Look Inside Umpqua Bank

It’s been awhile since I talked about banks. A couple of weeks ago, I took some pics of the inside lobby of the Umpqua branch I usually bank at. They’re up on Capitol Hill, on Broadway by All Pilgrims Church.

First, they have three wireless stations. I couldn’t take a picture, because all three were in use, and I didn’t want to invade people’s privacy. But you can just come in, sit down, and use the wireless at my bank. I don’t think you have to have an account there to do it either.

And when you stop by the bank, you can have some coffee or tea.

Have a cup!










Then, just a few feet down from the coffee bar is the golden “bat phone”. I don’t know what they really call it. It’s gold color, and you can reach anyone in a department by picking up the receiver and pressing a single button. And I do mean anyone. Seriously. Pressing 8 will connect you to the bank president.

I haven’t tried it yet. Behold the bat phone for yourself:

Call Us!



Really, Call Us!

So that’s a quick look inside my new bank. Coffee, wireless, and their very own bat phone.🙂 Remember, they also give me chocolate every time I deposit money. What’s not to like?

I know I left Well’s Fargo for moral reasons, but the coolness factor at my bank is also worth it. If you haven’t moved to a new bank yet, I highly recommend Umpqua. If you are worried about not having unlimited access to ATMs, ask yourself: how often you get cash at ATMs? If you’re like me, you get more of your cash back at registers during daily activities.

Seriously. It’s time to realize that money is much more accessible than it used to be. ATMs are not the key to cash anymore: your pin number is. Our money moves faster than we do, and no one should charge us to hold onto it. These are things it’s taken me years to learn, and there’s so much more I don’t understand.

Do yourself a favor. Experiment with your mobility. Open a secondary, online only bank account. Switch to a credit union or local bank. Try something to shake up the idea that “bricks and machines” are vital to financial existence. It’s scary, but worth it.

Umpqua Branches Update

Ok, I didn’t look hard enough. My bank has WAY more than two branches. They’re all over Washington, Oregon, Nevada, and Northern California. In Seattle alone they have about 15 branches, around one branch in each neighborhood.

Check it out for yourself: http://www.umpquabank.com/locator/new/

I Found A Bank That Will Take Me!!

Edit: I thought Umpqua only had two branches. That is beyond not true. My new bank has WAY more than two branches. They’re all over Washington, Oregon, Nevada, and Northern California. Check it out for yourself: http://www.umpquabank.com/locator/new/ Ok, carry on with the post.🙂

I am now a member at Umpqua Bank, “the greatest bank in the world”. And I have to say, they’re pretty cool. Here’s how it happened:

The regular readers here know I’ve been on a quest since September of 2011 to find a new place to move my banking. At first it was about our “too big to fail” banks and their attitudes around customer service, fee rollouts, etc. I decided to move out of Wells Fargo. It was a difficult choice in a way, because my family banked at Wells for years when I was a kid, and they have branches everywhere I have people.

But I have been learning that where you have your money matters ethically, even if you don’t have much.

I started by looking to join a credit union. Boy did that backfire on me. None of the credit unions wanted me. Once because my credit score wasn’t high enough (looking at you Salal, with your minimum 600 score requirement). Another time Chexsystems blocked me out.

So, after feeling like the school nerd trying in vain to get a date with the prom queen, I sucked it up again and started looking at local banks.

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Local Bank Websites: Who To Visit?

So, in my last post, I let you know that, once again, I was denied an account at BECU. I’ve given up on getting an account there, and am moving on to try local banks. The first step, of course, is looking at their websites to decide which banks will be the best to visit, considering my financial situation. I’ll share the information with you after the page break.

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Credit Unions: For Perfect People Only?

Well, I did it again. I went over to BECU this morning and tried to open an account. *sigh* I thought that since I had paid off the Chexsystems issue about four months ago, things would be okay. Nope. Chexsystems STILL had the US Bank thing listed as unpaid. Which means no BECU account for me.

