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18 Month Term Deposit 2.75%
May 24, 2018
10:46 am
Saver-Mom
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Alterna site says:

18 Month Term Deposit: Special promotional rate may be changed or withdrawn at any time without notice. Available for new deposits only or new registered contributions which can include existing funds on deposit. Existing term deposits cannot be broken to receive this offer. Rate shown for annual interest. Annual compound interest paid monthly or annually. Minimum investment $500. Available to personal and non-personal account. Due to local and proxy caching on the Internet, please ensure that you are viewing rates as at the current day's date.

https://www.alternabank.ca

May 25, 2018
8:38 am
GR
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A telephone rep at Alterna Bank informed me that the promo GIC rates (such as 2.75% for 18 months) do NOT apply to on-line clients, only apply to in branch clients! This restriction does not appear on their website. This seems unfair, as on-line accounts normally earn higher rates than in-branch accounts. By comparison, their e-term deposit rates are pathetic!

May 25, 2018
12:32 pm
Saver-Mom
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You are right! How crass!
No cash for Alterna!

May 25, 2018
3:41 pm
Loonie
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Very poor form, Alterna!
And quite possibly illegal under consumer protection legislation, but nobody is likely to pursue that. Just move on, or escalate to ombudsman, being sure to take screen shots as ammo. Where's Kidd??
It's also possible this person had the wrong information. It obviously can't be done online but that ought not to mean that online customers cannot access it. If it were a more cooperative FI, they would do it for you on the phone.

May 25, 2018
3:46 pm
Saver-Mom
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Checked with them, got same story.
Not enough juice to argue it...but yes, poor form!

May 25, 2018
4:53 pm
Loonie
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They need to decide if they're really an online bank or just a branch-deficient regular bank - and stick to the knitting.
This makes them look like amateurs.

May 26, 2018
11:22 am
Doug
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GR said
A telephone rep at Alterna Bank informed me that the promo GIC rates (such as 2.75% for 18 months) do NOT apply to on-line clients, only apply to in branch clients! This restriction does not appear on their website. This seems unfair, as on-line accounts normally earn higher rates than in-branch accounts. By comparison, their e-term deposit rates are pathetic!  

I suspect they were mistaken. I would caution forum readers from relying on heresay quoted by phone. I would recommend, and commend, those forum users from utilizing web chat functions with financial institutions and sharing PDF or screenshots of responses from banking reps.sf-cool

The terms on their rates page explicitly state this is for new money only, possibly for new clients only, and subject to change it any time. It makes no mention of it being an in-branch promo offer. Moreover, while you can access your accounts in Alterna Savings and Credit Union branches to the extent of opening accounts and updating your information, their staff cannot make deposits or withdrawals to accounts prefaced an "e-". So, accordingly, it is non-sensical to think that this would be online-only.

Cheers,
Doug

May 26, 2018
12:12 pm
Norman1
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Alterna Bank has online-only products and in-branch products. However, I don't think Alterna Bank distinguishes between online-only customers and in-branch customers. An Alterna Bank customer is a customer. Period.

Looks like the promo term deposit rates are indeed not available online. Can an existing Alterna Bank customer visit a branch with his/her Alterna Bank ID number and buy a promotional 18-month 2¾% GIC using a cheque from another FI?

May 26, 2018
12:21 pm
Bill
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If you click on Investing the two options that come up on the left are eTerm Deposits and Term Deposits. Click on the first one and it says only full-year terms are available, no 18-month option. Click on the second one and only 16 and 32-month options are shown.

If you click on Rates, then Term Deposits, the 18 month one doesn't even show up.

Not very helpful.

May 26, 2018
1:00 pm
Saver-Mom
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Norman, the rep I spoke to said no, I could not just visit a branch to get the good rate, I would have to start the process over as a new client in branch. I was not the first to ask, he said, and he apologigized for the unclear website. Whoopie.

May 26, 2018
3:17 pm
Loonie
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This is getting more and more absurd!

Doug, these problems have come to light from two usually-reliable forum members making direct inquiries, so i don't think we can dismiss them just because they don't appear to make any sense.

