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I finally told Commonwealth One to take a hike…

November 18, 2003, 11:08 AM

And boy, did they have it coming, too. But as of 11:00 AM today, Commonwealth One Federal Credit Union is no longer my bank. And just as well, too. I was never too fond of their service, as the employees seemed to act as though they were better than everyone else. And let’s talk about availability. Two branches – one on campus, and one in Cloverleaf Shopping Center in Harrisonburg. ATMs available at both branches, plus Godwin Hall and the Festival. (Yes, I realize they have DC area locations, but I don’t live up there).

But the straw that broke the camel’s back in their case was their new checking accounts. Previously, we had FREE CHECKING. All you had to do was keep $5 in a savings account, and you had full access to the tellers and call centers and such.

Now, they have “Relationship Checking”, which charges a $5 monthly service fee for a daily balance lower than $500, or a $2,500 average monthly balance. Additionally, you must have direct deposit, and the fee applies if any of the three criteria ($500 daily balance, $2,500 average monthly balance, and direct deposit) are not met. All existing accounts were put on this plan (how convenient for them).

They also have “Anytime Checking”, which I would describe as “Get Out Of My Office Checking”. In Anytime Checking, you are expected to do ALL your transactions with the ATM or online. You also get four free “foreign ATM” transactions per month, which waives Commonwealth One’s own fee for it (but the ATM’s owner still charges their own fee). While there’s no monthly service charge, it’s $3-a-shot for use of the teller. I personally am not comfortable with feeding deposits to an ATM.

So what made me switch? Well… the only reason I stayed with Commonwealth One, despite their less-than-stellar service and poor availability of locations, was because of the free checking and free savings. Now that they’re charging, they’ve lost their “hook” with me. Additionally, they never bothered to contact me with such information about the changes to the accounts that could cost me money (I ended up finding out in the newspaper). Now they’re no different than anyone else, and as such, why bother staying? I can find a real bank, with more branches, more ATMs, and friendlier tellers.

Web site: Their checking accounts page...

Song: "Five O'Clock World" by The Vogues

Quote: "So I told them to take a long walk off a short pier, though in a much nicer way."

Categories: Companies