Free checking accounts are not truly free

Veronica - Casa Grade, Arizona
Entered on September 16, 2008
Age Group: 18 - 30
Themes: injustice

There I was behind at the teller line; waiting for my first victim. How can I forget Mrs. Alvarez? It was around 11:30 am when Mrs. Alvarez entered our branch; she was walking very slowly because oject #1 her legs are not strong as she would like them to be. Every single teller yelled “Welcome to our branch! “ I was looking at her and saying “Hello Mrs. Alvarez” How are you today? The look in her face said she was not feeling very good. She looked tired; but she was smiling back at me, like as if I were her daughter or family. She answer “Oh my dear, I am fine. Thank you for asking”

I remember her so perfectly because her perfume is kind of unique, is a combination of flowers and candy, a very sweet smell. Anyways, she was as innocent as a four year old little girl.

Mrs. Alvarez was at our branch because she wanted to cash a $250.00 dollar check her son gave to her; because it was her birthday. Behind me was one of our bankers, her name is Elvia. Elvia has been recently promoted to the banker position. Since she is a new banker; she needs to prove to the managers that she can sale and reach her goals.

Mrs. Alvarez had an account with us already. When I pulled up her information I noticed she has been with this bank for a long time, since 1972. Elvia instead looks like she noticed more than a few things. She noticed that Mrs. Alvarez only had a checking not a savings, or a debit card, or a credit card, or online banking.

Mrs. Alvarez had a regular checking account with only 63.00 dollars in it. Since Elvia was behind me, I had to ask “Mrs. Alvarez how come you only have a very old checking account with us? It looks like you need to talk to a banker to review you account and probably upgrade to a better one” She looked at me and said “Oh really honey? Okay.” Elvia introduced herself and said to her that she was going to take very good care of her.

Two months passed and remember I was doing a transaction to this customer whose checks were very wet, and it was probably because he was sweating a lot. I was very grossed out, when suddenly I smell Mrs. Alvarez perfume and looked for her. There she was with another teller. She was telling to this teller that she had lost her cards (debit and credit), and also asking why she was overdrawn and getting charged a monthly fee now.

Elvia sold to Mrs. Alvarez products she never explained to her or maybe Mrs. Alvarez is too old to completely understand. Elvia sold her a checking account that requires $200 dollars to open, $100 for the checking, $100 for the savings with an automated transfer of $75 dollars from checking to savings every month. I do not think this account suits Mrs. Alvarez at all.

I noticed in her account that someone made some purchases online with her visa cards. I asked her if she knows of someone in her family who could have done this. She said “I do not know”

Now Mrs. Alvarez is being charged $34 dollars for each transaction she had while she was negative in the account. Poor Mrs. Alvarez who is going to take care of this problem she has now? Her son does not live in this state. The bank is going to solve her problem? Nope, I do not think so. Like Mrs. Alvarez I see many victims coming to our branch with their small amount of money, and leaving with a huge debt to this bank.

Do not get me wrong; I do believe some banks services are great, but for the right person or persons. At my bank, managers tell us that customers should have everything with us. If they have a checking account they should have also overdraft protection telling us to say to customers: “Comes in a form of a credit card and you do not have to use it if you do not want to” Now that they have the credit card lets sell them the rewards program.

I do not believe that customer should have everything with us. They should have services and accounts they can handle only. Not everyone needs a credit card, not everyone needs an automated transfer of $75 dollars from checking to savings.

Mrs. Alvarez’s checking account has been closed. Now she owes the bank $800 dollars. Do you think that after this she is going to be able to open an account somewhere else? It is not likely. Now she is going to have a lot of trouble cashing her checks. Oh… Mrs. Alvarez, I do feel sorry for her. This sweet and nice little lady is passing a very stressful time now, because this bank did not really help her succeed financially.