I am completely confused by them saying that you can go to an Alterna Savings (CU) branch to do banking transactions with AlternaBank. When I tried this a year or so ago, they wanted nothing to do with me - and an AlternaSavings branch is quite close to me, so it would be convenient. Are they suggesting you could buy one of these higher-rate GICs simply by visiting a branch of Alterna CU?

May 26, 2018
3:51 pm
Norman1
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Saver-Mom said
Norman, the rep I spoke to said no, I could not just visit a branch to get the good rate, I would have to start the process over as a new client in branch. I was not the first to ask, he said, and he apologigized for the unclear website. Whoopie.  

Thanks, Saver-Mom. That piece of the puzzle is very significant: One has to be on-boarded anew at a branch to obtain Alterna Bank's in-branch products.

That suggests that Alterna Bank has two "divisions" with the same marketing banner "Alterna Bank".

Others in the same situation have the wisdom to give their online division a different banner than their in-branch operations. CIBC uses "CIBC" and "Simplii Financial" banners. Sunova Credit Union uses "Sunova" and "Hubert Financial" banners.

Essentially, the special term deposit offers are from "Alterna Bank (bricks & mortar)". Those of us who on-boarded online are customers of "Alterna Bank (online)"!

What we see on Alterna Bank's web site is a mash of offerings from both "Alterna Bank (bricks & mortar)" and "Alterna Bank (online)". sf-frown

May 26, 2018
4:29 pm
Norman1
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Loonie said

I am completely confused by them saying that you can go to an Alterna Savings (CU) branch to do banking transactions with AlternaBank. When I tried this a year or so ago, they wanted nothing to do with me - and an AlternaSavings branch is quite close to me, so it would be convenient. Are they suggesting you could buy one of these higher-rate GICs simply by visiting a branch of Alterna CU?

With my theory about "Alterna Bank (bricks & mortar)" and "Alterna Bank (online)", I think that would be the case.

The Alterna Savings branches probably act as agents for "Alterna Bank (bricks & mortar)" customers. You're probably a customer of "Alterna Bank (online)" and not yet one of "Alterna Bank (bricks & mortar)". The Alterna Savings branches probably don't want much to do with "Alterna Bank (online)" customers as you found out.

One will need to visit an Alterna Savings branch and on-board anew as an Alterna Bank customer as Saver-Mom reported being told. To be more precise, on-board as an "Alterna Bank (bricks & mortar)" customer! sf-laugh

Now an "Alterna Bank (bricks & mortar)" customer, one will be able to buy one of those higher rate Alterna Bank GIC's offered only to "Alterna Bank (bricks & mortar)" customers and not "Alterna Bank (online)" customers.

That's my theory.

May 26, 2018
5:13 pm
Loonie
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If I cared enough, I suppose I could wander over there on Monday and test your theory. I do have "insurable room" for a new deposit.

This whole mess reminds me of when AlternaBank first started. Some of you may remember that I complained in this space about the fact that both the CU ("Savings") and the Bank bore the same name, Alterna, and, for a while, the same colour scheme, and that is was confusing. This was compounded by the fact that AlternaBank is listed alphabetically at CDIC under the letter "C", where it's hard to find.

Now, it seems there are 3 of 'em, 2 of which are "virtually" indistinguishable!

I had the feeling some folks thought I was being very picky or perhaps a bit dull-witted at the time.sf-wink
However, I think my original criticism still applies!

Get your act together, Alterna!
Pax Shakespeare, a GIC by any other name would smell sweeter!

May 26, 2018
7:09 pm
Bill
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To be clear, Alterna Savings is a credit union, Alterna Bank is a bank. They are two separate, distinct legal entities, no cross-over (like Tangerine and BNS, though both these are banks).

Norman1 is suggesting Alterna Bank has two divisions, in branch and online, and we're discovering that there are differences. But be aware there is no separate CDIC coverage for the two divisions, Alterna Bank's all one for CDIC purposes.

