I hate my big bank, but I'm sticking with it. Here's why.
I hate Chase Bank.
I hate its high fees. I hate the terrible customer service at my branch. I hate that when I shopped for a mortgage in 2008, Chase wouldn't even speak with me.
But I have yet to close my checking or emergency savings accounts and move my money.
Because Chase offers a lot of convenience and superb Web banking capabilities that smaller institutions simply can't beat.
I've been hit with service charges, a $3 "check image fee" that mysteriously appeared and then just as mysteriously disappeared, and those annoying $2 fees every time I use a non-Chase ATM.
I even have to pay for my own checks.
I'm sure more fees are around the bend, and God forbid I need to go inside and speak to a human.
There's usually a long line, and the tellers have bad fast-food-restaurant attitudes.
Yet these hassles are the price I pay for premium services.
I love the fact that I can be in the middle of nowhere, whip out my smartphone and transfer another $500 from my savings account to my checking account.
I can also pay a person using my phone or computer by Chase Quick Pay. My Chase mobile app lets me view transactions and balances and check my accounts on the go.
And I get cash-back offers of up to 5% when I buy at select retailers or shop online with my Chase debit card.
I can also go just about anywhere in the nation, walk into a Chase bank and walk out with all my money in cash.
Not that I'd ever do such a thing. But I can if I want to.
I live in New Orleans, and when my city evacuated for Hurricane Katrina in 2005, I saw many people struggle to get the money they needed from their local banks and credit unions.
Their options were limited to pulling a few hundred bucks out of an ATM every day because they simply could not access a branch.
I didn't have that problem.
My bank is always close, which is good considering that, because of the nature of my business, I sometimes need to make up to three check deposits a week.
I can't wait to mail checks away to an online bank or fight traffic and drive across town to a small bank.
My local Chase branch is less than 2 miles away. Big banks are everywhere, you know.
And yes, I've looked around for alternatives. But few credit unions or small banks can offer what I need.
At the small institution where my mortgage is held, the associates are friendly and there aren't any fees.
But its website looks like it's from 2001 and doesn't offer half of the capabilities I get with Chase.
Transferring funds is a pain, there's no archive of statements and it looks like it's at least a decade away from having a phone app.
For me, the benefits of banking with Chase outweigh the negatives.
So, until the fees start to surpass those benefits, or until small banks start to boost their websites, I'll hold my nose and stick with my big bank.