Meet Your Banker

Print
By PETER ROSENTHAL, President
V.I.P. Trust Deed Company
June 2001

Every few years I remind my readers about a FREE BANKING SERVICE. This service may end up helping you a lot more than FREE CHECKING. I am sure we all have bank horror stories, “no, you can’t cash this check; no, we have to put a hold on this; no, we always charge for cashiers checks”, etc.

Commercial banks are usually divided into two distinct areas. On one side is the tellers’ counter including the operations officer. This is the side of the bank that we deal with daily, and many of us have problems when we are trying to do ANYTHING that is not routine. I could devote this entire column to funny bank horror stories; I am sure we all have some. The “other side” of the bank is the friendly side: nice informal office atmosphere and smiling (sometimes) loan consultants, branch manager, assistant manager etc. These days somebody may even try to sell stocks, bonds, annuities, or whatever other services banks think they have an expertise in.

Walk over to the FRIENDLY side and introduce yourself to the manager. Just say “Hi, my name is Mrs Smith, I have had an account with your bank since 1987 and I just wanted to introduce myself”. If that is not applicable, “I just opened an account with your bank”. Just ask for a business card and leave yours if you have one. KEEP the managers card and remember his or her name Why is this important? Simple, remember, the other side of the bank is trained to say ‘NO”. When in trouble, go to the “friendly” side and see if your new found friend can make an exception for a minor problem.

Trust me, this works unless you are a new account trying to get instant credit on a third party check for $80,000.00 Perhaps you already have this relationship and don’t need this advice – if so, pass it on. If your son or daughter are old enough they need this advice. The typical small account holder may find this advice strange when, in fact, this advice is MORE important for people without banking experience or substantial deposits.

Two quick examples: in 1979 I packed the family on our Volkswagen bus and headed to Lake Shasta for a house-boating vacation, the van broke down (in a heat wave) a 100 miles south of Stockton on a Friday afternoon. I decided to cash a check ($7,500) and try to rent or even buy another van to continue our trip. Trust me, sweaty, dishevel people can’t just walk into a bank late in a Friday afternoon and try to cash a large (then) check on an account hundreds of miles away. All it took was one phone call to my manager down here; we continued our vacation.

On a more absurd note, I helped start a welding company some 27 years ago. Our first employee was from Egypt. I took him to our bank with his first paycheck to DEPOSIT into a new savings account., i.e., the American way. Imagine my chagrin when the new accounts lady refused to accept the new account because our employee had no prior “banking relationship”. Of course that’s absurd: a quick chat with the manager “fixed” the problem.

In conclusion say “Hello” for me.

Peter Rosenthal
VIP Trust Deed Company