Will SunTrust Bank Lose Thousands of Customers Because of New Account Changes?

In August, SunTrust Bank sent a letter to free checking customers stating their account will be changed to SunTrust Work Checking. However, the account will be working for the bank, not the consumer.

A $7 monthly maintenance fee will apply unless customers maintain a $500 daily balance or sign up for direct deposit. Customers who work for employers who do not offer direct deposit will be stuck with this fee. With current price hikes on food and gas, who can keep a $500 daily balance in a checking account? This change will definitely affect medium and low-income households. Consumers, who can’t meet the standard, will pay $84 a year.

Plus, account holders must pay a $5 monthly fee for unlimited check card purchases. It will cost .17 a day/$60 a year to have unlimited access to your money via check card.

Customers who can not meet the bank’s new terms, plus paying a regular check card fee will pay $144 a year to SunTrust Bank just to keep their money in an account.

That’s not all. After talking to an account representative at the local branch, I learned that SunTrust will no longer supply free standardized checks. Every time you need or want a box of checks it will cost you $29 a pop. Most consumers go online to pay their bills or have automatic withdrawal with the company. However, what about senior citizens who have no idea how to work a computer? They are still out there you know. A senior citizen on a fixed income who, can’t meet the new terms to avoid a $7 maintenance, has to pay a $5 check card fee (if they have one), and has to pay at least $29 for a box of checks will pay SunTrust an estimated $202 a year (calculation includes purchase of two boxes of checks).

Why SunTrust Will Lose Customers

Past inconveniences will bubble up in customers’ minds when they realize that they will have to pay the bank to keep their money. That was my experience.

I’ve had an account with SunTrust for six years. However, when I needed a loan for a car and a house, I had to go to other banks. SunTrust’s interest rates were 1 or 2 percent higher than surrounding banks that were willing to give me a loan. I’m sure that this happened to other SunTrust customers. It would be foolish for customers not to go to other banks for a loan when they offered a better deal.

Another incident was I tried to deposit a check I received from a locally owned small business. The branch I went to was open until 6 o’clock. I went there at 4:50 to make the deposit and they would not do it. Reason was that the accountant at the business dated the check for the next day. The teller said that the computers didn’t switch over for next day transactions until 5 o’clock and asked if I could come back or wait until after 5 to deposit the check. I wouldn’t have been so cheesed if it was a non-SunTrust check and I didn’t have an account there. However, the small business wrote the check off of their SunTrust account and I had an account with the bank. Plus, it was only 10 minutes before 5. Shouldn’t there be some sort of time window?

Just in case you can’t understand where I am coming from concerning this issue, let’s go over an everyday example. Your mouth is watering for a bacon, egg, and cheese biscuit; you stop at a drive-thru and order it. The window worker tells you that they don’t serve breakfast after 10:30. You look at your watch and it is 10:27. Everyone has had that happen to them at least once and they were ticked when it did.

Now, I get a letter in the mail stating extreme account changes that will take affect November 10, 2011, which will cost me money for things that were free. I don’t think so. Consumers on perkstreet.com and mybanktracker.com are irate about these changes and are threatening to switch banks.

The reason for the changes is because of changes in the industry. I’m sorry, but no one’s heart is bleeding for the banks these days. The federal government gave millions of tax dollars to the banks to help them survive the fall of the housing market and other economic crises and they blew it or refused to use it.

The nerve of SunTrust or any other bank to pull this kind of stunt while the economy is still shaky is greedy and stupid. The housing collapse was blamed on consumers and banks concerning the balloon loans because banks offered them and consumers fell for it. However, the banks survived without a blemish and consumers are still paying the price.

Everyone understands that the bank needs to make money, but lets not go overboard. SunTrust needs us just as much as we need them. This blatant move to suck more money out of customers’ pockets will cost them.