Answering the Question "Is BB&T a Good Bank?" Part 2

About a year ago, I answered a random Googler who somehow landed on JDA trying to find out if BB&T (based in Winston-Salem, NC and all over the place out here in the Capital Wasteland) is a good bank, actually asking the Internet "Is BB&T a good bank?" At the time, I still lived in San Francisco and was quite happy with the evil bastards at Chase, who to this day have never committed the egregious sin of fucking with my money. Once Chase even rearranged my credits and debits to avoid overdrafting me, how sweet is that? I don't agree with how they post a $2 non-Chase ATM fee as a separate line item (dinging you twice if you overdraft, which I generally don't since I'm somewhat able to add and subtract) but whatever, they need to make their money.

Anyway, when I moved here to the DC metro, I learned there was no Chase within at least 200 miles if not more, and certainly no Chase bank in Maryland. Bummer. So I opened an account with BB&T. They were not quite TBTF and I was attracted to the libertarian ideals of former CEO John Allison. There was a branch just down the street from my house and with ATMs all over the place, no need to worry about ATM fees.

Up until now, I've had no major problems with BB&T. Their ATMs are antiques and while they installed a new, "modern" ATM at my local branch that can take check deposits a few months back, you still have to use an envelope. Unlike Chase, which uses advanced TBTF check-scanning technology to scan the check, credit as much as it wants to your account (the longer I was with them, the more it would be and checks would always clear the following morning), and even print a copy of the check on your receipt. BB&T is in the dark ages but hey, they didn't buy Bear Stearns at a firesale discount either.

Their online banking sucks (it will make you have AOL circa 1995 flashbacks), so I have to watch my balance more carefully than I did at Chase (Jamie Dimon must personally count my money himself or something, debits are posted just seconds after I make them). If I make several transactions in a day through BB&T, I just see a big chunk of money as "pending" and can never really trust my balance as they're slow to actually post transactions. Posted balance and available balance are two different things, and the formula never really makes sense. But that's where being a responsible adult and balancing my own checkbook comes in, can't blame it all on the big evil bank.

As of this morning, however, I'm a dissatisfied (soon to be former) BB&T customer. Let me tell you why.

On Wednesday, I deposited a (large) check at the ATM after the daily cutoff (something like 3pm). I expected BB&T to hold this check (if for no reason than I'm usually fabulously broke and the check was not from my employer, which they are familiar with, so it was an unusual transaction all around) but was delighted the next day when I checked my balance and saw the entirety had been posted to my account. Posted as in there it is, I can see it, I can cash it out and swim around in dirty piles of FRNs if I want, awesome!

Two days later, I deposited a second (not as large but still large by my broke ass standards) check at the ATM, again after the cutoff. $100 was credited to my account as usual and as this was a Friday, I expected them to hold it until at least Tuesday (given that Monday is a holiday) and was totally OK with that. Meanwhile, the big check money was still there, charming me with its pretty zeros. Hello, beautiful, wanna go buy some stuff?

So you can imagine my horror when I texted BB&T for my balance this morning (just for kicks) and saw several thousand dollars VANISHED from my account.

Apparently two days after the check made its way into the ATM, the BB&T teller at my branch who processed it decided to put a hold on the funds that they already credited to me. I would have been fine with an automatic hold but this money went INTO my account and THEN was taken away. Here I've been spending money assuming it is there only to discover on a Saturday that my money (MY MONEY, not theirs) is now being held hostage over the holiday weekend. And that doesn't take into account the additional amount they decided to hold until next week. Just for kicks I guess.

I'm in the process of moving to a new condo, thank God I don't meet with the owners until later next week to pay my security deposit and first month's rent. And here I almost went and picked out my furniture, thinking (mistakenly) that the money my bank told me was there was there. The nerve!

It's funny because looking back, the Bank Tracker comment I reposted last year about BB&T describes my issue perfectly, minus the part about the overdrafts:

I have been a customer with BB&T for over three years now and I must say that I have never been treated as poorly as I have lately by them. I entered a deposit. A deposit cleared the same day as an automatic payment that I set up. The funny thing is that despite the deposit having posted in full to my account, I was told that the check had a hold on it and the payment therefore over drafted my account. Not only did they charge an overdraft fee on that transaction, they charged 9 of them. This bank is a complete rip off. Local banks definitely care about their customers far more than big banks. Give them a try instead of these scamming, conniving thieves.

