I had some bad experiences with Bank of America many years ago, and have not banked with them since. The sum total of my impression of those experiences was "they cannot be bothered to care about me, even when their mistakes have cost me substantial money and time." And then there's the time they bat-and-switched me for a mortgage loan that ended up costing me more than $3k more than it was originally advertised to cost.
Things I have heard from other people have bolstered my feeling that they are big, uncaring and venal (like most banks), but with an added anti-customer-service veneer that appears to be unique to them. This, seen today in the SF Chronicle (apparently taken from one of those multi-page fine-print "update" folios that come with a credit card bill, is yet more fodder for the "venal" tag:
"I noticed in the latest notices to Bank of America credit card holders, buried in at least five pages of changes, was an announcement that in calculating its variable interest rate it would now be based on the highest of the three previous months (prime) rates as published in the Wall St. Journal, as opposed to the last month's rate."I mostly bank with a couple of different credit unions. They are not as smart, capable or flexible as the big banks, but they are also not as bent or venal. I suspect that all of these differences, both ethical and functional, are because the two types of entities have different goals. It is simple: banks are chartered to make money for their shareholders, while credit unions are to be non-profit entities that serve their designated communities, whether those are communities of association, trade group, or region / community.
Here is a good example of a credit union goals and mission statement, from here:
To provide a full range of personal, affordable financial services to our community. Our goal is to stimulate the economic and community development of our area. Our mission is to be competitive,convenient,cutting edge and concerned.And yes, deposits with credit unions are insured, by the NCUA (not by the FDIC, as with banks). But not all accounts from either type of institution are insured, be careful of the distinctions between types of accounts.
Have a great day!