Ally Bank Foolishly Losing Our Business
GMAC Bank has re-branded itself as Ally Bank. Mr. ToughMoneyLove is not impressed. The reason? Ally Bank has not changed it’s new account policies and fixation on credit scores. Because of that, we are moving the rest of our money away from Ally/GMAC to a bank that values customers with money more than customers with credit scores.
First, some history of how Ally Bank earned the “fool of finance” designation.
Last year I suggested that our second son open a savings account at GMAC Bank because of the convenience and relatively high interest rate being paid on deposits. He took my advice and made the attempt. The morons at GMAC refused to take his money and open the account. Why? Because he had no credit score. Here was a young man with a good job, debt free, positive cash flow, and positive net worth. He has a bright financial future. He simply chose not to use credit. Good for him.
I was incensed. I called GMAC and asked to speak to a supervisor. I wanted to know why GMAC would not accept money from a customer who had it. I was given the usual “that’s our policy” explanation. When I probed further and asked the business reason for the “policy” all I was told was that “our investors require it.”
That was enough for me. I immediately started calling other online banks and asked if they did credit checks before opening new deposit accounts. Most said that they did, but only to verify identity. Then Capital One Online Bank told me that it did no credit check. If you have money, they want it. How revolutionary. So guess where I moved most of our mortgage pay-off money?
I left a little money at GMAC Bank, just to keep our options open if the FDIC insured deposit limits changed. When I learned this past week about the re-branding to Ally Bank, I decided to contact them again. I wanted to know if their policies had changed. This is the email I sent:
I am a current GMAC now Ally customer. Previously I recommended that my son open a savings account at GMAC bank. He has a good job, positive cash flow, positive net worth, no debt and an excellent financial future. However, to my surprise and chagrin, GMAC refused to accept his money because he has no credit history.
What a brilliant marketing strategy that was – turn away new customers who have the strongest balance sheets and are most likely to develop a profitable deposit relationship with a bank, because they choose not to use credit. After I learned that, I moved most of our GMAC money to Capital One Online Bank, which did not have this ridiculous policy. I am now deciding what I should do with funds remaining at Ally and with future deposits. So this brings me to my question:
Is Ally Bank continuing the GMAC Bank policy of not opening accounts and not accepting deposits from people who have never used credit and therefore have no credit score? Or has a return to reason and logic accompanied the change in name?
I look forward to your response. Thanks.
Two days later, I received this response:
Thank you for taking the time to contact Ally Bank. At this time our account opening policies have not changed. Ally Bank has the same requirements as GMAC Bank has in place.
Once again, no attempt was made to provide a sound business reason for the “policy.” Instead, a confirmation that only the name has changed. Meet the new fools, same as the old fools.
Now I am sure there are readers out there who will tell me that there are good reasons for a savings bank to require that a depositor have a credit score. Short of weeding out criminal elements and terrorists, at this point I don’t care what they are. I refuse to play by rules that FICO and the other members of the credit score mafia are trying to impose on us.
Most consumers bend over and take it. Some become credit-score junkies, as if the person with the highest score wins. Not me. I don’t know my credit score. Never have. I focus on building wealth. That seems to work, as it did before FICO began taking over our financial lives.
I accept that I am a lonely voice in the credit score-obsessed wilderness on this. So be it. If I can vote with our money – as in this case with Ally Bank – that’s what I’m going to do.
Image credit: Oddsock