Consumers Who Need Debt Relief May Find a Better Bank
Banks and debt
In an effort to find new customers, banks are aiming to help with a big public concern: debt relief. TD Bank, located on the East Coast, hosted a free pizza night for potential customers. Citizens Bank has promised to give new customers $1,000 if they are saving for their children’s college fund. Bank of the Wichitas, in Oklahoma, is hitting the market hard with a new advertising campaign with “Where bankin’s funner!” as their slogan. Regardless of their geography, banks are looking for new customers and finding creative ways to reach out to a new market.
Since the Federal Reserve set an extremely low interest rate, banks are trying to work with the numbers. This explains why most banks offer bonuses , but with conditions. For example, Citizens Bank’s $1,000 college fund is available, but only if customers open a new account and deposit at least $25 per month. To qualify, families must have children younger than 6 and agree to contribute at least $25 every month until the child is 18. Another example is HSBC’s program to give away Amazon Kindles but only to customers who open a new account with $50,000 and agree to maintain a combined balance of $100,000 at the bank.
To find good interest rates, some searching is required. First of all, smaller banks are now trying to compete with large banking centers. They are offering “rewards” checking accounts that often return 4 percent or more. Studies show that small banks often carry interest rates that are twice the national average. Gabriel Krajicek, CEO of BancVue.com, stated, “Most small banks have maintained the higher interest rate package for over a year, so their reliability is great.” BancVue.com is a web site that lists reward-running banking programs from around the country, at a community level. It’s a great tool for consumers to look for banks offering the best perks.
For consumers looking for debt relief, searching online may also aid their financial positions. Online banks gained popularity a few years ago and managed to gain a strong market share almost immediately. Although online banks still have less than 4 percent of total retail deposits, their revenues have grown more than $160 billion since 2000. Part of the reason is their rates are normally better than brick-and-mortar banks. Online banks have smaller overhead costs and can pass the savings onto their customers. James Kelly, COO of ING Direct, the largest online-only bank, stated, “Despite the economy, we’re getting as much money as we need.”
The downside of online banking, however, is that most have limited online services. For extra accounts such as auto loans or credit lines, consumers still have to go elsewhere. Also, many online banks don’t have their own ATM networks, so getting charged a fee for using a debit card is inevitable. Check cashing can also be a hassle with banks that do their business solely online. Customers have to grapple with a traditional bank and explain their online status or mail the check to their online facility and wait for days, sometimes weeks, for their money.
In the end, debt relief is available to those to search hard for it. Fortunately in today’s computer age, there are web sites that do the work and research for consumers. Web sites like BancVue.com build their business on becoming a banking resource for their visitors. Consumers need to find tools like these and use them to maximize their savings.