With recent increases in interest rates, I decided to open several different high-yield savings accounts with smaller, lesser-known banks. All fdic insured. Salem Five Direct, being one of the older institutions, led me to expect superior and more established service. However, my experience with them turned out to be the worst compared to any other bank I have ever worked with in my life!
To start, after I opened a high-yield savings account online and indicated my intention to transfer a substantial sum, they conducted a hard credit pull on me, citing random slection, which left me quite disappointed and questioning its legality. I prefer basic security features like email notifications and text messages, but none of these options were available with this bank; they solely communicated through secure messages.
Fast forward four months, I checked my balance one day, only to find that my account had disappeared entirely. There were no paper trails or statements. Everything was gone! No email from them. Frankly, I panicked. Unfortunately, the bank didn't have a 24/7 hotline, and when I finally managed to contact them, a representative informed me that they had closed my account and sent me a check. Their reason was an identity verification issue, which they attempted to address with just one message on their portal that I missed, leading to the abrupt account closure. No email or no phone communication.I found it astonishing that they couldn't have reached out via email or phone. This entire experience, from start to finish, was the worst customer service I've encountered. I strongly advise against using this bank. Smallest and less known banks offer way better service.
I am shocked to learn that my CD of 300,000 has a 4% penalty of principal. That is a $12,000 fee. It is astonishingly bad banking practice - and that fee is 100% more than my cd rate. And I need the money for my mothers healthcare. This is not an insurance produce, should have some legal boundary as it feels like price gouging. ALL banks generally do a penalty of 1 month, 3 months, or 6 months. It is never a percent of principal, especially 4%. How could a local entity, board of directors, executives at the bank approved something so adversely impactful to the consumer. This is a CD that is often for seniors, often a low percent, and occasionally life happens and there is a need to get the money early. But can't. And if you apply for a waiver of fee, they will only send a check on your behalf to the healthcare provider for the exact amount you owe which assumes that the bill is in arrears. I can't really tell my mother that I can get her money but only after she pays $12,000 in penalties.
Salem Five should be ashamed for having a 4% of principal redemption penalty for breaking a CD early. Most customers are local citizens and they are stuck with bad rates and during the rising rate environment, management of Salem Five has showed how little they care about their customers.
Fees are insane and customer service is not very helpful. Lost my job and overdrew my account by 9 dollars; was charged a 35 dollar fee. Deposited money to get back in the positive, but was not able to get the fee reversed or even reduced.
When I went to close my account, I was told I needed something notarized; which I cannot even afford until I start my new job. Just lacking compassion plus high fees. Stay away
Only use this bank if you have read all 25 pages of disclosure.
I have used online banking for many years now and have never run into the kinds of restrictions imposed by Salemfive.
For instance, you cannot transfer out any sums over $5000 and you cannot transfer out any sums over $20,000 per month.
A very similar situation for transfers into Salemfive.
Their website is not as user friendly as other online institutions I have used.
This is by far the worst (utterly 15+yrs outdated) online banking experience I've ever had, and that's really saying something: between managing my 88-yr-old mother's finances, and my family's, I do a LOT of online banking of all sorts. This review revolves around a 5-yr-CD for my mother. I really should have "bailed" when we had issues initially x-ferring the funds into the account (but at the time the rate was just SO good, that I "waded" thru the issues, which took a week or two to resolve - no-interest-earned in the interim :-) - big mistake #1.
OK, so now the account is funded - where's the option to have the interest transferred back into my mother's checking account upon accrual? - Response: oh-so-sorry-no-can-do... no option like that - all interest is added to CD till maturity.
Hmmm...I thought, it would be a real pain to cancel the CD & lose a couple months interest over this issue... I decided that the CD-income wasn't THAT critical to my mother's cashflow, so i'd just let that issue ride (big mistake #2)
So a number of months go by & I realize that I am way overdue on providing my mother with her quarterly "statement of assets"... we log-in to her account only to find that you can only view 3-months of back-transactions (my accounting for was further behind than that). So I think: OK, I'll just download statements... Hmmm, odd... NO statments available - she's had the account for 7+months, how can there be "no statements available? Response: oh-so-sorry-no-can-do - online-statements are only issued ANNUALLY. Me: "So just shail-mail us a statement" Response: oh-so-sorry-no-can-do - CD statements are only available online, you'll have to print your own. (lets just say this put my bloodpressure into a very unhealthy range)
So, now here we are 5-yrs later - CD has FINALLY matured (btw, there was NO maturation-notice sent - not by email, not by snail-mail, nothing but a mid-year "acct-statement-is-avail" e-notice (one of many-dozens that typically go unheeded on a regular basis - UNLESS, (1) you remember that there is no such a thing as a "mid-year-stmt" from THIS bank, -or- (2) as in my case, you keep very close tabs YOURSELF on CD-maturity-dates).
OK, so we're still in the "grace window" after maturity - we login (btw, found a secure-msg, irrelevantly titled, that does say CD matured) & send a secure-request that the principal+interest NOT be rolled-over into a new CD (i.e. GET ME OUT OF HERE, NOW!!!), and request that the funds be x-ferred via ACH back into the exact same checking account that they came from initially (provided in secure-msg, the full ACH-info - its a major-bank w/ identical acct registration) Response (nearly 2-days later): oh-so-sorry-no-can-do - you can only redeem a CD via a bank-check thru the mail (w/ no indication that they were actually MAILING the check) - sent another secure-msg confirming snail-mail address & requesting check. Response (nearly 2-days later again): We'll be mailing the check winin 2-days, you should receive it within 10-days - please contact us again if you don't.
