account. They actually did reverse the fees that time, but it still took them several days to do it, and in the meantime I was fucked because I couldn’t use the money that actually should have been in my account and had to borrow money to get by until it was fixed.

The fact that I’m a poor person with questionable money management skills, combined with the fact that my bank is a big fat scum-sucking pit of hell, has caused me to overdraw my account WAY more often than you could possibly believe, to the point that it’s nearly impossible to reconcile my checkbook with my statements anymore. It also means that I’ve paid them literally hundreds of dollars in fees.

So I’d finally had enough, and yesterday I went and opened a new checking account. The super-nice and friendly bank manager, Marsha, hooked me up with a bunch of cool stuff, including a savings account where she waived the minimum deposit and minimum balance requirements. Sweet.

Now I’m beginning the task of changing my direct deposit and all the electronic debits and such over to the new account. I feel like I’m leaving a lover who drank too much and fucked shit up a lot, whom I never really liked to begin with.

My new lover is Bank of America. Please tell me it’s not evil too. I’m not sure if anything could be worse than the old bank, though.

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