12 Aug 2009

Fifth Third Bank Manager Taking Sales Tips From Obama?

All Posts No Comments

I’m sure most of you heard President Obama’s ill-advised attempt to defuse critics of the health “reform” plans. Obama was trying to make the point that a public (government) health insurance plan wouldn’t put private insurers out of business, and so he noted that FedEx and UPS were doing fine, whereas the Post Office was the one always in trouble. You can’t see it in the clip above, but on the audio clips I’ve heard it seems that even the very friendly crowd was a bit nonplussed by this line of argument.

Anyway, I had a similar thing happen when I deposited a check at my local bank. I opened the account when I was a professor in Michigan, and now I live in Tennessee. Every once in a while the person at the desk urges me to open a checking account with them, so that everything will be in-state.

I have resisted doing so for two main reasons. First, we have most of our bills on autopay through the account, and I would have to switch everything over. Second, quite frankly the Fifth Third employees in Hillsdale, Michigan (where we opened the account) seem a lot more competent than the ones I’ve dealt with in Nashville, TN. (I’ll just leave it at that. Not saying one group of people is good or bad in an absolute sense, but one group has to be relatively better, and I put my money–literally–on the Michigan people.)

Now here’s what’s funny: I know full well that there must be some sort of drive to get people to sign up with new checking Fifth Third checking accounts; they even have promotional gimmicks like you get an extra $25 in your account (with an initial minimum deposit). So today the branch manager comes up to me and urges me to switch, for the same reason they always give. But this time he added a little drama to it, saying something like, “We’d like to be able to say that nothing could go wrong, with your account being based out of Michigan, but in truth the Fifth Third computer network doesn’t always work the way we wish it did. So just to spare you heartache down the road, you should really think about setting up an account here in Tennessee. You can at least just open one, and then over time move your activities over to it.”

I didn’t say this, but my internal reaction was, “Well, if you’re telling me to open up a new checking account in Nashville because the Fifth Third system is unreliable, I would do it with another bank. What kind of sales pitch is that?”

Comments are closed.