Note that NONE of these secure-msgs were accompanied by any sort of email-alert indicating that a response-msg was waiting to be read, i.e. we had to repeatedly log-in to see if there was a SalemFive response yet.
I swear I'm not making ANY of this up! I've dealt with many dozens of online banks & financial institutions over the years - learned the hard way about teaser-rates, fine-print-fees, all sorts of dirty tricks - I don't think any of those apply here - SalemFive is just has a completely ineptly-antiquated online customer-service - Imho, its at LEAST 15-years behind the typical online banking services that you expect from the industry! Aside from reading 100's of reviews, how do you even protect yourself from this sort of thing prior to opening an account? This bank pushed me completely over the edge a while ago - now as CD's mature, I'm moving both my mother's & our family's entire CD-ladders to brokered-CD's (in our case thru Vanguard). In another week or two (assuming my mother notices the check in the mail & finally deposits it in her checking account), I'll finally be FREE of this nightmare. As for SalemFive, I wish them a speedy corporate-demise - maybe a REAL online-bank will take them over and finally put all the rest of their customers out of their misery...
. I cancelled my account, and been waitng a month for my money returned. Now they claim the check was lost in the mail. Its been one excuse after another, jump though one hoop after another, still I can't seem to have my money returned to me. I'm about to contact the feds.
I just closed my account at Salem Five. This is the worst bank I have EVER dealt with. A check that was supposed to be direct deposited, wasn't. Next thing I know there are FIVE $35.00 fees posted to my account for NSF. Don't you think they should have alerted me after one? But no... five days later I get 3 letters telling me this has happened. If this lousy bank had a clue they should have put a freeze on my account after the first one or two. They REFUSED to give me the fees back. They took me for $175.00. One $35.00 charge was for a $4.00 charge at a store. Can you believe they charged me $35.00 for a $4.00 charge? Greedy, greedy, greedy! The bank rep. I dealt with kept saying he had to talk to his manager, he didn't have the authority to do anything, etc.. Well - if he can't do anything WHY IS HE WORKING THERE?!? I went to close my account and write a check for the fees. They told me I would have to wait until the check cleared to close the account. I wanted that account closed NOW, so I took out cash from the ATM. Next, they tried to tell me a two cent deposit (from a company who was just making sure my account was real) was "in-process" and I couldn't close the account until that cleared. That was the stupidest thing I had ever heard. I told them my account was being closed TODAY and that I didn't care WHAT it took to close it. Finally they decided to give me the two cents and close my account. I promise you, I will NEVER deal with this bank again. Beware of this bank and NEVER open an account with them. The staff is completely incompetent and their policies are a rip-off!!!
My husband and I both opened 30 month CD’s at Salem Five bank in MA and wanted readers to be aware of the terrible service we received from this bank. At the time of opening the account I was told that it could be converted to a trust but a week after opening the account I was told that was not the case. We decided to leave the CD’s in a non trust account. Both accounts matured in late April 2015 and I called in March 2015 for the procedure to close the account. I was told a letter with this request could be faxed to the bank and we did so. In early April we received a phone message saying that the letter to close the account had to be mailed in and a fax was not acceptable. We mailed the letters in one envelope and called on April 11, 2015 to verify their receipt. On May 4 I called the bank to ask when the checks were mailed out. Mine was mailed two days after maturity and they had not yet closed my husband’s account (matured on 4/30/15) because they did not have his letter to close the account! After speaking with the manager and providing the name of the employee who verified that the letters had been received, we were told that they needed time to “research” the matter. My husband asked for the check to be sent via overnight mail. The manager called back later that morning and indicated that the letter had been located and agreed to send the check by overnight mail.
The agents at this bank routinely provide misinformation and they seem incapable of handling basic procedures such as closing an account or recording the fact that letters to close the account were received. In my experience, banks close the CD on the date of maturity not two days later and the request to close the account at maturity does not disappear from the records. We are frustrated with the amount of follow up needed to recover our CD deposits and will not do business with this bank again.
Salem Five is the WORST bank I have ever dealt with. EVER. They do not clearly explain that if you use their cell phone deposit feature that your check takes additional time to collect, so the convenience means that you don't have to schlep to one of their few branches or ATMs, but instead you can bounce checks. It takes weeks to get a replacement debit card, they screw up the activation process and their "phone service" is horrible at best. This is a bank for neighborhood people only who have plenty of time to sit around waiting for everything.
I've had nothing but trouble with Salem Five. Here is my experience, you be the judge.
First mistake: they started to withhold interest - when I asked why they said I must have inadvertently "checked off I was subject to backup withholding on my W9".
The next time they screwed up was when they unexpectedly lowered my interest rate without informing me -- after they had assured me several months before that the rate was good thru a certain period. I never would have noticed but learned on the internet that other people had complained of the very same thing. That's when I checked my statement. The problem is that you won't know that your interest rate has been changed in the 30 days previous until you receive your next statement - so it was pretty deceptive. I phoned and demanded to speak to a supervisor who quickly "fixed the problem" when she heard me say I was going to complain online.
The last time was the final straw. After I'd been with them for a considerable time they informed that my SS# was incorrect and if I didn't send in the proper one within a certain time span I would go into backup withholding. It was their error. Obviously someone had mistyped my information. They refused to admit it but "couldn't locate the original W9". Then to make matters worse they "never received" the form they sent me to fill out. How odd -- I drove straight to the local post office and mailed it in one of their postage-free envelopes. How could they lose something like that?! I now have to worry about identity fraud.
In the past 35 years I've had dozens of accounts at many different banks & CU's and have never had a problem. I am obsessively careful when filling out bank documents.
Needless to say, after all this I closed my account.