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If your bank merges, should you go shopping or stay put? | Lifestyle

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Mergers and acquisitions of banks occur regularly and can lead to optimized services and better offers for consumers, but sometimes they can also create problems such as less access to branches or difficulties with customer service. If your bank merges or acquires, it will probably try to make the process of transferring your account as easy as possible. But if the new bank doesn’t have the services and features you need, you’ll probably want to look for another bank.

HOW TO DEAL WITH CHANGES IN YOUR BANK

For the most part, the best way to handle changes to your post-merger account is to be patient, weigh your options, and keep track of any new debit cards or documents the new bank sends you. When merging your bank usually does not close your account and will work with you to become a customer of the new bank.

“Mergers allow banks to expand horizontally and vertically faster and more efficiently,” says Francisco Alvarez-Evangelista, financial advisor to Aite-Novarica Group. “Most likely, they want to keep your business and they will do their best to make sure the customer experience stays the same.”

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Your bank will merge customer accounts under a new brand and will report everything you need to do, such as set up new login information or update your autopayment and direct deposits using your new itinerary and account numbers.

Alvarez-Evangelista predicts that bank mergers will continue to be common in the U.S. in the near future as banks strive to be more competitive.

GENERAL PROBLEMS DURING BANKING MERGERS

If banks merge, the new bank may close branches, which may make it difficult for some customers to access personal services.

The Federal Reserve reported in December 2021 that the number of U.S. bank branches had been steadily declining in the decade before the COVID-19 pandemic, but the pandemic encouraged banks to become even more convenient online. Many offered more remote customer service and closed branches.

Users may also face transition issues that may make it difficult to maintain their bank after the merger. When Simple, an online financial services company, announced it was discontinuing its services after acquiring BBVA in early 2021, many former neobank customers were frustrated by the rough transfer of their accounts to BBVA accounts. These included complaints of technical problems, long customer service waiting times and loss of savings and budget functions.

Azlo, a small business subsidiary that also owned BBVA, closed at the same time as Simple. Financial blogger Garit Booth said in a direct message that Azlo had recommended him move to another small business bank called Novo. The two banks made it relatively easy for him to transfer money, but he said it was still unpleasant to set up anyway.

“One of the worst parts was taxes,” Booth said. “I remembered to download bank statements to have records from the old bank. However, reconciling inflows and outflows from the old bank account compared to transfers from one account to another was not an easy task. “

HOW TO BUY FOR A NEW BANK

If you don’t like the direction your bank is headed after a merger, here are some factors to consider when research of a new bank.

FEES: Monthly service fee and overdraft fee should be the main considerations when looking for new bank accounts. The overdraft fee is typically $ 30 to $ 35 per case, and some banks may charge that fee several times a day.

MINIMUM BALANCES: Some banks require a minimum account balance to keep your account open, while others may require a minimum direct deposit amount to access certain features or to avoid monthly payments.

Interest rates: Banks are starting to offer higher rates again, so look for better interest rates before you decide to stay in your bank.

ACCESS To branches, ATMs and remote customer service: if personal customer service is important to you, you want to choose a bank that has branches near you. If you don’t need access to branches, look for a bank with a large network of ATMs, a good ATM fee reimbursement program, and customer service options such as online chat or extended business hours for phone support.

This article was provided by The Associated Press on the NerdWallet personal finance website. Chanel Bessett is a writer at NerdWallet. Email: cbessette@nerdwallet.com. Twitter: @crbessette.

NerdWallet: 4 ways to find out if your bank account is right for you https://bit.ly/nerdwallet-ways-to-tell-if-bank-account-is-right-for-you

Copyright 2022 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or distributed without permission.

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