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Banks

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Jul. 26th, 2008 | 11:43 am

My girlfriend and I have reached the point where we should have some mingled finances. But I keep getting stuck on picking a bank to use. I have accounts at Wells Fargo, HSBC, and the credit union at my work. She has an account at Washington Mutual.

WaMu's stock price last 90% of its value over the past 9 months as it appears that of nationwide banks they were the third most invested in the subprime mortgages. The market analysts I've ssen suggest they're at risk, but still could recover.

Wells Fargo's stock price appears to be down about 15% over the past year, the people on google finance consider them to be one of the most conservatively run banks.

And for us Wells Fargo might be the most convenient, they have a branch relatively close. Also, of all the banks I've used they're website reports data the fastest. I've seen (pending) transactions from my debit card show up the same day.

HSBC's stock price is down ~21%, the US branch did try to get into the sub-prime mortgages, but they were both late to the show, and after things went south in the sub-prime market, their London High Street masters did some cleaning up of HSBC US management.

HSBC is really really slow at resolving transfers, taking a couple of days for even something as simple as checking account to credit card.

HSBC's strength is because they're a large multinational bank, their total assets are about 2.3 trillion and 20% profit margin vs Wells Fargo's $600 billion and 15% profit margin. (Washington Mutual's current net profit margin is -115%)

So does anyone have any thoughts about what a good bank is these days?

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Comments {12}

John Tkalcich

(no subject)

from: jmtkalcich
date: Jul. 26th, 2008 08:37 pm (UTC)
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I had an account in the past with both HSBC and WellsFargo. (Though for me HSBC was my UK bank account)

HSBC was by far the best bank I ever dealt with as far as customer service goes, which was what I want at the end of the day.

WellsFargo I hated every day I did business with them something went wrong.

My favorite is Compass in the US, but tragically they don't have branches in California making them a non-choice for you. Compass always takes care of me instantaneously, and I sometimes see transactions show up on my iphone when I am cheking my balance before my waiter comes back with my credit card. (This really did happen to me once at PF Changs)

Anyway, good luck to me, finding a good bank is a bit like playing the lottery.

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Diane Trout

(no subject)

from: alienghic
date: Jul. 26th, 2008 08:51 pm (UTC)
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My rough impression is that Wells Fargo hates people. So they make their computer systems easy to use and quite efficient so they never have to talk you.

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It's French... bitch.

(no subject)

from: vengeant
date: Jul. 26th, 2008 10:03 pm (UTC)
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Well, what's your definition of a "good" bank? The first thing you mention about these banks is their stock price; is this the first thing you look at when you're considering a bank? Is Stock price the major factor determining a good bank?

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Diane Trout

(no subject)

from: alienghic
date: Jul. 27th, 2008 02:01 am (UTC)
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Stock Price is vaguely related to their financial health, and the first thing you want in a Bank is to know that you can get your money back out.

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Lauren

(no subject)

from: hardrockgrrl
date: Jul. 27th, 2008 06:05 am (UTC)
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Given that there were long lines of people queuing up outside IndyMac right here in Pasadena, worried that they might never see their money again after the FDIC takeover, I think the overall financial health of the bank is a reasonable concern at the moment.

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It's French... bitch.

(no subject)

from: vengeant
date: Jul. 27th, 2008 06:43 am (UTC)
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But if the bank is FDIC insured, doesn't that mean that your money is guaranteed, that if the bank fails, you'll get all your money back, courtesy of the government? (Well, everything up to 500,000 dollars, iirc)

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Anna

(no subject)

from: liebewanze
date: Jul. 27th, 2008 03:17 pm (UTC)
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Only $100,000 is insured by the FDIC and even then, after watching what happened to Indymac (people were refusing to honor checks, etc.) I agree with Diane that it's prudent to watch the financial state of your bank nowadays. Credit Unions might be the way to go as they weren't really involved in the sub-prime mess.

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Dilinger

There are always loop holes for the rich

from: dilinger
date: Jul. 28th, 2008 08:43 pm (UTC)
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It's actually per account/person.

So You, your other,
Your joint you and other, 300k

Plus your kids.
100k each.

Plus your joint You and your kids account


I'm not sure where the 500k came from but I'm sure you can open a joint account in your pets name.

Go figure.

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Susan

(no subject)

from: aylara
date: Jul. 27th, 2008 11:32 pm (UTC)
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In a recent article I read (I think it was from a recent Newsweek), the FDIC doesn't actually have all that much money, and the general impression is that it's teetering. IndyMac depleted their funds by a bunch, so that's why things seem kind of unsteady at the moment.

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Diane Trout

(no subject)

from: alienghic
date: Jul. 29th, 2008 05:56 pm (UTC)
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It's only insured to $100k per something. There may be allowable tricks to spread the money around so you can insure more than $100k.

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It's French... bitch.

(no subject)

from: vengeant
date: Jul. 30th, 2008 08:30 pm (UTC)
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....Wow, were you actually planning on having more than $100k in your shared bank account?

One easy trick is diversification: have your money spread around in different accounts at different banks, so that no account hits the $100k mark.

Of course, since you're dealing with amounts greater than $100k, perhaps you should just move it all to an offshore account. Saves on taxes. Richie McRichPants! :-p

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Kdigga/Ace/G-Man/DoomHammer

Banks

from: kdiggarl9
date: Jul. 30th, 2008 09:33 pm (UTC)
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I would say FARGO/HSBC/Citizens/CHASE/ING it depends on where you are BOA/CITI/WACHOVIA/WAMU/The rest of them are not as conservative or strong on risk management. I am anti big corp but in the case of banks I trust the huge global players over the nationals. Citizens is Owened by RBS.

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