Technically, it will still operate with the credit card and prepaid card business for consumers, and foreign exchange services for non-retail clients. But for the day-to-day personal banking aspect, it will effectively close.
Citizens Bank had been my favourite financial institution for a few years now, with good rates and service, good products, easy-to-use online interfaces, and a strong corporate social responsibility aspect. Now the time-consuming transfer process begins...
I was very disappointed to hear this news today as well. I've been a Citizens Bank customer since 1997 and have been completely satisfied with their great service and lack of fees, and great products like Green Car loans. As far as I know they were the only bank in Canada to offer clients the ability to indirectly invest in third world microfinance (through their Shared World Term deposit).
I'm sad to see them go and am currently researching where I'll transfer my assets, perhaps HSBC. The hassle of changing all my auto-deposits and auto-withrawals now begins... 🙁
RIP Citizens Bank.
December 12, 2008
December 12, 2009
It's a real shame that VanCity is effectively shutting down what was, arguably, one of Canada's best-conceived "virtual" financial institutions. They may not have had the scale nationally that the major banks or even PC Financial had but they had the backing and support network of Canada's largest credit union, VanCity, and shared resources like the call centre and back-office processing infrastructure. I really thought they could continue to operate.
It was surprising they are selling their property and casualty insurance operation, VanCity Insurance, to The Cooperators and now they're effectively killing Citizens Bank. Perhaps a rebranding and change in structure is in order, to Citizens Card Services Trust Company, since they don't need to be a Schedule I chartered bank to issue credit cards?
As for other options, at the top of my list nationally would be HSBC's Direct Savings Account which offers free BMO/Exchange Network ABM withdrawals/deposits/balance inquiries, free Interac Direct Payment purchases, free direct deposits/pre-authorized payments and free Internet/Telephone Banking. Beyond that, if you require cheques, there's always PC Financial and now ICICI Bank Canada, which has free unlimited chequing if you maintain an incredibly small $500 minimum balance. If you're a B.C. resident, Coast Capital Savings has free chequing accounts which they've offered for years.
Spoke to Coast Capital today and they admitted that they won't give me the same low (prime plus 2%) on a non-secured line of credit. Vancity, in turn admitted that they make their money from service fees.
I think I'm going to play the waiting game and see what VanCity/Coast Capital offers: I don't want a $7 service fee, nor do I want higher interest were I use to my overdraft.
Lets rally Citizens members (as soon as we get over the mourning period) and get the best deal we can, after all we are the tech savy are we not?!
Yes i agree... I called ICICI Bank few days ago... They seems nice.. Only thing; call center is in India!!!! India is a beautiful country and people very nice but i prefer Canadians handling my bank accounts. So ICICI Its a NO GO for me...
Also you have to pay any extra check you need (they give you some check when you start then its 29$ for 50 more checks)
I didnt get a good vibe with PC Financial... They almost forced me to have a credit check to open a bank account. Been able to refuse but was complicated and limited me to a very low withdrawal and debit purchase limit. I actually closed my account with them to move to Citizen Bank...
East Coast seems the way to go... Sure you also have to pay if you require more checks... But does it works outside BC? Should be.. Banking is a Canadian Thing unless you live in Quebec... (I am a quebecker living in NB now..)
Anyways... still have a few months to find a viable alternative.... 🙁
I'm really disappointed with the handling of Citizens Bank of Canada closure. A few months ago I had lot of assets with TD bank than I move all these to Citizens Bank because they better match my values. I mean mostly because they are a credit union bank and they give more back to the community to improve both my and everybody quality of life and they're more open to members feedback. Now Citizens Bank & Vancity are saying they move all my Citizens Bank assets to TD. That's not going to happen. Over my dead body 😉 I'm now shopping for another credit union bank in Vancouver area. Any suggestions for another credit union bank that would match my values?
July 30, 2009
I posted earlier in the thread and since then, have decided to move my assets to both HSBC Direct and ING Direct. Of the two, ING Direct has the best savings account rate currently, while HSBC Direct has the best 5 year GIC rate. They are both great. You should always make sure you don't have more than $100,000 in any one bank since insurance doesn't cover more than that per financial institution, which is another reason I like to always deal with two.
For people like me who rarely ever use cheques any more, and use 20 or less a year, I figured out a very inexpensive way to avoid getting a chequing account anywhere!
Here is the trick:
Your MasterCard provider will usually offer the option of writing MasterCard cheques, which are treated like cash advances off your credit card. They will usually provide about 20 of these cheques for free if you call and ask; sometimes they also send a couple with their statement mailings as promotions. To avoid the daily interest fees associated with cash advances, you simply put your MasterCard into a surplus position (by overpaying it so they technically owe you a credit) by making an extra payment on it equal to a bit more than the cheque amount, before you write the cheque. Just make sure that, considering other purchases you make, the account will be in surplus when the cash advance/cheque is drawn. Of course, this only works for people who pay off their balances in full every month on their credit cards, but surely I'm not the only one out there who never carries a balance on their credit cards. I just use them for the points.
Some MasterCard providers will not allow you to "overpay" your accounts and put them in a surplus position, so shop around before trying this cheque idea. I know BMO Mosaik MasterCards allow you to, but from what I recall Citi cards don't allow overpayments. In any case, do your research and see.
The fee every time you write a MasterCard cheque is 50 cents, at least for my BMO Mosaik MasterCard account. When you consider the costs and fees associated with chequing accounts and ordering custom cheques through a regular bank, this MasterCard cheque trick is a far better deal for low volume cheque writers so they can completely avoid a chequing account!
Anyway I hope these tips help!
I'm still woefully disappointed we are losing Citizens Bank. 🙁
That was helpful advice - I knew there was a way around paying the fees ... I was talking to my friend who banks with PC and she said that if any mess ups happen you have to go into a superstore and deal with the person there and there's usually only one person there. If someone in the line in front of you is filling out a mortage then you have to wait. I guess there is a cost to good customer service.
I'm planning on using PC for free cheques with a minimal balance and using HSBC as my main banking account as mentioned here:
If Coast ever goes national I'll probably move everything over there.
For longer-term savings, not sure yet.
:cry:Very sad about Citizens Bank closing. Will I ever get that combination of ethical banking, great rates, and great service again? If only more people had taken advantage when it was there.
The great rates and benefits were a bonus, but the reason I joined Citizens Bank in the first place was the ethical policy. I don't see the same thing anywhere else, but as far as national wide banks go, it seems RBC is the closest :
They don't have a no fee chequing account, but there is a multiproduct discount if you have two other products eg. a visa and a GIC, they waive the fees; from what I understand. This might work for some people.
TD Bank does some good stuff too and they have no fee accounts for students.
...however I have to say in terms of high interest savings, these banks don't give us anything like what we had with Citizens Bank.
However TD does have a pretty good rate on its TFSA. And, slightly off topic, for car owners, it might be well worth looking into their TD Auto Club as an alternative to CAA.
TD and Royal are both in the top 100 Sustainable companies http://www.global100.org/ ..so their eco-creds are not bogus...TD has just given a substantial endowment to my university for arctic climate change research.