In our print cover story this week, I write about how to quit various services that have a track record of trampling on consumer rights.
One thing you should quit right now: Bank of America. And any other big, national bank. If you don't have loans or other complicated financial arrangements going on with your bank, closing your account and opening one at a small, local bank or credit union can take as little as nine minutes. Moving my money wasn't something I ever considered until the financial crisis, but now I'm totally glad I did.
There's feel-good, community-loving reasons to use local banks or credit unions (as Angela Martin explains in the feature: "A bank like Albina Community Bank makes more small business loans in Oregon than a big bank like Bank of America by a factor of 10. Why? Because they're on the ground.") but there's purely selfish reasons, too. State records show that local banks and credit unions get way less complaints from customers complaining that they were scammed or abused by their financial institutions. Some of that is definitely due to the fact that they have less customers overall in Oregon, but the stats show a significant difference in service. Check it out:
Also, a must-have link: Lists of Oregon consumer complaints against companies.