Banks Are Your Friends

I’ve worked for two big banks in my life. They, for good reason, are not viewed in the most positive light. Wells Fargo with the account opening scandals. JPMorgan with the ‘London Whale’ who caused a $7 billion loss in one trade. HSBC playing with the Mexican cartel. Oh and of course 2008, when all of them were exposed for taking excessive and reckless risks in the subprime market.

You don’t have to love them. You should take advantage of what they’re offering though. Checking accounts, credit cards, and investment accounts are fresh meat to these guys. They are foaming at the mouth for customer acquisition. Last year, before the promo was cut in half, Chase was offering the Sapphire Reserve with some serious generosity. Spend $1,500 in 3 months and receive 100,000 points, which equates to $1,000 in cash or $1,500 in airfare. They also reimburse your commuting fees, up to $300 a year. It almost seemed too good to be true. Spending $1,500 in 3 months isn’t hard; you can spend it on restaurants, companies that offer web hosting services, or your credit card bill.

Right now, TD Bank is offering $300 if you sign up for a new account online and get a direct deposit of over $2,500 in 60 days to the account. Not everyone has the means to get this done, but it’s almost effortless to complete. A quick google search on checking account offers will get you some of the best offers on the market.

If you have a good credit score, chances are you’ve been solicited by some of the credit card companies or banks to apply for a new card. Almost all of them have some sort of APR promo for balance transfers, and if you’re a new customer chances are they have some type of promotion in regards to spending for a bonus. The APR offers are huge game changers for short term financing or if you have some balances with high interest that you’re trying to pay down. Take advantage of it now while interest rates hover near all time lows, because they won’t be there forever. Citi has a card that’s currently 21 months of 0%! That’s almost a 2 year interest free loan.

The point is that almost all of these banks have something to offer to entice new customers, and if they don’t have one now there’s a solid chance that they will soon. A lot of folks are unnerved when it comes to starting a new relationship with another financial institution. Identity theft, reading through the fine print, or just staying loyal to the bank you’ve been with since you were a kid. Understandable, but is it worth all the money you’re throwing away by staying stuck in your ways?

Last but not least, the brokerage houses like Schwab and Fidelity, have gone to war with each other in efforts to attract investment assets. They’ve knocked down fees across the board, most offering free trades on ETFs. Merrill Lynch is offering up to $600 if you open a new IRA account. Have an old 401k hanging out somewhere? Roll it over to an institution that will pay you for it.

The offers are out there. The banks want your money, and it’s never been easier to get started. They are your friend. Take advantage!

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