In 2006, my boyfriend at the time convinced me to move all of my bank accounts from CIBC to Coast Capital Savings Credit Union. His first selling point was that it would be easier for us to transfer money to each other and then I was (obviously) sold on the idea of no longer having to pay any banking fees. But it didn’t take long for me to see that Coast Capital offered more than free banking.
After a few months of banking with them, I experienced something that never happened in all the years I entered CIBC’s doors: I was greeted by my first name. From that day on, “Hi Caitlin!” was the warm greeting I received every time Starr saw me walk into the James Bay branch in Victoria. She would then ask me how I was doing and whether I was there to see Matt or Erin. Starr knew me and she knew who I dealt with.
Because of this, and all of the great experiences I have had with Matt, Erin, and various tellers, I’ve been heartbroken at the thought of not being able to bank with them in Toronto. Just days before leaving, I went into the James Bay branch and told Starr I was moving. I also told her she’d be missed. “No bank in Toronto is going to greet you by name, Caitlin!” No, they probably aren’t.
And so began my search for a new bank.
With years of free banking under my belt, I was having a hard time stomaching the idea of paying anyone, so I looked for a chequing account with benefits that could potentially outweigh the cost. Scotiabank’s Moneyback Account seemed like it could possibly break even. The Unlimited Chequing Account with CIBC came with a ton of Aeroplan Miles. And RBC and Shoppers Drug Mart had a nice offer too.
But I couldn’t get past the concept of having to pay for something that didn’t need to be paid for. So, I looked at ING DIRECT. I already have a THRiVE Chequing account with ING, as well as a couple of savings accounts, so you would think the answer to my banking dilemma would have been simple. My one hesitation was the fact that there are no actual banking institutions you can visit.
Stepping into the ING DIRECT Café on Yonge Street, earlier this week, took away most of my concerns. The staff were friendly and answered all of my questions, in an environment that made me feel both smart and at ease (unlike most traditional banks). I still have concerns (is it possible to get a bank draft from ING!?) but, overall, I know I will be happy doing my daily banking with them.
It also doesn’t hurt that ING DIRECT does an incredible job of reaching out to people through social media. I’ve had numerous interactions with ING on Twitter but, just days before my move, I was surprised to see this congratulatory tweet with a link to my post. It may not have been in Starr’s voice, but I think I’ve found another bank who will greet my “by name”.
How did you choose who to bank with? What keeps you with them?