Monday, April 5, 2010


Today I finally officially closed my Bank of America account, so let the rant begin! First of all, I have had a Personal Checking Account there since 2004, so I am a relatively long time customer, since around the time they started buying up every other banking option. And when I first opened my account, I deposited a check, waited a couple of days, and started making transactions. Silly me! My money would not be my money for at least 5 business days, though no one thought to tell me so until I was charged an overdraft fee, at which point the money was in the account. By the way, the only other time I had this fee was when I deposited a check, waited a week, and then tried to pay my credit card bill. Psych, your money isn’t there, what were you thinking? We like to change our policies without warning, isn’t spontaneity fun?
Speaking of fees, when did it become common practice for your bank to charge a fee on top of the fee you already pay for using another bank’s ATM? If my bank doesn’t have an ATM or branch anywhere near where I need money, how is that my fault? Seriously, BOA, what do you have against New Orleans?
Okay, but the real reason for my animosity toward Bank of America specifically. As you may know, I recently bought a coop apartment. I found the apartment back in October, and then first applied for a mortgage with Bank of America. I filled out all the necessary paperwork, submitted the forms, and waited for a reply. Any communication. After a few weeks of unanswered emails and phone calls, we found out that our loan officer had quit the company, and passed on the file to someone else. Okay, so we tried to continue the process with this new guy, paying to get the apartment appraised, paying other fees that went with the application process. Still, it seemed like our new loan guy didn’t have much time or interest in our claim. Oh, it’s because he’d decided to leave the bank as well and pass our file on to someone else. By this point in time, details of the kind of loan, the length, etc. had been lost in translation between loan officers, and they had started proceedings for something completely different than we wanted. This point by the way was early December.
This is when we went to a mortgage broker who knew our real estate lawyer, so had some tie somewhere. Unfortunately, he found the best deal for our loan again at Bank of America. Now, in retrospect, I wish we had vetoed this option despite the seemingly better deal. But that didn’t happen.

We started over with the broker working for us and all new people on the bank side. The brokers guaranteed this process would be expedited so that I could get into the apartment very early in the year. And then came Christmas, and people traveling, and trouble getting forms notarized, the apartment re-appraised (for another fee), etc. Soon it was January. We had by this time given the bank every record of ever breathing that my parents or I had (no kidding, they made my parents produce bank records they have for my brother and aunt who are both disabled dependants with nothing to do with this loan whatsoever). They had multiple updated copies of pay stubs, bank statements, other financial records (btw, these had to be updated every 6 weeks, and this was a long process). Frequently our mortgage broker called or emailed asking for things we had already given them. I had to write letters explaining why I moved back from California to the New York area, why I had spent time living in Connecticut, why I had a California area code for my contact number.
I also had to produce cancelled checks showing proof that I had paid rent for the past 12 months. Now, you may have noticed that a lot of banks don’t actually send you back your checks with your statements anymore. BOA also only allows you to view these scanned checks online for 6 months. After that, you have to pay a fee for a copy of you cancelled check, $3 per check. They only keep checks on file at all going back 12 months. Because I had my checking account with them as well, they’d just asked me to pay them $18 to produce records from their own establishment.
By the end of January, our loan had been approved. Turns out, this isn’t the end of the process. After that, underwriting still has you jump through more and more hoops. So when, by the end of February, we still hadn’t received a closing date from the bank, the people selling me the apartment got fed up and issued essentially a “close by this date or forfeit the apartment” movement to our lawyer. So we gave the mortgage brokers and the bank a due or die date. All week leading up to this date, in mid-March, five months after the proceedings began, they kept asking for more paperwork, more copies of things they already had, more updated paystubs and bank statements. Then nothing, no replies. The day before due day, the mortgage broker kept calling me, assuring me we would get everything together, we would make this happen.
By now, you know that that didn’t happen. After all this time, money, paperwork, and excuses, they didn’t come through. We had to arrange with the sellers to close without the bank in order to keep the apartment.
So this morning, after everything had cleared with my account, all outstanding checks, transactions, I went into the bank to close my account. “Okay, first we have to get your balance down to $0. Would you like cash?” The teller asked. “Could I have a check?” “Well, we would have to give you a cashier’s check, and we charge a $7 fee for that.” “Ok, just give me the cash.” I wasn’t going to pay this bank another cent. “I hope this isn’t because of a bad experience with the bank.” “Actually, it is.” I didn’t elaborate. He gave me my money and instructed me to speak to one of the associates to close out the account. The associate pulled up my account, and then made a face, “oh, you opened this account in California. We can’t close it here, we don’t have access. You have to do it over the phone.” Um, seriously? Aren’t you an international company? How can you not access an account set up in another state? He took me into an office, dialed the number, and set me up with his phone while he went to help someone else. “We’re sorry. No one is available to take your call at this time. Our hours are between 7am and 5pm Pacific Standard Time.” Customer service couldn’t close my account until it opened on the west coast. So finally, after 10am East Coast Time, I called, sat on hold for 15 minutes, and closed my account. Amazingly, the woman on the phone didn’t sound surprised, didn’t ask why I was closing it, just told me it would be closed within the week. Nevertheless, on the advice of several websites, I am also sending an official request in writing through the mail to make sure I am really totally done with them. F U, BOA.

1 comment:

  1. Whoa. They actually can close an out of state account. I've done it, and opened my account in CT. But then I got a bill two months later with service charges for having a $0 balance. Ahhh, love them.