A six-month CD account I have at Bank of America had finished its time, and since it was setup at a ridiculously low interest rate (I was in a hurry at the time), I wanted to move it to something better – maybe around 1 percent – which unfortunately is about as high as you can get for a CD these days. So I wandered into the bank this morning and sat down at a desk with two people on the other side, one woman and one man, both in their early twenties, if even that.
The woman was at the terminal and the man asked me for my debit card and drivers license. I told him I don’t have a debit card – I have an ATM card. It purposely doesn’t work as a debit card (another story). She called up my account and apparently was viewing it on her screen, with the man watching. She asked if a particular phone number was correct, and I told her it was not, and hadn’t been for a very long time. The guy said then I must not have been in the bank for a very long time. Nope, I told him I visit that bank often. It took a couple of minutes, but they finally figured out how to update my phone number. Then they asked what I was there for, and I showed them the paper I received about the account maturing, and that I wanted to know what CD rates were available for that money. The guy started talking about Merrill, whoever that is. I had to stop him and let him know that while he knows very well who Merrill is, I don’t know anything about him. He told me it was Merrill Lynch, which apparently BofA had just merged or at least shacked-up with. I don’t really care, since those are stock investments. I’m losing too much money with stock already in my 401K and want a CD. He said something about my lack of a checking account with BofA. I don’t know where he got that from, I’ve had that account since 1975. He asked if I had any money with other banks. I said of course I do, but that doesn’t matter here. Oh… now I get it, he was looking for new money to invest in Merrill Lynch, and it slowly became obvious he must be getting a cut from that action. Then he mentioned that I was a “Preferred Customer”. Well, then, why not try treating me a bit better here? Ok, I didn’t really say that.
I asked again what CD rates are available at BofA. He said that rates were currently very low right now. I told him I know that, but what I’m looking for is a list of the current rates. I laid it out for him, telling him there must be a list showing percentages, required amounts, and lengths of time. He went on to talk about Merrill Lynch and held up a little sign from the desk which had both Merril and BofA names on it in pretty text fonts, but no CD rates listed. I told him again I don’t want to hear about Merrill Lynch – I want to know about BofA CD’s. When he put the sign down I picked it up and condescendingly told him I would just move it over to the other side of the desk where we don’t have to look at it. Now, what are the BofA CD rates and I don’t want to hear about Merrill again. He said the CD rates were very low.
So I was sitting there at least 10 minutes already, and still hadn’t found out what their CD rates were. I mentioned that I was getting a bit tired of this and that I would be leaving pretty soon.
Apparently he can’t hear very well or has a one-track mind, because he started talking about Merrill again. At that point, I told the woman to just transfer the money to my daughter’s existing savings account, and I told them it wouldn’t be there very long because I’ll be moving it to a CD in another bank. They didn’t seem too concerned even though it’s a good amount of money. I mentioned that I could have just done that transfer from home, without having to come in. But the guy said for that existing CD I did have to come in. So I guess this wasn’t a totally wasted trip.
I went home and easily found another bank online willing to pay me 1.1% for a year-long CD, which (even without looking) has got to be far higher than anything I could get from BofA, well, without investing in Merrill Lynch of course – ha ha.