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In Response To:
Thread Starter: A Diff Anon
Title: Re: New Account - Suspicious!

A different anon says:

This may be a bit off-topic but I want to mention that I see a lot of suspicion here about online accounts at brick and mortar banks, and I wonder if some of it could be a little overzealous or unfounded. As a banker, I can agree that a great many online applications are made with fraudulent intent (maybe 70%, has been my experience, at a b&m bank). But I don't think that the very first reaction to someone banking across the country from where they live should be that they are probably a criminal or fraudster, etc.

I personally have accounts as follows. I make an in-person appearance at a branch probably once every 2 or 3 years, if that; at most places where I bank, they've never seen me and never will. With modern options like online banking, debit cards, credit cards, online bill pay, and even online loan apps should you need a loan, there's just no reason for me to need to go inside a branch and wait in line to chat with a banker who may or may not be the right person for what I need. My accounts look something like:

1. Local Bank A: A savings account where I work, seldom touched.
2. Nearby Bank B: Still have a checking account at a bank in a city 30 minutes away, because I opened it back when I worked in that city and it has always been a convenient bank. Keep a few bucks in there in case of emergencies, can get cash locally, quickly.
3. Local Bank C: Two checking accounts at a nearby institution that has the lowest fees of any in the area; one checking is for bills, and the other one is my spouse's day-to-day account. Also have several savings accounts there earmarked for specific savings goals (college, etc.).
4. Big IRA Investment Company D Retirement account at an institution located 1,000 miles away, maintained there due to best service, lowest fees, etc.
5. Big IRA Investment Company E Another retirement account from years prior, at an institution located on the other side of the country, maintained there because it's easier than moving it and they would charge a big fee for transferring it elsewhere.
6. Big IRA Investment Company F Another retirement account from years prior, at an institution located on the other side of the country, maintained there because they charge huge fees for closing or transferring balance.
7. Big Investment Company G Company 401(k) handled by yet another institution, also 1,000 miles away.
8. Megabank G. Three older certificates of deposits at yet another institution on the other side of the country, opened online because they had the best rates at that time.
9. Megabank H. Primary credit card, due to low rate with high rewards.
10. Megabank I. Backup credit card.
11. Regional Bank J Additional credit card at a smaller bank 750 miles away, chosen due to lowest APR in the country.

I have never appeared in person at institutions #3 through 11, having had no or desire need to do so. In the past I've also had a primary checking and savings at a bank located in another region of the world (with branches in the US), because they were offering crazy high rewards for basic checking.

Basically I've tried to maximize all possible rewards/benefits by getting the lowest APR, the highest APY and the most lucrative rewards options everywhere I bank. I couldn't care less if my bank is located in New York City or Miami or 7 minutes from my home.

The only downside to this approach is it is a little complicated for estate planning. I hate to think that if something happened to me, my spouse would have to try to figure out how to handle all this banking at so many different places, jumping through all the identity verification hoops and figuring out what to do next with each account. So for estate planning purposes I've been simplifying for the past year or so, reducing my total bank count from 16 to 11, and I plan to get it down to about 5 as soon as I can. Am seriously considering switching it all to be local options only, to make it as easy as possible for my spouse to take over one day.

Anyway my point is that smart shoppers, frugal people, people interested in maximizing their efficiency and profit, will often bank and numerous banks, regardless of where they are located, in order to maximize their own rewards and convenience.