Thursday, December 31, 2009

New Years Resolution: Move My Money

Yesterday, I visited a nearby branch of Chase, where my old WAMU checking account now lives. I deposited my paycheck in person at the teller and then checked my balance. The funds, my funds, were not reflected in my account balance. When I asked the kind bank rep who says hello to everyone who walks in what's going on, her brightly lit eyes faded a bit and the word "Oh" barely escaped from her quickly pursing lips. "The funds were being held by Chase for 24 hours."

Large banks like Chase spend money creating the veneer of local and friendly places to bank. A smiling person greets you when you walk in. But their policies are anything but. It used to be that a hold was placed on funds for a specific reason. Chase places holds on all non-cash deposits so that they, not you, can have 24 hours to use your money any way they wish. Perhaps the money from my paycheck was used yesterday to lobby Congress to limit financial reforms, or to pay a large bonus to an executive. When you multiply millions of paychecks, you can see that with this one policy, Chase is able to leverage their customer's money in a very powerful way.

It was in this visit to a gleaming new Chase branch that I realized by my choice of financial institution, I was contributing to the pushback against financial regulation reform. By simply switching my bank to a small, local institution, I could prevent my money from being used against me.

It turns out I'm not the only person coming to this conclusion. Hopefully, you'll decide to move your money like I did. Happy New Year!


candycane said...

where did you move to? i've been wanting to leave chase as well!

Alex said...

Still exploring options, small bank or credit unions. Click the link and the end of the post to find small, local banks in your area. I won't completely close Chase, just use it as a conduit to a new bank. I'll post a followup when I make the move. Happy 2010!

candycane said...

at dinner tonight my 2 friends and i all pulled out our chase atm cards....we all talked about moving banks. they all seem kinda crap to me. i tried to research credit unions but since i'm freelance i don't really qualify. oy i remember in high school you had to take out whatever money you needed for the weekend because the banks were closed. miss those days! (and the tube sucker thing in the drive through). happy new year!

danceralamode said...

I noticed the same thing when I deposited a check from my grandparents the other day. I've also noticed that my paycheck direct deposits don't clear for a day either. So basically I get paid by my employer on the 25th, but Chase won't give me my money until the 26th. What would happen if I just wanted to cash the check?