Paul Meloan – Vested Interest

After working past the outrage at criminal organizations (yeah, I said it) like Wells Fargo, you are still left with the question of where to put your money. Increasingly, the most logical answer for most people is not with a bank, at least not in the traditional sense.

Banking has changed

The way most affluent people live in 2016 never requires entering a bank branch. I cannot imagine why any bank is paying good money to build more physical branches. Pay checks are usually direct deposited, payments can be made through numerous online providers (Pay Pal, Venmo) and most banks now permit their customers to capture smartphone images of checks and deposit them electronically. Fewer transactions require cash, which means fewer trips to the ATM (possibly the last physical vestige of 20th century banking).  Many banks now permit transactions at other banks’ ATMs without incurring fees; some even rebate the fee paid to the ‘foreign’ bank for using its ATM.

Best offers today

Charles Schwab (the primary custodian my firm utilizes) owns a bank that it uses in conjunction with client brokerage accounts. These accounts offer all of the features mentioned above, as well as offering the ability to easily move funds in between bank and brokerage accounts online. Most clients access it regularly through their smartphone app.

If you have a military connection in your family, USAA offers a full suite of online banking services.  Like Schwab, they rebate foreign ATM fees and allow smartphone deposits and transfers.  I’ve used USAA for all my banking for the past decade and have yet to have a bad experience.

Among other online banks, the one that seems to garner the most top reviews is Ally. It also has online access with foreign ATM fees rebated, as well as the ability to send e-payments to other persons.

In-depth comparisons

The best web site for in-depth comparison of banking services is Nerd Wallet.  Their reviews are concise and can save you a fair amount of time in comparing features of different banks. As these features change frequently, it’s worth a visit every few months to compare offerings and features.

Ultimately the only voice consumers have is to vote with their wallets. Dinosaurs like Wells Fargo deserve to go extinct with their inability to respond to change and put the interests of their customers first. You have options, go use them.

Paul Meloan is the co-founder and co-managing member of Aegis Wealth Management, LLC, in Bethesda, Maryland USA. Before Aegis Paul was a practicing attorney as well as working in the tax practice of Ernst & Young, LLP.

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