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Community West Bank (CA) RCA - 25K Cap Down To 15K Eff Jan 2011

Sunday, January 2, 2011 - 3:00 AMCommunity West Bank - Details
Community West Bank's GREAT customer service is demonstrated by getting a personal phone call from the bank notifying that the RCA cap would be lowered to 15k from 25k, so it wouldn't come as a shock.  BUT the rate would maintain (for now) at 3.04%. Even though it was short notice, I give them HIGH marks for personally contacting RCA clients.

Since they allow multiple RCA accounts on request (couldn't be easier), I was able to add another RCA and still get the higher rate for the money that would exceed the cap and not qualify for that rate effective Jan. Qualifications per account are 10 debits (credit or debit) and 1 ACH (in or out), so it seems manageable.

I'm hugely impressed with the CSR (at the Westlake branch anyway - don't know if the other branches are as terrific) for trying so hard to help their clients figure out how to work with this volatile banking environment.
6
ekatekat75 posts since
Jan 22, 2010
Rep Points: 246
1. Sunday, January 2, 2011 - 9:56 AM
I've had and have a number of different RCAs over the past years... I've never had a phone call re an account change, and just the opposite, especially lately, had a number of banks cut their rates on my accounts with absolutely no direct communication to me as an account holder at all.... just suddenly the rates posted on their web site change... But no email...no bank message.... not even a printed item as part of the monthly statement. That's a really bad way of doing business. I'm surprised it isn't somehow against FDIC rules.
1
thaiguyinlathaiguyinla14 posts since
Dec 27, 2010
Rep Points: 33
2. Sunday, January 2, 2011 - 9:56 AM
That is indeed noteworthy customer service.  It's good that there are still smaller community institutions that remember what it looks like and are willing to continue to provide it. 
1
pearlbrownpearlbrown1,430 posts since
Nov 2, 2010
Rep Points: 6,246
3. Sunday, January 2, 2011 - 10:09 AM
@thaiquyinla(#1) IIRC, somewhere in disclosures one has to read and approve in connection with establishing online banking capabilities, many banks include a clause that changes to the website are considered notice to the customer.  I prefer to believe that most banks will do more than that, but IMO those which do this bare minimum and consider it sufficient are giving their customers a clear signal of how much they value their business.      Depending on the circumstances I would not necessarily close my accounts there, but I would keep that simple action in the back of my mind in future dealings with them. 
1
pearlbrownpearlbrown1,430 posts since
Nov 2, 2010
Rep Points: 6,246
4. Sunday, January 2, 2011 - 10:54 AM
Pearl, I understand your comment. But as I'm sure you and everyone else here can easily recall, all the banks had absolutely no problem communicating directly with their customers, repeatedly and in multiple forms, when the recent change in federal law required them to gain customer consent in order to continue having account overdraft charges. The banks called it "protection," but of course what it really was was permission for the bank to keep charging customers steep overdraft fees.

I've never gotten so many letters, emails and bank messages from my roster of banks in my entire life as during that episode last year, when the federal deadline came due. They clearly are capable of communicating quite effectively, when they choose to do so... Rate cuts, obviously, don't fit into that category for most banks.

I will say, I've noticed that HSBC USA has been an exception to that for a big bank. Every time they've lowered the rates on their Online Savings account during the past couple years, I've gotten an email (mass, of course) from an HSBC exec advising that the rates on my account were being "adjusted" or "revised" in accord with market conditions...and always giving the new rate.... but never mentioning the old, higher one. That's at least better than what most of the other RCA banks have been doing.
1
thaiguyinlathaiguyinla14 posts since
Dec 27, 2010
Rep Points: 33
5. Sunday, January 2, 2011 - 11:43 AM
ThaiquyinLA#4  You are absolutely right. 

Communication required due to regulatory mandates is overdone to prove compliance (requiring one to opt in or out as the case may be, bombarding one with multiple messages via multiple media, etc) and bad news for customers (rate/cap/number of transaction changes) is tucked away in fine print or a footnote or in a part of the website that most customers would not regularly visit.  

And as you also point out, institutions will also spin changes to their advantage - "protection" as a euphemism for permission to keep charging steep overdraft fees.  Changing the debit transaction requirements on RCAs is another instance.  One institution (wish I could cite which) recently changed the requirements from 10 transactions to a minimum of 6 with a $20 minimum each to "make it easier".  Really?  Easier?  For whom - other than the bank?

