I am in the process of switching banks from TD Canada Trust, whom I no longer trust, to RBC.
More than one of my friends has observed that this is a little like jumping out of the frying pan into the frying pan.
The amount of animosity a bank has to build up in someone in order to sufficiently motivate them into changing banks is huge but the TD Canada Trust put in the extra effort over the years and timed the pièce de résistance in a way that would have made Balanchine envious. Moving banks is not for anyone who lacks patience or resolve both are needed in abundance. The following things need to be taken care of.
Direct deposit from employer needs to be changed – this can take two to three pay cycles.
Direct deposits from the Quebec and Canadian governments have to be changed – no idea how long this will take.
Direct payments to the Quebec and Canadian governments (licenses etc) have to be changed.
Credit card has to be changed.
Get new credit cards for the kids.
Life Insurance direct withdrawals have to be changed.
Registered Educational Savings Plan withdrawals have to be changed.
Mortgage payment withdrawals have to be changed.
Investments held at TD – TD Canada Trust and TD Waterhouse have to be moved to RBC and Dominion Securities.
Any outstanding cheques, post dated, have to be honoured. So either I will have to keep the account open until the end of the month or reissue the cheques when a new batch of cheques from RBC arrive.
Set up online payments for television, phone and electricity.
All of this is time consuming because it has to be. Employers and the government aren’t just going to take a phone call with the new bank account number and change things over. They need voided cheques. Departments in the government don’t talk to each other either so when things are changed with the SAAQ that doesn’t change anything for child tax credit or Revenue Quebec.
Of course I knew all of this going in so why am I doing it?
It really started when our mortgage came up for renewal years ago. Lynn was deep in cancer treatments but when you have to renew you have to renew. We went to the local TD branch, which held the mortgage, to do just that and they made an offer which was considerably higher than other banks were offering at the time. It wasn’t yet the time of ultra low interest rates but the rates were lowish. The offer we got at the bank seemed high to us so we did a little shopping around and it was a high offer. We got together a couple of other offers and went back to the TD where the response was to the effect that they had already made their best offer. We signed with Investors Group at 5.12%. It was years later after Lynn had passed that a light bulb went on in my head. My theory: by refusing to offer a competitive mortgage rate the TD had in essence forced our mortgage out of their bank and at the same time terminated the life insurance policy on the mortgage which had covered Lynn. It took a long time to figure it out, but I’ve watched enough Monk to know when I got the guy.
Wait, wait, there’s more.
When Lynn was in palliative care and it was getting close to the end arrangements had to be made at the funeral home. The timing of things was pretty tricky because it was the end of the month, the mortgage was going through, Xmas had just finished et cetra. Bills were impinging on my thoughts and to make certain there would be a buffer for the funeral costs I made a call to the TD and asked that my line of credit be increased explaining why I needed it. The TD increased the line of credit immediately then shortly after Lynn died the TD more than doubled the interest rate on the line. I haven’t used it since and just got a preapproved credit card from the RBC with a lower interest rate than my line of credit at TD Canada Trust which currently sits at 10.5%.
Things went smooth for a little bit then I decided to open an investment account to self direct my own RRSPs. To open an account there is a process of answering an extensive questionnaire. I had already done my research and decided on what I specifically wanted to buy for the RRSP but went through the process of answering all the questions. At the end of the process I was allowed to buy one fund but not the other based on the risk assessment guidelines established by the questionnaire so I asked to redo the questionnaire and answered the questions in such a way as to be permitted to buy the ETFs I wanted to buy. I still hold those ETFs but they will be moving as I move banks.
At the same time as I opened the RRSPs I opened a TFSA/investment account with TD Waterhouse which advertised $9.99 a trade. I knew what I was going to buy and bought the ETF and was surprised by the $30.00 charge for making a trade. I went back and read the fine print and sure enough if you didn’t have a huge balance or make X number of trades per month the charge would be $30.00 a trade not $9.99. That has changed since then but that doesn’t help me. My trades were made at full freight. The way a trade is done you order X number of shares at Y number of dollars but you have to order 100 share lots. Theoretically a trader can buy odd lots but there’s no information as to how to do that. I’ve sent multiple emails asking for information on how to use the cash in the accounts to buy odd lots but have received no replies.
A few months ago while paying bills I mistakenly paid my Visa account with a transfer from my savings account. The only reason I noticed was that TD Canada Trust assessed a $1.20 charge for paying the card with that account instead of my chequing account. I went to the local branch to ask about it and they said there was nothing to be done so I closed the account which didn’t seem to phase them one bit.
The mythic straw, that one which no one really expects, landed recently not long after our daughter had been hit by a drunk driver. She had used the money her grandmother gave her for Xmas to do online shopping. As soon as the stuff she had bought were posted to the TD Visa account it was paid off, but the numbers in my banking account didn’t make sense. It was then that I realized that I had already made a payment on the card earlier in the month which had not been deducted so I had over paid. I called to have the over paid amount refunded to me. TD was happy to refund the money to my bank account which was great until I checked my account the next day. The money had been refunded but a cash advance fee of $3.50 had been removed from my account at the same time.
Only in the world of banking would charging someone a fee for returning their own money make sense. I called TD to cancel the card. They reversed the charge then asked if there was anything else they could do. I said yes, cancel the card. At that point I was put on hold and cooled my heels until a “credit specialist” came on the line to explain the disadvantages of cancelling the card.
After posting on FB and Tweeting my intention to change banks all of a sudden the TD was interested in what my issues were. My only issue now is how long it will take to move things.