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Old 03-16-2010, 11:00 AM
31 posts, read 141,171 times
Reputation: 36


I want to switch to a local bank for a FREE checking and savings account that comes with a Visa or MC check card.

Ideally, they would have ebills as part of their online banking options and would have the option (and not charge extra) to download transactions from online banking into Microsoft Money.

Deposits at ATMs are a plus. Availability of branches/ATMs etc factors in, but quality of customer service is more important.

Can anyone please help me with this decision? What local banks do you use and what have your experiences with them been?

I've been considering Coastal Federal Credit Union, BB&T, and First Citizens.

I went to the Brier Creek branches of both BB&T and First Citizens and was not impressed - perhaps it was because it was a Saturday?

BB&T seemed like a much more professional place, but the representative who was helping me told me they only had a regular debit card, not a Visa check card which I later found out to be false (at least according to their website), making me question the competency of the staff...

First Citizens branch seemed really rinky dink in comparison. The staff there were dressed sloppily and were very unknowledgable. They had to call the phone customer service for help with something, and then told me that the rep on the phone "didn't know what she was talking about". They didn't even have any real brochures about their different accounts or the fees involved, instead providing me with xeroxed papers stapled together (wtf?)

2 friends recommended Coastal Federal Credit Union to me, but then I read tons of negative reviews about them online at insiderpages.com... I'm also considered about their limited number of branches and the concept of some of them not having actual tellers but people who interact with you over the internet (is this accurate??) and read stories of checks getting stuck in the ATM machines..

So, what do to? Which to trust? Who to bank with?

Much thanks in advance for any help anyone can provide!

Old 03-16-2010, 11:03 AM
Location: Cary, NC
8,264 posts, read 21,813,705 times
Reputation: 5509
I can't stand Coastal. I used the one in Cary, so I don't know about how the other branches are run, but the one I used in Cary was so totally incompetent. Every time I went there they screwed something up (screwed something up on my debit card, asked me to leave it with them overnight, then they lost my debit card, then they found it but locked it up in a drawer in someone's office who went on vacation and didn't leave anyone a key). I finally just told them to keep the *%#! card and closed my accounts there. I was lucky enough to be able to use the State Employees Credit Union and have ever since. We tried to give Coastal another shot with a refi, but they screwed that up as well. Never going back there again.

Last edited by lamishra; 03-16-2010 at 11:57 AM.. Reason: added more information
Old 03-16-2010, 11:16 AM
6,185 posts, read 13,848,402 times
Reputation: 4456
I love Coastal. I go to the St. Albans office in Raleigh, and I use their video tellers who are in a nearby room; maybe that's what your friends are talking about. In front of the video tellers is a desk with several very helpful people.

I just closed my State Employees Credit Union account; even closing it, they made a mistake and said I couldn't close it because I had outstanding loan balances -- I had NO loans with them. They realized their mistake and let me close it.

I wouldn't ever do business again with a non-credit-union bank. Not ever. Especially BB&T; they were a pain with differing policies among their branches. I also hated standing in their long lines.

When you have the option of going with a credit union, why do business with the non-credit-union banks that will ALWAYS charge more for everything?
Old 03-16-2010, 11:22 AM
83 posts, read 166,901 times
Reputation: 58
I have always been a credit union person. I have used Coastal since 2003 and haven't had any problems. I go to their Falls of Neuse location more than any other. I actually don't go to any location very much because there hasn't been a need. I have not used a video teller and have never had anything get stuck in one of their ATM machines.
Old 03-16-2010, 11:22 AM
Location: NC
776 posts, read 1,493,329 times
Reputation: 327
I've been with Coastal for about 5 months. They've already reported that my personal information (mainly debit card info) may have been compromised and they had to order me a new card. Not a good start. They also assign you a PIN number for your debit card...you can't make your own PIN...and I can never remember it. I dunno...I'm not very pleased with them.

Prior to that, I was with First Citizens for about 5 years and never had a problem with our cards, accounts, or visits to the branch. I don't even know why we switched to CFCU.
Old 03-16-2010, 11:27 AM
Location: Oxxford Hunt, Cary NC
4,188 posts, read 9,814,976 times
Reputation: 3821
I refinanced my mortgage with Coastal, and wasn't overly impressed. The rate and costs were good, but they seemed really disorganized. I started to doubt I'd close before my 60-day rate lock expired!

Oh, and call me old-fashioned, but I do not like the video tellers AT ALL. If I need to go inside the bank for a transaction, I want to talk to a live person.

I have all my bills going to my Wachovia online bill pay and I don't see changing any time soon. I've actually been pretty happy with them over the years, and they aren't that bad for a "giant monster mega-bank." I also use some online banks for savings - i.e. ING Direct or eLoan.
Old 03-16-2010, 11:34 AM
Location: Raleigh, NC
868 posts, read 2,109,619 times
Reputation: 433
I really can't stand many things about coastal other than it being cheap, I hate the video tellers as well. I got my mortgage through them and it was a great deal however when I wanted to refi I called and left 2 messages, and emailed them 2x, and never once heard back. Now my mortgage is with BB&T. I do have my car loan from them though, since you can't beat the rates, but the customer service and stuff sucks. They even sent my wrong loan package for the house the first time, and delayed my closing.

I used Wachovia as my personal bank for 20+ years, but switched about 3 years ago to BB&T, I really enjoy BB&T but I never had any complaints for Wachovia (although a lot do not like them). I will say that I still use Wachovia for billpay as they have one of the best systems out there than can even download your actual bill for you every month and have it in your account to see.

I have no complaints about BB&T though, and they always go above and beyond for me. My fiance is actually an Relationship Banker with BB&T now, if you have any questions about accounts there I can put you in touch with her if you want to DM me.
Old 03-16-2010, 11:48 AM
6,185 posts, read 13,848,402 times
Reputation: 4456
I don't need to be best buddies with my bank tellers, so video tellers are fine with me.

I would rather do business with a bank with video tellers than a bank with live tellers that is much more vulnerable to bank robberies; there have been a few robberies in North Raleigh in recent months.
Old 03-16-2010, 11:58 AM
3,079 posts, read 4,993,663 times
Reputation: 5306
I don't really know any of the three specific institutions particularly well however I work in the banking industry and am heavily biased in the direction of Credit Unions. By and large they are more customer/member focused and likely to provide a level of customer care mid and large sized banks could never match. I see things from the inside out as I work closely with all levels of management and can tell you there's a very big difference in how each type of institution is run.

As for the teller-less branches it's a relatively new concept that's struggling to gain acceptance but rest assured, there are real people behind the walls handling your transaction. It's at least as secure as a traditional setup and in some instances actually speeds things us (one of the key benefits according to the industry is that it allows quicker queue processing).
Old 03-16-2010, 11:59 AM
8 posts, read 13,136 times
Reputation: 12
Coastal is the best
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