May 27, 2018
5:53 am
Norman1
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Loonie said in another thread
this is what I was told by an Alterna rep a couple of years ago:

Email 21/11/2016: “The ‘Good life Package’ is not something that is available for Digital Banking Clients. The only Chequing account available for our digital bank account clients is the e-Chequing account. Yes there is a charge for ordering cheques on the e-Chequing account the charge is currently $43.93 for a book of 50 cheques. The Good life Chequing package is only offered for non-Digital bank clients. If you were to come into the branch and open up a new Alterna Bank account, you would be able to have a Good life package however it would be under a completely different account portfolio and would not be joint with your Digital Bank account, this is because the Digital bank clients and regular Alterna Bank client accounts operate very differently based product offerings and service available to them.
We recommend you open up the e-Chequing account since the Good life Chequing account cannot be linked to your digital portfolio and you would have to come into the branch to open up an all new Alterna Bank account.”

I concluded I didn't want this account.

Thanks for sharing that, Loonie. That response from Alterna is reveals quite a lot about Alterna Bank's internal structure.

Alterna Bank seems to have some kind of product wall, if not actual separate divisions.

Those of us who onboarded online end up on the "digital" side of the wall with a menu of just their e-products to choose from.

Those who onboard at one of their branches will end up on the "regular" side of the wall with a menu of just their in-branch products.

Those who would do both will end up with two customer profiles and presumably two separate web site logins: One for the "digital" products only and another for their in-branch products only!

If you will be taking advantage of this 18-month 2¾% special term deposit offer on the "regular" side of the wall, then you may wish to also have an account, like the Good Life chequing account, on the same side of the wall to receive the funds on maturity. There might be some issue sending the funds on maturity over the wall to an eSavings or eChequing account on the "digital" side of the wall.

May 27, 2018
7:33 am
Loonie
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Straddling a wall like this is a difficult place for a FI. Customers on both sides will be annoyed and are likely to knock off the guy sitting on top of it all by withdrawing their funds!

And we all know what happened to Humpty Dumpty!sf-wink

May 27, 2018
8:21 am
Norman1
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I agree. It is annoying and made no sense to us customers, who didn't know that there was even a wall!

Alterna Bank's Rates page has rates for their eSavings and eChequing accounts followed by this table of attractive term deposit promo rates:

Term Deposit Promo (Rates effective 2018-05-25) Rates
110 Day Term Deposit 2.10%
1 Year Closed - Annual Interest 2.00%
16 Month Term Deposit 2.25%
18 Month Term Deposit 2.75%
32 Month Term Deposit 2.35%

Who knew that that the products shown are actually walled off and may not be available depending on which side of the "product" wall one is in? sf-confused

This certainly would explain some odd things that have been reported. Alterna Bank's telephone banking page page says one can order a bank draft through their contact centre. However, someone called and was told that they could not request drafts by phone.

I now suspect that customers on the "digital" side of the wall can't request drafts through their contact centre. But, customers on their "regular" side can!

May 28, 2018
11:38 am
Doug
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Norman1 said
Alterna Bank has online-only products and in-branch products. However, I don't think Alterna Bank distinguishes between online-only customers and in-branch customers. An Alterna Bank customer is a customer. Period.

Looks like the promo term deposit rates are indeed not available online. Can an existing Alterna Bank customer visit a branch with his/her Alterna Bank ID number and buy a promotional 18-month 2¾% GIC using a cheque from another FI?  

I don't see that, Norman. Look again. There's nothing in that promo that specifies in-branch only. 🙂

Cheers,
Doug

May 28, 2018
11:41 am
Doug
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Loonie said
This is getting more and more absurd!

Agreed. 🙂

Doug, these problems have come to light from two usually-reliable forum members making direct inquiries, so i don't think we can dismiss them just because they don't appear to make any sense.

Yes, but I don't see anything on the website that says it's in-branch only. We should hold it with some skepticism.

I am completely confused by them saying that you can go to an Alterna Savings (CU) branch to do banking transactions with AlternaBank. When I tried this a year or so ago, they wanted nothing to do with me - and an AlternaSavings branch is quite close to me, so it would be convenient. Are they suggesting you could buy one of these higher-rate GICs simply by visiting a branch of Alterna CU?  

Here's what I duspect, Loonie: you can't do transactions (CR/DR) in Alterna credit union branches, but they can open up other accounts, or a safe deposit box, under your existing Alterna Bank profile. I could be wrong, but hopefully that clarifies what I am thinking here.

As for buying this promo GIC in-branch, yes I'm suggesting that, if it's required; however, I'm unconvinced it's required.

Cheers,
Doug

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