Thankfully I didn't run out and buy a bunch of big screen TVs yesterday or I'd be in the same situation this morning.

Bank Tracker gives BB&T 2 out of 5 stars and I have to say I agree. I find it hard to believe that a bank actually thinks this is a reasonable way to conduct business.

As for JDA, I'll be conducting my business right the fuck out of BB&T and taking my zeros with me. Fractionally reserve this, assholes. Oh, and I'm filing a complaint with the Maryland Office of the Commissioner of Financial Regulation and my friends at the Federal Reserve. Let's see if they earn the 4% inflation they take out of my ass every year by doing something about this bank.

Oh, and don't miss the fabulously hilarious ATM ad I took a pic of yesterday. Sure about that? This behavior tells me otherwise, BB&T.

Jr Deputy Accountant

Some say he’s half man half fish, others say he’s more of a seventy/thirty split. Either way he’s a fishy bastard.


Joe said...

Until now, the only thing I knew about BB&T was my employer's deferred revenue balance attributable to them. (I don't even know what we do for them, it's not a big account.) Reminds me of situations I've faced with Wells Fargo and Bank of America though.

I primarily use Charles Schwab; I don't know if they still offer it, but about four years ago I took advantage of an offer to open a free "Investor Checking Account" if you simultaneously open a brokerage account. The checking account is interest bearing, was 4% when I opened it but it's like 0.75% now. But both accounts are still free of any kind of maintenance fee, and other banks ATM fees are refunded. Their only branch is in Reno Nevada (you can mail deposits to them,) but I still have my BoA account and direct deposit some change each paycheck to keep it free and use their ATM's if I have a manual deposit to make, but for the majority of my transactions I use my Schwab account and it's grand. You can see your pending transactions, but usually there aren't any because things post immediately.

Also, they don't spam me with "overdraft protection" offers, and they have no overdraft fees. They just reject everything, which is fine because, like you, I can add and subtract (usually.) They do have an overdraft protection option which will take out a loan against your brokerage account to cover a transaction, but I don't have anything in my brokerage account so that's not an option anyway...

So that's my story; bottom line, unless you desperately need the ability to make ATM deposits, I'd recommend seeing if you can open an account with Charles Schwab Bank because they don't seem to be interested in screwing people over but still have TBTF-type benefits.

W.C. Varones said...

BB&T is run by a bunch of libertarian Ayn Rand freaks.

Which means they didn't fuck up in the real estate bubble, and they're not getting bailed out, and they're not Timmy the Tax Cheat's best friends.

But retail banking is unprofitable. So capitalist-minded banks are not going to give you good rates or good service to hold your few thousand dollars.

Scrape together some assets over the next few years and then go to Schwab. You might need $10K to get in there. They give you free checking plus you can use any bank's ATM and they rebate the fee.

Joe said...

Just FYI, it doesn't take $10k, it takes $0... Schwab Bank High Yield Investor Checking Account

Mark S said...

Those pricks!!! May I suggest a nice credit union?

Anonymous said...

Peter Principal exemplified!!

You have to understand that BB&T is a conglomeration of small backward community banks which concentrated on consumer and small business. Their executive ranks are populated with holdovers from these institutions. They are inbreds that never moved on from the community bank structure. They didn't fall prey to the financial crisis because they really never did anything but collect deposits (which they paid below market) and made porfolio mortgage and small business loans (hardly brain surgery).

In terms of personnel, if you didn't start with BB&T, don't expect to be part of their ranks. They dislike bankers from large institutions like JPM, BofA, Citi and others (jealousy - p-envy). In other words, the bank is backwards. The bank is notorious for being a below market player and as such hire from second and third tier universities or correspondent schools!

In terms of middle market and corporate banking, the large banks eat their lunch. BB&T has been relegated to buying pieces of large syndications and getting paid very little. They don't appear on any league tables.

Many of the banks branches are tired and old and are in communities in backwater areas. Roanoke, Leesburg, Harrisonburg VA. Wilson, Greenville, Roanoke Rapids and Wilksboro, NC. Hardly high growth or affluent markets. In the larger markets, share is greatly diminished by the big boys on the consumer and small.commercial banking side.

BB&T will never be more than a second tier bank. Analogous to the movie "deliverance".

~Satan~ said...

Once again this loser bank can't keep their on-line services up. This is the second time in a couple of months. No notice that there is a problem, just basically a 404 error. That's it for me I will be closing my account. BB&T Sucks!