First Community Bank makes checking accounts a “Free for All”
Houston-based Bank Takes on Big Banks and Gives Customers a Sounding Board with Launch of “ihatemybigbank.com”
Feb 08, 2012
HOUSTON – Recognizing growing frustration with big bank fees, First Community Bank (FCB) announces its commitment to giving Texas customers truly free checking accounts. The free checking has received phenomenal response, spurring record growth for the bank, which has launched a new website, www.ihatemybigbank.com. The new website gives customers a chance to vent their frustrations about big bank fees and to learn how they can find free checking in their neighborhoods. There are ten branches in the general Houston area, with four branches in north Houston and Montgomery County: 1150 W. Main at Quinn Road in Tomball; 13080 Highway 105 West in Conroe; 1400 Research Forest Dr. at Pinecroft in The Woodlands; and 18230 FM 1488 in Magnolia.
“At a time when most banks are walking away from giving their customers what they want, we’re rededicating ourselves to giving people what they want,” said Ron Coben, chief operating officer for the bank. “And that’s free checking, not some stripped down, cleverly phrased, tricky account where the checking is free only if you follow what the big banks want. Ours is just plain free.
“When a customer opens a checking account at our bank, there is no minimum deposit. There is no monthly fee. The checking account also includes a free debit card, free online banking, free online bill pay and free notary service,” said Coben. “As a part of the Allpoint network, our customers can use an ATM for free at over 43,000 locations, the largest free ATM network in the world. And we provide three free cashier’s checks per month and offer the first order of checks for free.”
Big banks that continue to offer “free checking” usually do so with some catches, Coben noted, like imposing fees for falling below minimum balances or requiring direct deposit. “Over the course of a year, a consumer can easily spend over $100 on these fees. Everyone else is weaving in the ifs, ands and can’ts to make you feel like it’s free. We’ve been free,” Coben added.
Coben sympathizes with the big banks, and their unfortunate need to charge customers new fees to make up for lost income on changing debit card fees and other regulatory limitations. “When you’re that big, a few more customers won’t add much profit. That’s why big banks have to charge their current customers more,” said Coben.
“We don’t think or act like a big bank,” Coben added. “We want to grow with new customers, not new fees. Our folks in our branches really like meeting customers, knowing your name and working to serve you. We believe there is still a place for that in banking.”
When not sharing war stories on ihatemybigbank.com, consumers can learn more about First Community Bank at www.fcbtexas.com, or by visiting a nearby branch to meet really friendly people.