 
1
pearlbrownpearlbrown1,430 posts since
Nov 2, 2010
Rep Points: 6,246
6. Sunday, January 2, 2011 - 4:00 PM
I found out about my other banks' RCA changes from BG/DA before I either got a delayed email notice, or as mentioned, no notice at all and had to go to the website to confirm. My reaction is same as pearlbrown's is - pull a lot of the money while reassessing. 

After their rate drop to 2.09, Bank of the Sierra (coincidently or not) initiated ACH external transfer service in response to client requests (who likely had the same reaction). It's a little clunky to set up, but at least - rather than delay the service - they found a temporary way to do it, and thereafter it works great - my request via Bank Mail before 3p PT arrived at my other bank the next day.  Faster than ING's 2-day.

So I was HAPPILY SHOCKED when CWB's accounts officer called (same one I met to open the accounts originally) and notified me of their changes. Even though she was busy trying to get through calling the list of clients before year's end, she took the time to go over options with me, so I could immediately initiate a viable alternative, which she handled right after hanging up with me.

She gets CWB my award for Best RCA!

(Plus, since they require a bank visit to open the first account, I got temporary checks, too, which I can get on any additional RCA, as long as I arrange to pick them up.  Since additional accounts can be set up by phone, they'll shred them if you don't notify them you'll pick them up.  They don't do external ACH transfers, so having the temp checks is a good back up to move money out w/o springing for regular checks.  After I found out check ordering appears on ChexSystems, I don't order them unless absolutely necessary, thereby saving a few more dollars, too.)
1
ekatekat75 posts since
Jan 22, 2010
Rep Points: 246
7. Sunday, January 2, 2011 - 5:17 PM
Ekat#6   Indeed, depositaccounts community is a great forum for staying informed on the latest and greatest deals, thanks to Ken and all active contributors.  

I may not have explained my position well in my post #3.  I do not necessarily pull money out while reassessing (after all if the rates are good, then I am just cutting off my nose to spite my face as they say).  However, once I see that an institution acts on an issue in a way that meets the letter of the law but not the spirit, from then on I am careful to triple-check and cross-check information in my further dealings with them.  Diligently printing records of online chats with CSRs (if the capability is available) is useful in documenting information. 

On a more pleasant note, like you, I make a point of declining an order of checks, and ask if there is a small starter kit with a few temp checks available for free, explaining I prefer to do business online.   Invariably the answer is yes, and the small number of checks serves my purpose nicely at a great price  ;)

 
1
pearlbrownpearlbrown1,430 posts since
Nov 2, 2010
Rep Points: 6,246
8. Sunday, January 2, 2011 - 6:51 PM
Thanks pearlbrown.  I should've better stated that I'm also just keeping in mind how a business conducts itself towards its customers, which eventually weighs into decisions in dealing with them.  In this case, it meant taking money from there v. elsewhere and sooner v. later, but into another situation which served that sum no less (nose still in tact).  All the while continuing to assess the extent of my banking with them.  

On the flip side, I'll often stay (as long as possible) with a business or bank that treats its customers well, even if I can get a (slightly) better "deal" elsewhere. It's worth it - especially not to waste so much time and energy having to scrutinize doubly/triply closely those that have raised doubts (in which case, they'd better be offering super returns.)

I'll likely hold onto inferior accounts in a more minimal way, just in case their situation changes and makes them competitive again.
1
ekatekat75 posts since
Jan 22, 2010
Rep Points: 246
9. Sunday, January 2, 2011 - 7:49 PM
Ekat#8 you said it well, it's not always about the dollars.  How a business treats a customer carries weight with me.  I prefer to be honest and above board in my dealings and appreciate being treated with the same respect.  If a business does not readily disclose all relevant information or engages in double-speak or is elusive with answers, I walk away.  Like you, I have been known to leave a little (but not too much!) money on the table, so to speak, for the sake of building what I think will be a long-term relationship with an institution. 

