We’ve finally taken the plunge and sold our house and will be moving to another province. There are a lot of changes in store and details to think about, but luckily I’m a list maker and I have every eventuality covered.
One issue I’ve been contemplating is whether to make a clean break with my bank.
I’ve been a long, long time customer
I have been with the TD Bank since I started working for them in 1978. At first I needed a chequing account for my pay deposit. Then, it was a matter of ease and convenience to open savings accounts, get a car loan or two, a HELOC, VISA, mutual funds, and trading accounts. Also, with the employee perks of no service charges, waiver of fees, and better interest rates, it just made more sense.
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Since leaving the bank I no longer enjoy these perks, but I still have almost all of my banking with them. You could say I’m tied – or is it handcuffed? – to my bank even though I sometimes complain about certain issues.
Who wants to switch banks?
According to Scotiabank (as reported in the Globe and Mail), five years ago about 15% of Canadians were prepared to switch banks. Now that figure is around 5%.
“As a general rule Canadians are happy with the service they are getting from their financial institution… Something pretty harsh has to happen to …make them want to switch.”
Even high banking fees aren’t always a deterrent. When TD raised the minimum monthly balance from $1,000 to $1,500 on my chequing account, I complained big time, but then I just increased my deposit.
More than the level of fees and the ease of opening accounts, customers now want a good platform and the convenience of online and mobile banking.
Personally, I do the majority of my financial transactions online. Everything is right there on one page and I can easily transfer money around, pay my bills with the linked E-post page, make trades, etc. I like that.
We also have a PC Financial account for everyday banking that mostly my husband uses, but it’s become a bother to sign in to that site to see what he’s been up to (yes, I know that’s pure laziness).
Related: 3 Free Chequing Accounts Compared
It’s harder to lure customers away
According to the Globe and Mail, personal and business banking is extremely profitable, generating $16 Billion in earnings for the big six banks in 2013.
Is it no wonder that banks want to keep their customers loyal? They do that, in part, with cross selling. The more products and services you have with a certain institution, the less likely you will want to leave. They attempt to provide the right mix of convenience, value and service.
This makes is increasingly difficult to lure customers away.
Other initiatives are being used such as targeting students, new immigrants and first time home buyers, plus loyalty/rewards partnerships. In one rare visit to my branch I noticed they were giving away free iPads for new account openings.
Final thoughts on bank loyalty
Now that we’re making some huge changes in our lives will I take the big step of switching my banking?
I know I can get no-fee banking with no minimum monthly balance, higher interest rates on savings products, and lower trading fees in various other financial institutions.
But then I’ll have to learn a whole new system. Am I ready for that?