Pros: Customer Service is tops!
Cons: It's more tops for the rich than for the not-so-rich!
There are as many different kinds of banks as there are people. I'm the type of person who doesn't need a lot of hand holding. I want some basic information, then I want to go home to digest it, compare it, and then make my own decision. My banking style and needs are met by USAA, which is a long-distance bank. Many people are put off by the fact that there is no physical bank, no live tellers and no personalized help. These people should consider First Citizen's Bank (FCB)in North Carolina.
I am intimately knowledgeable about FCB because I was once an employee. I can tell you, objectively, that there are those who loved us, and those who hated us. Consumers must know a bank's strengths to be able to determine if that institution is right for their needs, so the first thing I would admonish each person is to sit down and determine what type of consumer you would consider yourself. Secondly, do some research on each bank. Ask questions of customers, not just customer service representatives! These people have quotas to meet each month, so they are likely to tell you what you want to hear.
First Citizen's Bank is what I would consider a "conservative" banking institution. Rarely do FCB's rates beat out their fiercest competitors, yet they are still able to hold their own. I believe it to be because of the personal service they provided their customers, or shall I say their "important" customers. Now, I loved working for this bank and everyone in it, but the "haves" got treated way better than the "have nots." I'm not naive enough to believe that this doesn't happen everywhere, but I've only suspected it in other instances. This time, I know it for a fact. Some people thought that it was good business practice, some folks thought that it was "just life", but this idealistic girl thinks it is unfair to have 2 or 3 sets of rules. If you don't cash checks without ID for one person, you shouldn't do it for another.
Now that I'm done with my personal tirade, I will tell you some of the facts, ma'am.
If you are looking for a bank to walk you through your accounts, then this is the place for you. Our clients praised us for our personalized attention. We heard countless stories about how those careless banks down the street wouldn't give those dear people the time of day. I have witnessed first-hand or actually participated in the balancing of other's checkbooks, going over statements line by line and helping roll coins since we did not accept them unrolled. You'll be hard pressed to find tellers out there who will do this! If you like to be babied, and we all do sometimes, then this bank may be a good choice for you.
FCB has something for everyone, but more for the rich folks! I'll start at the top and work my way down.
Charter Quest: You have to have a little money, but oh, the perks you'll receive! You need to have $3500 in savings, $5,000 in a money market fund or a combined daily balance of a mere $10,000 to qualify for this little gem, but look what you get:
* Free Safe Deposit Box
* Free checks
* Special CD rates
* ATM daily withdrawal limit of $500
* No annual fee Visa
* Free Visa Check/ATM card
* Free Traveler's Checks, Money orders, Cashier's Checks and notary service.
*Free Membership into the Charter Club that hosts breakfasts each quarter and supervised, well-planned trips!
Regular Checking and Checking with Interest: You must initially deposit a minimum of $100 and your account is free when your keep a $500 daily balance, average ledger balance of $1250 or $750 in savings. This account is free to minors, but they must have an adult as a signer on the account.
Basic Banking: A good option for those who need a bank for very basic needs such as cashing a paycheck. You must initially deposit a minimum of $50 and a flat fee covers 12 transactions per month. A free ATM card is included with this account.
Military Banking: Now if any military member had access to USAA, I don't imagine they'd do business with FCB, but here goes. It takes a minimum deposit of $50 to open an account and you must maintain an average daily balance of $200. A free ATM card is included with this account.
Quick Silver-Student Checking: This is a free account offered to students. You must open the account with $50 and you may write 12 checks per month. This account comes with a free ATM card, unlimited ATM withdrawals from FCB ATMs and checkline reserve for those who qualify with credit approval.
Checkline Reserve: You must qualify through credit approval, but you will never bounce a check. Be careful, it works like a loan! Every time you hit it, you will be charged interest!
Check Return: You have three choices here. For $2.00 per billing cycle you can have all of your actual checks returned to you. For a dollar a month you can select check imaging where they copy the checks onto your statement and return it to you. For free you get your checks listed in numerical order on your statement.
Investment Services: You can take advantage of in-house investment bankers, but the minimum (unspoken?) is $10,000, otherwise, they'll just want you to put that money in a CD or IRA.
Business Accounts: They have business checking, savings and investments, for both small and large businesses. This is where we won a lot of business of off the competition since we paid special attention to business owner's needs.
Insurance Services: You can buy life insurance, auto, homeowners, you name it! It is simple to call for a free quote.
Loans: They have any kind of loan you need, from mortgages to small signature loans. You can even apply over the phone for an immediate answer in some instances.
Merchant Services: If you have a business and need to be able to accept Mastercard or Visa, just give them a call and one of the merchant services reps will bring those machines out to your business and teach you how to use it.
Online Banking: Everyone has it these days, and FCB is no exception. I have used this website and found it to be simple and accurate.
If after reading this review you feel like checking FCB out and you live in North Carolina, I would recommend coming to the Maiden branch. They really know how to treat a customer!