For example, when I moved to a small town several years ago, I negotiated with a local branch manager on CD rates which approximated what I would earn at online institutions.   I simply showed the person the screen prints of what other institutions were offering and asked how we could work together.  I also added that I had additional funds maturing soon and I would be willing to consider them first for those funds as well depending on how things went.  There were no extraordinarily large sums in play.  The branch manager did have to get approval from another individual, but eventually came up with a number I was comfortable with.  I calculated the difference to my bottom line in my head, smiled and stated I was happy to support the home team with $(the difference).   The bank was happy to have new business and additional funds and I was happy with my deal.  Good karma all around....

Over time, as rates deteriorated, they had less and less flexibility, and branch managers changed, etc. so I moved the funds to other institutions as they matured.  However, even today I still maintain a small balance with the bank and see no reason to sever the relationship totally.  If the situation changes and they become competitive again, I'll have longevity with them on my side.  Until that day, they continue to be  pleasant to work with, a safe deposit box is easily accessible and they notarize documents for me as needed. 

 
1
pearlbrownpearlbrown1,430 posts since
Nov 2, 2010
Rep Points: 6,246
10. Sunday, January 2, 2011 - 9:01 PM
Pearl wrote: "One institution (wish I could cite which) recently changed the requirements from 10 transactions to a minimum of 6 with a $20 minimum each to "make it easier".  Really?  Easier?  For whom - other than the bank?"

Pearl, no reason why you can't mention the bank. It was Randolph Bank, of course. They absolutely made it easier, and then turned around and made it easier for me to pull my funds from that bank when they, the very next month (Jan 2011) cut their RCA account interest rate from 4.75% to 2.5%...

It's hard for me to be too angry with Randolph, since they for most of last year had one of the best RCA accounts going, and included an interest rate guarantee through the end of 2010. However, they obviously felt they had to make up for a lot of lost ground (and money) from 2010 at the start of 2011, hence their DRASTIC rate cut.

Unfortunately, Randolph turns out to be one of those banks that has handled communication of their rate cut miserably...or more accurately...not handled it at all...since of earlier this week, I don't believe their account holders have yet to receive any bank email, online banking message or even statement notice of the rate change. The bank did, though, change the rate info on their web site at the beginning of the month. Bad handling all in all.
3
thaiguyinlathaiguyinla14 posts since
Dec 27, 2010
Rep Points: 33
11. Friday, January 21, 2011 - 6:52 PM
I have an RCA at Community West Bank and I didn't get a phone call from them or any other notification about the decreased cap.  I didn't notice the decreased cap until two weeks into January I saw an ad in a newspaper with the new terms.  Their website still shows the old cap in the fine print (though another place on the website says the new cap).  I sent an email to them asking some questions about the cap change, and they never responded.  Also, for their Lasting Impressions Money Market account, their website doesn't show the current rate or any other info, so you have to call (during business hours) or go to a branch to find out the rate.  Overall I'm not very impressed with them, but I don't think there's any other banks in my area that have RCAs.
1
sgsgsgsgsgsg3 posts since
Jan 21, 2011
Rep Points: 5
12. Saturday, January 22, 2011 - 12:54 PM
I deal with the Westlake Branch.  My praise is directed towards their New Accounts Rep Brooke Johnson.  The VP/Branch Manager Kym Roncoroni really impressived as well. Everyone there has been pleasant and helpful, which is likely a credit to Kym's management.

I only learned of their 1.25% Money Market, when I stopped at the branch. Brooke pointed out the leaflets on it, so clearly she's just exceptional at her job - notifying her clients of major changes, plus when there's an opportunity, noting options.  Seems I got lucky with whom in particular I got to deal. Apparently the key is finding a good rep you like (since I haven't found other local RCAs either).

Unfortunately, Westlake has no control over the online site, so they refer to the Goleta branch.  By contrast, minimal help there - cordial, but VERY limited on tech expertise, even though they're the resource. The online banking is functional, but can be annoyingly clunky (eg,  kicks out if you try to back up a screen). They've been notified of such problems (someone else posted as well), but they haven't fixed them.  It's no wonder the website info is inconsistent.  Guess whoever's supposed to fix online problems is also supposed to respond to emails. Wouldn't surprise me if "sqsqsq" was working with Goleta. 

Overall, Community West seems more comfortable focusing on its "community" style of traditional in-person service, thus overlooking its electronic services.



 

 









































 
1
ekatekat75 posts since
Jan 22, 2010
Rep Points: 246
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