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Updated timeline
November 8, 2013
5:53 pm
Rick
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February 17, 2013
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Nov 8, 2013 - Interesting week. Phoned on 6th to see where my RSP funds were. Apparently, I didn't have a RSP account to deposit them to, so they were holding on to the check until I opened one. Strange. I have been doing a weekly automatic deposit to my RSP account for the last 3 weeks. Ahhh! But that is not my account! That is a spousal account I have been depositing to. Not good! Stop the auto transfers immediately! Spouse has 0 room in her RSP limit. What happened?? Although I filled out the application using my SIN, I filled in the spousal contribution section of the application thinking it was part of the beneficiary designation. What a doofus! So...how do we fix it? First, fill in the on line RSP application (properly this time), then write and email or fax a signed letter explaining the situation and processing will collapse the spousal and change it to mine. Did that Wednesday nite, it was processed Thursday, and all funds were in my new account Friday. They even backdated all the deposits and the transfer to the dates they were received. The 50 bux to reimburse me for the transfer fee CC charged me was also deposited. Well done. I am VERY happy with the customer service dept, especially Pam for helping me straighten out the mess I had made. Thanx Pam! sf-kiss

The bills I had scheduled to be paid today went through no problem. With the LOC all set up, the funds weren't transferred out of my savings first to cover them. Once again, the bills were paid at some ungodly hour of the morning before our paychecks were deposited so the balance went into the negative for a few hours. Don't expect that there will be any fees involved.

Set up a recurring EFT to resume my auto contributions starting next week. Have to remember to set it up as an EFT with an external bank as opposed to a transfer between my own accounts. Still find that weird.

November 20, 2013
5:49 pm
Rick
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Nov 20, 2013 - Received and email that funds have been transferred from the TFSA account of the external institution and watch for the welcome package in 7 - 10 days. Can still access CWB via their web site, but now shows no accounts. Hoping interest will not miss a step as this is technically an in-house transfer.
The end is Near!! everything is ticking along nicely. Will summarize after we can access the TFSA.

November 30, 2013
8:04 am
Rick
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Nov 29, 2013 - Received our 3rd "Welcome Package" with the TFSA info. Yet another account number, so now we have three separate account numbers with 3 separate log ins and passwords. Virtually the same package as the other two. Didn't want to wait for the security PAC letter to arrive, so phoned up and got registered and access online. The CWB account was closed out, interest accrued added, and transferred over to CDF with no close-out or transfer fees. sf-laugh I guess that's it. Everything is set up and runniing smoothly. Here Is the timeline:

Checking / savings - 14 days - Sep 16 initial application until Sep 30 before it was up and partially functioning. I say partially because...

Line of Credit - 39 Days -Sep 16 - Oct 25 - Applied with initial Checking application, but had to do correspondence via snail mail to get it activated with my signature, and that took extra time.

Checks - 50 days - Sep 15 - Nov 5 - Sent in the order form Oct 12 with the LOC declaration and got the checks Nov 5.

So basically y 14 days to get access. but 50 days to fully functioning with checks in hand.

RSP - 39 days - Sep 30 - Nov 8. That includes about 2 week of having my funds in limbo being transferred between institutions. Ok...I messed up contributing the funds on this one, so I used the date they received my funds, not the date they were actually deposited.

TFSA - 16 days - Nov 4 - Nov 20. Internal transfer between CWB and CDF. Forms to sign and snail mail involved again, so overall, not bad.

November 30, 2013
7:44 pm
Rick
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Pros

Above average interest rates
Interest rates are above the big 5 and most of the other on line institutions. BIG selling point in these days of low rates, makes up for a lot of the "Cons".

Excellent customer service reps
Every one of the CSR's I talked with were friendly, courteous, knowledgeable and helpful. Small but important point.

Western Canada based (sorry Ontario!)
Hey...I live in the west....it makes a difference to me.

