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Big Bank Alternatives Look Better Every Day

by combsh on April 18, 2014

At a recent Truliant employee orientation class, a new hire couldn’t help but smile.

She formerly worked for one of the big banks. Already on her first day at Truliant she could tell the difference between a bank and a credit union. And her co-workers couldn’t help but notice her perpetual smile.

“Trust me, you’d be smiling too,” she told them, pointing to the marked culture difference she was recognizing.

The bank she’d worked for previously had three-to-four conference calls daily to micromanage a relentless push to meet daily sales quotas for add-on products to accounts. If you didn’t meet the numbers you were stuck working late doing cold calls to meet them.

A recent story in the Los Angeles Times described this big bank’s nauseating pressure cooker sales culture. Employees were told they’d end up working in fast food restaurants if they couldn’t hack it. They reported engaging in flat out unethical behavior to meet sales quotas.

Too Big To Control?

To meet these quotas, bank employees reported opening duplicate accounts and new credit lines without permission, ordering credit cards that had been pre-approved without the holder’s knowledge and forging signatures to open new accounts. Managers reported falsifying phone numbers of angry customers so they couldn’t be reached for bank satisfaction surveys.

Does this sound like a financial institution that has your best interests at heart? Or does it speak to a corporate culture willing to risk your long-term financial partnership to meet its short-term quarterly goals?

These weren’t localized incidents, they were widespread.

This is the same bank that was recently ordered to pay a $3.2 million judgment in a separate case for foreclosing on the home of a dead man. It ignored the mortgage insurance he purchased from this same bank to pay off the remaining $125,000 balance on his house in the event of his accidental death.

So much for peace of mind. The bank ignored a family forbearance request and said the loan was in default.

Instead, this bank used the proceeds from the deceased’s $133,000 insurance check to pay post-mortem delinquency, late payment, attorney fees and 18 property inspections, leaving his family with about $4,400. All those fees, despite requests of the estate that the bank hold off pending the insurance payout.

This bank’s brand value was recently estimated at $30 billion, making it one of the largest in the world. It serves an estimated one-in-three households in the United States. This is a bank that has a $1.5 trillion balance sheet.

Woods photo

It Matters Who You Choose

Convenience is one factor that should play into your decision when choosing a financial partner. But it’s not the only one.

Our corporate culture isn’t built on selling Truliant member-owners every add-on product we offer. Our top priority is to have a conversation with members about how we can best meet their individual needs. As a not-for-profit financial cooperative, Truliant Federal Credit Union strives to help member-owners build strong financial futures. Our core mission is to improve our members’ quality of life.

It’s at least worth considering that a partner only in it for the short term who accepts the expendability of its employees, knowing they’ll work hard to meet its goals for a while before they burn out, while nickel-and-diming its financial partners, doesn’t necessarily have your best interests at heart.

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The Unsung Hero of Finance

by combsh on March 26, 2014

Free checking is so ordinary that it’s often taken for granted. It’s hard to imagine it even having a genesis.

One blogger – in a more than 4,000-word manifesto on free checking – offers 1982 as the debut date of free checking services. While services tagged “free checking” may have existed before then, a few web sources indicate they were still mostly conditional.

The three-decade-old free checking account as it is known today is an innovation claimed by a Lincoln, Neb.-based direct mail company called ACTON Marketing. So popular was it that a few years later, the federal government got in on regulating what could be called “free” checking.

Free checking for financial institutions is that first handshake. This account is a reward in some ways, because free checking accounts do cost financial institutions money in overhead, such as security costs. Those overhead costs are one reason big banks bulk them up with conditions.

For example, one big bank will charge you $10 a month for a checking account unless you: make 10 debit card purchases/payments a month; have qualifying total direct deposits of $500; have a $1,500 minimum daily balance; or unless you have a campus debit or ATM card.

Checking is highly valued by financial institutions because where you place your main checking account is probably your main financial institution. You’ll do your bill pay or get a loan from there.

Checkbook

While everyday free checking accounts are disappearing from big banks – a much referenced March 3 Bankrate.com survey is generating positive buzz for credit unions as its champion.  

It notes that 72% of credit unions offer “standalone free checking” – meaning an account with no monthly service or point-of-sale transaction fees. In comparison, only about 38% of big banks offer free checking – down from 65% in 2010.

Additionally, according to the Bankrate survey, most credit unions have no monthly service fee and non-sufficient funds fees are about 29% less than what you’ll pay at a big bank.

At Truliant, you can open a basic checking account with no monthly service charge and you can make deposits from your mobile phone or with a scanner. Check out our free checking today.

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Car Buying Made Easy

by Kristina March 13, 2014

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There are a few things in life that truly make me cringe. One is the thought of major dental work, another is sitting through a calculus class, and yet another is shopping at a traditional car dealership.  The cheesy and pushy sales pitches, along with some crazy sticker prices are certainly nightmare worthy.
So what’s an [...]

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The Bait and Catch: Job Scams (Keep Your Guard Up!)

by combsh March 5, 2014

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Even the sharpest minds are susceptible to tricks. That’s job security for guys like Penn and Teller, but it’s why internet scams work. Just as slight of hand fools the eye, built-in emotional vulnerabilities are what web scammers prey on.
The ease by which the web disseminates information ensures we deal with scams every day. And [...]

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Lose Weight Fast

by Kristina January 29, 2014

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If you’re anything like me, you probably ate one too many slices of Aunt Denise’s lemon pound cake during the holidays this year.  I wish I had a bunch of tricks to help you lose that weight fast, but it’s never really that easy. 

What I do have is an idea about losing the heavy burden [...]

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Weather Forecast

by Kristina January 21, 2014

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It’s amazing how much of our days are spent talking about the weather:  “High for tomorrow’s in the single digits!”  “They’re saying snow likely!”  “We better get ready; it’s going to be the coldest here in 20 years!”
I know when I start to hear a weather report that includes phrases like those, I get prepared.  [...]

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New Year – New Plan!

by Heather December 30, 2013

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Are you spending money faster than you can make it?  Especially this time of year? You’re probably buying gifts, giving to charities and causes, contributing to office gatherings, throwing parties – and all this in addition to the regular monthly bills and necessities.
These spending habits made me think about what’s coming next, the New Year [...]

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Resolutions

by Kristina December 26, 2013

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With the first of the year comes all the normal resolutions:  lose weight, eat healthier, exercise, etc. But what about your financial health?

A great way to ensure you’re as financially healthy as possible is with a No Cost Credit Review. You can come by your closest Member Financial Center and a specialist will go over [...]

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Tis the season

by Kristina December 20, 2013

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It may not always feel like it (thanks to some 70+ degree days here in NC), but the holidays are upon us.  With this busy time of year there are a lot of things to celebrate, but one thing is also guaranteed to happen:  crime.
Criminals take advantage of so many people around the holidays because [...]

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‘Charge’ towards the New Year!

by Heather December 11, 2013

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Tis the season… for shopping, giving and, for better or worse, spending. With so many of our transactions being done online, wouldn’t it be nice to know that you can do all of these things conveniently and safely? There are so many financial options available – if your mailbox is like mine, it seems like [...]

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