FBN's Gerri Willis Does a Jig and Answers the Question, 'Should I Stay or Should I Go?'
Today's cuppa: PG Tips tea
At the end of September, Fox Business Network anchor Gerri Willis responded to Bank of America's announcement that it would be adding a $5 for debit-card users by cutting up her own card on air. Click here for a story and video on that.
But the host of the daily "The Willis Report" also said that she would dance a jig if BofA reversed course, and with the banking giant's announcement that -- pressured by angry customers -- it had changed its mind on the fee, Willis did just that yesterday. Click here to have a look.
Willis also took a few minutes to answer some questions from HCTV on what bank customers should be thinking about the eternal question posed by the Clash, "Should I stay or should I go?"
(questions in bold)
Q: Bank of America has pulled back on charging the $5 debit-card fee, apparently under pressure from customers and other banks that decided to pass on such a fee. Do you think BofA can recover from the PR hit?
A: It's a huge PR hit - and now consumer advocates will be watching relentlessly for any other fee hikes from the company. This bank needs to connect with its customers in a personal way, instead of coming off as a faceless monolith more concerned about profits than customer relationships.
Q: Something like the threat of a fee can make people consider changing banks. What should people know - and what homework should they do - before deciding to switch?
A: First off, you need to understand that switching banks takes on average three months to do. So, don't make the decision lightly. Top items to check out: the size of the ATM network - this is especially critical for travelers; checking account fees, online offerings (i.e. can you bank online, pay bills online, etc.)
Q: Are there any banks about which you have concerns?
A: Right now, Citibank has been making a lot of noise about the fact that they never even tested a debit card fee, but they have raised fees on their checking accounts. Starting in December, customers who hold mid-level accounts will be charged $20 a month if they fail to maintain a minimum balance of $15,000 in their combined accounts. Previously, account holders had to carry a minimum balance of $6,000.
Q: What good alternatives exist to traditional banks if people wish to go that way?
A: The good news is that in almost every part of the country there are options. Check out local small and regional banks. Credit unions are another good idea - they can often offer lower rates and better terms than banks.Q: That wasn't much of a jig. What financial event would make you happy enough to do a full-on dance?
A: What?!? I thought that was FANTASTIC!!