Recently, after doing business with a large, well-known financial institution for several years, I decided to end our relationship. One of us wasn’t living up to the others expectations. So, after ten years of banking at the same place I decided to move my accounts elsewhere. To fully understand my decision, I need to give you a little background.
When I finally got my financial act together while working overseas I made some big moves that allowed me to enjoy much of the life I’m living today. I paid off over 50k in debt, saved and invested in dividend paying stocks, cashed out those stocks and bought my home (with cash) and then took a year off to enjoy the process of fixing up my first foreclosure purchase. I was even able to use the financial security I had created for myself to start a small business that I have been working on over the past six months and the reason you haven’t seen much of me here. All of this was achieved without the use of credit and it was a deliberate decision. For the past five years I’ve had no credit history of any kind expect the negative one I had built before my personal finance reinvention. You could say I had an aversion to debt, and I was happy to handle my financial affairs on a cash basis. However, with the starting of my small business and the desire to make another real estate purchase in 2015 I realized that credit could help me achieve these goals more efficiently. Credit was now viewed as a means to help me continue further down my path of producer-oriented vs. consumer-oriented. And that was the main realization the I had concerning my aversion to credit; the old me looked at credit as a way to consume more than I could afford, to fund a lifestyle at the expense of my future self and led me to the financial pitfall I found myself in five years ago. The new me sees credit as a means to furthering my business and real estate ventures. There is a world of difference between these views.
So, when I approached my bank with my plans they matter-of-factly told me there was nothing they could do to help me. Really? Nothing!? Honestly, this pissed me off! I left and drove to three other banks, two of which were willing to help and one who was actually eager to help. I decided to transfer my accounts to the one who was willing to help me. Maybe I’m old school, but I still believe a bank should do the traditional work of banks, collect deposits and loan money. All the other activity that some of the larger institutions become involved with benefits neither you nor me. I feel better about being with a bank who focuses on the basics and where I’m not just a credit score and doing business with an organization that actually wants to meet its customers needs. Perhaps bail out money has allowed some of these larger banks to forget basic business principles…
On a side note, the experience wasn’t totally bad. I ended up getting what I needed and was able to find an error on my credit report. Three years ago I paid off my student loans in full, however a balance in the sum of $22k was still showing up on my credit report. I contacted the student loan server and they confirmed that I had paid the loans off and would make the changes and report it to the credit bureaus. For three years that balance was showing up even after it had been paid. I guess it really does make sense to check your report occasionally for errors.