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Erik Johansson is a real straight shooter. Our realtor recommended Erik to us When we were in a tight situation where the seller rejected our offer because of our pre-approval letter. Erik was able to get us one over the phone within 20 minutes on a Saturday morning which was amazing. 99% of our communication was over the phone with him, as he was great at doing things such as explaining our options to us for different types of loans, explaining the Good Faith Estimates, and walking us through our preliminary and finals HUDs with simple terms me and my wife could understand. He comes highly recommended, and occasionally does free classes about lending with Redfin in the north Chicago suburb area. I would recommend going to one of these to get to know him if you are unsure, they are usually about once a month.
Been wanting to just get away from the big banks and start using credit unions, feel like it's a better idea to keep the money closer to the community. Decided to go with Michigan First Credit Union after a friend of mine recommended me to them. I was very surprised with how friendly everyone is when I visited one of their Detroit branches to sign up. I love how I actually get a decent interest rate for my money at .80% which is a big step up to my previous bank which was giving me .1%. Plenty of ATMs, good interest rates, not much I can really complain about.
ING Direct recently became Capital One 360, but they are essentially the same thing. One of the ways I use ING Direct is not as my primary savings account, but a place where I move a large chunk of my money to when I don't need it in order to earn a higher interest rate. I use a standard bank with a physical branch so I can do all my deposits, checking, etc. and have money easily available at an ATM or a physical bank. However, I take all my extra savings and transfer it to my ING account so that I can earn a .75% interest rate on it instead of the much lower rate physical banks offer you. It's been working out great so far, as it also makes it harder to justify dipping into that ING account when I need it, since it's not readily available. But it's making almost 3x as much interest in that account, so I don't mind.
Comerica was the first bank I had ever used. My parents set up an account for me when I was a kid with Standard Federal Bank actually, and then Comerica eventually took it over and my account got converted over to them. I never once had a single issue with Comerica. Good interest rate and great customer service. They even had some branches in weird places like grocery stores that were open until 9pm and on Saturdays and Sundays too which was great for banking at non regular hours. For years with them I had legitimately free checking too without the need to set up a direct deposit, and they had online bill pay as well. The only reason I left Comerica bank was because they are only located in 5 different states, and I moved to a state where there are no branches. Without a physical branch, I couldn't deposit checks and I couldn't use the ATM regularly without getting fees. So I ended up switching after many many years with them. If I ever move back to Michigan, I'd definitely consider switching back to Comerica though!
We had Nationwide at my parents’ home where we had a house fire. I was just absolutely surprised at the amount of work we had to do to get compensated for everything we lost in the fire. Thankfully the house wasn't burned down to the ground, because we had to list on a form every single item we lost, how much we paid for it, and how much it would cost to replace it. This was only possible because I could take photos of stuff as they were pulling it out of the house and throwing it into a dumpster. The work was just astonishing, if we didn't write it down we didn't get paid for it. I helped out with the legwork of doing it, and it was pretty much a full time job all summer. In the end though, we were compensated fairly, but man was it a lot of work. It made me really look at how losses like this were handled when considering insurance companies for my first home.
I was with Fifth Third Bank for a few years before my wife and I got married and decided to combine our savings and checking accounts together. One of the biggest issues I had with them was that their banks seem to be separated into regions, where one cannot work with the other as efficiently. So, if you opened a savings account in one state, and wanted to open a checking account later in life while in another state, you couldn’t transfer funds between the two of them. Fifth Third’s solution was to close my other account and open a new one, which seemed too much of a hassle. If I am going to close my account, I am going to go to another bank and get a nice $100 sign up bonus or something for my hassle. Overall, the experience was decent though. I got 2 free ATM debits per month from a non Fifth Third machine, free checking with direct deposit, and a decent interest rate. The branches were always pretty dead, so when having to go to one to cash a check I never had to wait for that long. But not having mobile cash checking was a big deal breaker for me. They need to get with the times!
We had Allstate for my wife's car, but decided to go with another insurance provider with the next car after our first and only claim with Allstate. We were rear-ended in a parking lot by another driver, who was also driving at high speeds. Our car was pretty old, but they apparently caused enough damage that Allstate considered it “totaled”, mainly because the damaged caused costed more than the value of our car. It was overall a really ridiculous situation. The rear end was banged up, but the car was still working. All that needed to be fixed was the rear end (cosmetic damage) and the latch on the trunk. The resolution took several weeks to work out. They ended up paying us the money to get it fixed at a place we picked who wasn't price-gouging us. In the mean time we had a car with a banged up back end and a trunk that needed to be tied down.
I originally signed up with Bank of America purely due to the amount of locations and ATMs that I'd see on a daily basis. I ended up leaving them due to their customer service and fees. I feel like I have never gotten so many fees in my life for stupid things that were not clearly disclosed. Such as not having an active account because I haven’t used a debit card an arbitrary number of times. Why does that even matter? And when the story came out a while back about being charged a fee for a debit card, I just lost it and closed my account. You should be getting paid by your bank to keep money with them, not get charged by them.
State Farm was my previous home insurance provider. The main reason I switched from them is because we bought a new house and thought it was a good time to shop around for a new rate since we wanted more coverage. Overall, my time with State Farm was fine! Signing up and getting the coverage I needed was very easy. We thankfully never had to file a claim with them, as when something went wrong the damage was always less than our deductible, but their customer service was fine! It was fairly easy to get on the phone and speak to a live person with them without having to go through tons of phone menu hoops. I would consider going with State Farm again in the future if their rates are good for us.
I've been with American Family Insurance for a few years now, as they are our primary coverage on our home. I've found their rates to be competitive, and customer service to be quite good. The only claim we've had to make is when a drain tile cracked in our back yard and our basement flooded. The insurance covered the excavation of the backyard, repair of the drain tile, and any repairs that needed to be done to our basement. While the experience wasn't that enjoyable because of the water, AmFam made it easy to get us covered and our things repaired without having to deal with any issues and finding out later that certain things weren't covered (which was my biggest fear).
I used to have AAA but had to switch when I moved to a different state where they didn't have a central office in. Overall, I have been very pleased with them. I have had two minor accidents. The claim process went smoothly and they paid for my car repairs without raising my rates. They also offer roadside service which has been wonderful! I've had my car towed after getting a flat tire for free! The claim process has also been relatively simple and hassle free. When I had someone break into my car they did have someone come and assess the damage first instead of just accepting my claim blindly, but that is to be accepted I assume. Overall, I would recommend them, but also understand that so much of picking an insurance company is about the kind of car you drive, your age, and your driving history. So, rates always will vary from person to person.
I switched to Geico about a year and a half ago. One of the main reasons that we switched was because we simply wanted a lower rate for our car insurance. We were also moving at the time, so it felt like the right time to switch insurance companies. Geico made the switch easy, and I felt we were able to get the coverage we needed for a good price. The application process was simple. We did it all online, and we can also pay our bills online too. So far I have no complaints, but I also haven't had to file a claim yet either.
One of the main reasons I decided to go with Chase is because I heard of their mobile check cashing which has been amazing so far! I absolutely love that I have very little need to go to a physical bank. I can just take out my phone and take a picture of my check to cash it, and it clears within an hour and the funds are available to use. When you do need to use a branch or ATM though, they are plentiful and easy to find. If you have a smart phone and can take advantage of the mobile check cashing, I would recommend Chase. It's a game changer in the world of banking.