Since I got married almost four years ago, I have been a big proponent of the military-friendly bank USAA. I like the ease of the "one-stop shop", where you can handle all of your financial and investment business on one easily-accessible online site. Even more, I like that USAA refunds your ATM fees if you use ATMs from other banks; and I also love the friendliness of its customer service associates on the phone.
USAA has done wonderful things for my husband and I. We hold checking accounts, savings accounts, mortgage accounts, IRAs, and insurance accounts with them. Last week, when we accidentally overdrafted due to a late billing on their part, they refunded us the full overdraft charge. And they have always been quick to note a questionably fraudulent charge on our credit cards, mailing a new credit card via FedEx immediately. And the auto insurance department was wonderful to work with after I got into a car accident last month.
Our one difficulty with USAA involved obtaining a mortgage two years ago. We had a very difficult time getting in touch with the mortgage agent assigned to us, sometimes having to be transferred to four or five different people just to speak with someone else when she wasn't available. Moreover, the agent failed to ask us for a critical piece of documentation until the night before our closing date--and a frantic series of communications occurred at the last minute, resulting in a loan approval only MINUTES before closing time. We were extremely disappointed in USAA's mortgage service and the undue stress they put us under during the process. This is why I was happy to see that USAA has begun opening financial centers in military-heavy areas across the country.
Just this month, USAA opened its first financial center in Virginia Beach--only the second such center in Virginia (the other is in Arlington) and the 15th across the nation. This will allow clients to speak face-to-face with USAA representatives--something that could have helped us avoid the difficulty in communication we had with our mortgage approval process. Also, in recent years, USAA has been expanding its eligibility to military vets and their families. I am happy to see that USAA has been thriving, even in these tough economic times. I think the opening of their new building shows an awareness of their customers' needs and a willingness to meet those needs.