Process of "updating" system.
I'll put this in the Pros section, even though we don't know how the system will "improve". There are a few things that need improving, IMHO, and the update is supposed to be completed by the end of 2014 according to the CSR. Every time they do an upgrade at my work, it end up making thing worse. Given the timeline here, hopefully thing will actually get better.

Cons

Customer service hours
Good if you live east of Alberta, not so much if you're in BC. Once everything is set up and running smoothly, this won't be such an iissue

Separate accounts/log-in for registered/non-registered accounts
Have to log out of your everyday banking to access your RSP accounts. With reg chk/sav, RSP and TFSA accounts, you have 3 separate account numbers and log-ins. They treat a transfer from your checking to your RSP/TFSA as if it were a transfer with another institution. Never seen that before in any of the banks I've dealt with.

Transfer delays between registered/non-registered accounts
An "immediate" transfer between your own accounts can take a couple/few days. Transfers within non-registered accounts is immediate, but non-registered to registered is not. Just plain unnecessary if you ask me.

Posting time of bills/transfers/paychecks
Scheduled bills are paid in the early morning hours of the requested day. Transfers the following evening and paychecks, depending on your employer, are posted AFTER the bills are paid...IF you have the money to cover them. Otherwise, cash is transferred from your savings to cover the bill payments, UNLESS you have their line of credit. Whole thing needs to be revamped.

No recurring bill payment option
Kind of inconvenient if you have bills that are consistently the same amount due on the same date every month. Have to either set them up every month or individually set up a series to be paid monthly. Really????? Potential for missing payments there.

Don't save linked account information
Every time you want to do a inter-institution transfer (including from your own checking to your own RSP), you have to manually enter your branch and account number. Potential for a input or memory error that could cause delays. Some sort of extra security measure as I understand it. Wouldn't want to have someone break into your account and start transferring money to your other institutions using saved information.

Has stepped interest rates on RSP savings account
Minimum balance of $2500.00 to get the better rate. At the time I wrote this there was a differenc of 1.1% (.25 compared to 1.35). KeyReach RSP Savings is the only account they seem to have this policy on.

No RRIF
Won't hit 71 for another 15 years, so I'm not going to worry about it right now. Rules may be massively overhauled by then.

Multiple Accounts
Cant access all your registered / non-registered accounts with one log in. Only bank I have ever dealt with that does this. Reconsidering moving our TFSA funds for this reason.

Interest paid yearly in RSP savings account
Somewhat disappointed to discover this fact. I do weekly contributions and like to keep close tabs on the growth/balance of my RSP savings as I build them up for my GIC ladder. Monthly interest payments are more of a reassurance than a necessity. In fact, if you consider logging on and updating your records monthly a hassle, feel free to add this item to the "Pros" column. On the flip side, calculating / paying interest this way costs you between 2 and 3 bux interest per year on each 25 grand at todays interest rates.

Summary

Despite the fact the Cons outnumber the Pros by more that 2 to 1, the interest rates are the key factor in deciding to go with CDF, and that (for me) outweighs the Cons. If the extra work required to use them as your main bank is a bit much, I would at least go with their savings accounts just for the interest rates. Their TFSA rate is pretty good, better than most 5 year GIC rates , and I use it for the wife's TFSA only because I use Peoples Trust and don't want to keep all our eggs in one basket. Since I jumped in with both feet, I will keep them as my main bank and hope the upgrades make everyday banking a better experience. Until then, I liken banking with them to running a 3 legged race tied to a one legged partner. You can make the finish line, but you'll be doing most of the work.

Thanx for checking out my post. Hope it helps! sf-laugh

December 1, 2013
8:41 am
Peter
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May 15, 2007
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Thanks for the review! Feel free to post it on this page as well:

https://www.highinterestsavings.ca/profile/canadian-direct-financial/

As for having separate logins for TFSAs and RRSPs, that does seem odd. They didn't do that with my account, where I have both types of accounts and can access them with the same login.

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