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2B Wednesday, February 22, 2012 // The Statement
THE JUNK DRAWER
from last week: strangers and food random student interview
Which restaurant are you most likely by kaitlin williams/ illustrations by jeff zuschlag
I Wedesday Febuary 2, 212 //The tatemnt 7E
Cents and sensibility
Why TCF isn't the leader and best of student banking
By Steve Zoski
to go after reading this piece?
DO YOU KNOW ANYBODY
The Statement is calling for
nominations for its annual Students of
the Year issue.
Please send a brief paragraph stating
why a student deserves to be chosen to
Students must be currently enrolled at
the University of Michigan.
Multiple nominations are permitted.
Nominations are due February 24.
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Welcome to the Random Student theyi
Interview, where we're secure key. I
enough with our masculinities probl
to wear purple whenever we solut
So what do you got there in your hard
pocket? That looks tasty. answ
A big bag of candy. Ther
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Seems a bit weird, eating kid- So, I1
shaped candy. ple.A
They're delicious. I'm a
Is that how you like to start off purp
every Friday night, with a big Reali
bag of child-shaped candy? I'm W
Actually, I'm going to be at the outfit
library. That's not ideally how I'd butI
like to spend any evening, but I
have an exam on Tuesday.
Q 9 P
Oh. What subject? No.
Ick. That's totally outside of my (Laup
realm of understanding. How er's s
does one study for an Engineer- back1
Uh, just go over all of the home- How
work you've done throughout the He's
semester and after that maybe the
professor will give you a practice Well,
exam, which sadly isn't the case for ion s
this particular class. Anyway, typi- with
cally you'd just work through the Sure.
practice exam and try to make sure
you understand how to do all of the What
problems, which isn't hard because dres
Magazine Editors: E
usually give you an answer
If you can actually do those
lems without looking at the
ions, then you're all set.
as an English major, there's
ly ever really a'correct'
e's not a correct answer in all
r classes. We have to back up
ou ever get to build things
it all problem sets?
notice you're wearing pur-
As you can see by my hair,
huge fan of the color. What
on think about men wearing
le or pink?
men can pull it off. That's why
wearing it. Maybe an all-pink
t would be a little too much,
oone's ever given you shit
use you'd kick their asses?
ghs) This is actually my broth-
hirt. I stole it before I came
old is your brother?
a senior in high school.
, you both have a great fash-
ense. Want to help me out
t do you think about this
s? I bought three today at
Editor in Chief:
H&M and I don't know ifI want
to wear this out.
What's the occasion?
I'm going to my friend's birthday
and then maybe the Heidelberg.
Oh I've been to the Heidelberg. I
played blackjack there once.
Do they have tournaments and
(His roommate Mike walks by)
Mike: Hey Justin!
We're doinga Random Student
Interview. Do you want to join?
Justin: He's actually my roommate.
Oh cool! What are you doing
Mike: Studying for an exam I have
Justin: We're in the same class.
Nice. You guys should study
Justin: Oh, we will.
Look! There's University Presi-
dent Mary Sue Coleman. We
should get her in on this.
- Justin and Mike are Engineering
Have you heard of a bank called TCF?
Or perhaps a better question -
have you heard of any other?
About 20,000 University students current-
ly have TCF Totally Free Student Checking
accounts linked to their Mcards, according
to Bob Borgstrom, executive vice president
and director of branch tanking at TCF Bank.
Last year, TCF was voted best bank in 2011 by
readers of The Michigan Daily.
Appearances suggest TCF is the leader
and best in Ann Arbor student banking.
A simple Google search, however, tells
another story. Negative reviews abound on
RipoffReport.com, a website where custom-
ers can file reports over the Internet about
scams, frauds and bad service experienced
at companies. On Yelp, where the public can
review businesses, the TCF branch location
on South University Avenue earns an average
of one star out of five. There is even a website
dedicated to negative TCF reviews.
Complaints about TCF range from com-
plaints about the "turtle speeds" of the tell-
ers to the overdraft fees to the apparent
difficulty of closing an account.
One Yelp user said of the TCF branch loca-
tion on South University Avenue, "If the TCF
stands for Truly Crappy Financial services,
then I'd say that the people who founded this
bank aptly named it."