The lady I talked to (different one from the first time) said that even if I came in with a letter from US Bank saying it had been paid off, they aren’t allowed to override their computers and open an account. And apparently, Chexsystems can leave that on my report for up to FIVE YEARS.

You know, I feel a bit like a high school outcast trying to get a date with the prom queen. This just isn’t going to happen. The credit union crowd sits at the popular table in the school cafeteria, and I’m never going to be allowed to put my books on that table, much less eat there.

Hmm..I did notice one thing though when I visited the Chexsystems website just now. In their FAQs, they provide this handy piece of information:

My account was paid. Why wasn’t the report removed?  A reporting member is under no obligation to remove an accurate report of account mishandling due to payment of monies owed. However, the member is obligated to update the report with a paid in full or settled in full date when applicable.

Apparently I need to talk with the folks at US Bank. They haven’t done their part in reporting that I cleared this up.

But to continue on…I can’t let this stop me from moving my money. It’s no longer about the fees Wells Fargo is trying to bring back. It’s about their money they’ve invested in private prisons. I can’t abide it. Those prisons are a form of slavery targeting people of color that’s even more insidious than our publicly funded systems, because there’s much less oversight. I don’t have a lot of money in my account, but it’s the principle of the thing.

So, I need to find something else. Since credit unions are for the popular kids, I’ll check into local banks I guess. I’d hate to go back into the alternative financial sector (a fancy word for payday loans, check cashing places, etc), but I will if it’s the only way to stop supporting this investment.

As always, I’ll report back and let you know.🙂

Wells Fargo $3 Fee Gone!

Well THAT didn’t last very long. According to this article from the San Fransisco Business Times the bank started their test run on October 14th of this year. On October 28th, a WF spokesperson announced that they were cancelling the test run in response to “customer feedback”.

Hmm….could that feedback have been thousands of people moving their money out to credit unions and local banks? For everyone who was able to do that, great job making your voice heard!!

Now it looks like Bank of America might be trying to find more ways to waive their $5 monthly fee for customers.

Looks like pressure is a good thing for these banks…if you’re moving your money, I’d say keep it up! I’ll be joining you as soon as my credit is good enough to do it.


Wells Fargo Says $3 Fee Can Disappear

…if I get their credit card and use that instead of getting dinged $3/month for using my debit card.

That’s what John said when I stopped by to get a money order and have my contact information updated. When I told him that my own branch manager and I had run my numbers twice now and I am very far away from qualifying for one, he then reminded me that WF has a secured credit card.

Right. So I can pay higher fees than what they already want to charge to use my own money. Still.


They still don’t get it. I don’t want to pay to use my own money, especially when so much of bank business is done online these days. There are new articles I ran across about firing your bank. Here’s another one.  Of course, most of the people in the comments section talk about opening credit union accounts. For a lot of folks that will be a solution. We saw how well that worked for someone with poor credit when you followed me on my quest to get a credit union account opened.

I did find a solution out of desperation when I got my SSDI backpay. There was a good deal of money, and since I have an addiction to debting and spending, I freaked out! I didn’t want that much sitting there available. So I transferred a large portion of it to an account at Ally Bank. They’re an online bank, with no physical branches anywhere. That would freak me out, except that just like any other bank, they’re FDIC insured, and they were around physically since 1919. This is not a fly by night company.

Now I have a savings account and 2 year CD with them. I feel more grown up and solid, and the best part is that not only am I not being charged fees, my CD gathers daily interest at a rate higher than what Wells Fargo could ever offer me.

Yep. Daily interest.

And I’m not the only one. Apparently these extra fees are causing a lot of people to turn to online banking. Check out these articles. And this one.  And this one. I could go on and on, but you get the point.🙂

I would encourage everyone to look into online banking, especially if you have issues that stand in the way of getting a credit union account. If your major worry is ATM access, Ally Bank reimburses all ATM fees you pay at the end of each month.

Good hunting!