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I recently switched to Allstate after buying a new car. As I have always been a poor student, I didn't know that in Texas when you buy a new vehicle you must have comprehensive insurance and not just the liability insurance I've always carried. So I was in the market for a new policy and at the same time I wanted to switch my homeowner's insurance from Texas Farm Bureau as well, for other reasons. I stumbled upon Jackie's office in my hometown and the people were very accomodating. Jackie made time to personally sit down with me and go over all of my options, for auto, home, and life insurance. I have been more than impressed over the last few weeks as to their promptness, courtesy, and professionalism both on the phone and in person. I have also received all the promised documents both emailed to me and in person. I've honestly never received attention like this from an agent before. Of course, the ultimate test will be how the agency responds to a claim, but so far I am very, very impressed. The best part? Allstate apparently quotes their premiums in six month installments, while I was used to paying in 12 month installments. So the price I thought was good ended up being fantastic when I realized that I was only going to pay half the amount I thought I would. Just on price alone I don't think Allstate can be beat.
I had written a previous review about my Wells Fargo personal checking account, which still stands and I am still very happy with that account. In fact, my good experiences with that account led me to open a business account when several family members and I started a small business. For that account I have been overall happy with it, with one important consideration. I would suggest that those interested in a small business checking account open one with a different bank from their personal checking account. There have been several times when I deposited a check using the mobile app where it went to the wrong account--both personal checks have been deposited in my business account and business checks have gone to my personal account. I have been told by multiple people that this "shouldn't happen" and is "rare" but honestly that isn't my experience. My experience has been that it takes at least three business days to sort out and often involves calling multiple customer service reps since inevitably the reps that service checking accounts cannot access business accounts and vice versa to understand the problem. This has been my only problem with Wells Fargo as far as the business account and I would say I'd likely be a lot happier if I had just chosen a different institution for one or the other of the accounts.
First off, let me say that I really love the Brazos Valley Credit Union. I became a member when I was 16 and opened my first checking account because my mom was a teacher in Katy ISD, which is affiliated with the credit union. The customer service cannot be beat--they learn your name and are really motivated to help. Once I got my account number wrong when I was endorsing checks and the clerk pointed it out to me, she was very nice and went ahead and cashed my check stating that she knew “what I meant”. It's a small office, very down to earth and personal. When I bought my car in 2006 the bank went ahead and approved the financing within an hour. Each time I've called or walked in for assistance I've gotten either immediate answers or a call back within an hour. A couple other great things--you can check your balance online or by phone, checks can be reordered easily online, there is no monthly fee, the interest rates on mortgages and car loans are superb, and ATM cards can be replaced quickly if lost. The ONLY negative thing I have to say about this institution is that they really seemed to struggle with electronic checks about five years ago. I haven't attempted to use them since, but at the time was trying to use electronic checks to pay for things like eBay purchases. Each time my check would be “returned” which was embarrassing and confusing considering there was plenty of money in the account. The only answer I got from the credit union was that since it was a credit union and not an “actual bank” electronic payments “work differently”. If you are interested in opening a checking account and do a lot of online payments I'd suggest asking if they have figured out this problem yet. I just switched to credit cards and didn't try it again. Overall, very satisfied with Brazos Valley Schools Credit Union.
I recently switched to First Citizens Bank after banking for a very long time with Wells Fargo. I didn't really have any issues with Wells Fargo, but in the city I am now living there are all of two Wells Fargo ATMs and they seem to be always out of cash and/or not accepting deposits, which is why I switched to a bank that others had recommended. I like First Citizens overall. I was really impressed by how easy it was to open a new account. The whole process took less than 20 minutes and I was out the door. My card arrived in four business days, far less than the 7-10 I was quoted. The people were friendly and explained the differences between accounts and options very well. They did not, however, disclose that the checking account has a monthly fee associated with it, which is why I rated the customer service as slightly less and the clear disclosures as only a three out of five. Also I reserve five stars on customer service for banks that are open on Sundays or at least have extended hours on weekdays, so I don't have to use my lunch hour to go to the bank. Citizen's First bank does not have extended hours at my branch, so it is a four star establishment in my opinion. I have not had any real issues since I started using them, so overall I would recommend them to others. Just be sure to ask about monthly fees.
I switched to Allstate after using a different car insurance company for the last ten years or so back in July. I went online one day just to get a quote and was astounded by how easy it was to apply: get a quote, and get insured all without the hassle of talking to an agent. I like that because it seems like the agents inevitably try to pressure me into buying more than I need or can afford. Allstate had temporary insurance cards online to print out and mailed me my permanent ones within a week. Also, when someone backed into me in a parking lot the twenty four hour support was convenient and courteous. You just can't beat Allstate for convenience and courtesy in my opinion.
I was an inherited customer when Wells Fargo bought Wachovia a few years back. That being said, it's always difficult to suddenly be working with an institution you didn't choose. I chose to bank with Wachovia...but my experiences with Wells Fargo have been largely good. The availability of ATMs is more with Wells Fargo, which is very convenient. I especially appreciate the ability to deposit checks at ATMs without envelopes and get the check image printed on the receipt for record keeping. This virtually eliminates my trips to the bank as I can direct deposit my paycheck and deposit anything I need at any ATM, without worrying that they will be out of envelopes. My only complaint is that I found out recently that Wells Fargo charges me when someone writes me a bad check. I always understood that if a person wrote a check and didn't have the money to cover it, they would be responsible for the fees involved (not the innocent check acceptor). But sure enough, the one time recently it happened I was charged a fee. That accounts for the minus one star because that just seems unfair. However, when I called the customer service line I was given a "courtesy" waive of half of the fee, which did show some effort to compromise and resolve the problem and in the end left me satisfied overall.