TCF is the most prevalent bank within
walking distance of the University campus,
with five branches and 25 ATMs on campus
and around Ann Arbor. Most students hold
the TCF Totally Free Student Checking
Account, advertised on the website as "easy
to use and provid(ing) the convenience nec-
essary for busy students," with no minimum
balance requirement, no monthly mainte-
nance fees and the option to use Mcards as
ATM/debit cards. With a $25 opening bal-
ance, these new accountholders can earn a
free Michigan sweatshirt emblazoned with
the TCF logo.
However, what the website does not pub-
licize is that these checking accounts do not
earn interest and require a $10,000 mini-
mum balance or 10 qualifying withdrawals
to avoid a $2.95 monthly fee. "I kind of thought we had to," Allemon
Jason Korstange, TCF's senior vice presi- said. "Because they said you get this account
dent and director of corporate communica- and you get a free hoodie and it's with your
tions, said he did not believe the minimum Mcard."
balance would be an issue for most students. TCF Bank is not recognized as the official
"We put it out there just because we bank of the University and students are not
do it for our other accounts, but truly the required to sign up for its services.
issue is, just use your account and it's free," TCF is, however, permitted to label itself as
Korstange said. the "Official Bank of the Mcard" after being
chosen by the University in 2001 to have
"I hated it wvhen I Mcards linked to users' checking accounts.
University spokesperson Rick Fitzgerald
was a stud ent.B t said the University decided TCF offered the
best proposal for a beneficial Mcard relation-
S.ca us t ship.
i o c"Itprovides some benefits to students as
well as faculty and staff who choose to take
wvas valkable and I advantage of it," Fitzgerald said. "Here is
an opportunity to provide some lower cost
banking services and link it to the Mcard."
Once a student informs TCF that he or
" she has graduated, his or her Totally Free
canpus. Student Checking Account turns into a TCF
Convenience Checking account. The mini-
-Kathryn Lampi, University alum mum $10,000 balance still holds, but month-
ly fees increase from $2.95 to $9.95. The 10
Other banks do not generally require such qualifying withdrawals requirement turns
a steep minimum balance to avoid monthly into 15, and the checking account still earns
fees. Bank of America's MyAccess Checking no interest.
account requires a $1,500 minimum bal- University alum Kathryn Lampi signed up
ance to avoid the fee, while the Chase Total for a TCF account before her freshman year.
Checking account only mandated a $500 Based on her experience she said students
minimum balance. thinking about signing up for a TCF account
When LSA freshman Jessica Allemon should reconsider.
came to orientation last summer, she signed "I hated it when I was a student," Lampi
up for a TCF Bank Totally Free Student said. "But it was on campus, it was walkable
Checking Account because she thought it and I didn't have a car on campus."
was mandatory for all students of the Uni- After she graduated, Lampi said she was
versity. hit with overdraft fees of $28 for each day
her account was overdrawn by more than $5.
Whereas most other banks would charge a
fee on the basis of one overdraft, TCF charg-
es overdraft fees by the day.
Thus, if someone overdrafted today but
didn't discover it until three days later, that
person would be $84 in the red. Compared
to most banks - where there's a standard
$35 charge - this seems pretty steep to some
"All of their fees got me in the end," Lampi
said. "They don't tell you that. They just kind
of market all of the shirts and stuff to eigh-
teen year olds."
Korstange said TCF Bank took negative
reviews very seriously and tried to model
fees to be comparable to its competition.
"What we try to do is look at the major
banks in the area and then try to be just
below those," he said. "We try to review the
market and try to be just below what our
Business Prof. Scott Rick - who's writ-
ten a number of journal articles on personal
finance - said banks have always offered
plans to entice students with benefits like
free checking because banks are confident
they will make their money back when
accountholders make mistakes.
"You take a loss initially on the free
account, but you more than make it up with
the fees later," Rick said.
Central Michigan University alum
Andrew Bennett, who used TCF Bank while
living in Ann Arbor, also said he does not rec-
ommend that anyone use TCF's services.
"The fees were both hefty and numer-
ous, and seemed to constantly be on the
rise," Bennett wrote in an e-mail interview.
"Between the fees and my dissatisfaction
with their 'customer service' during my
years with a TCF account, I was eventually
convinced to drop them as my bank."
Rick advises that students carefully moni-
tor their money and be "vigilant."
"Just understand what the banks are get-
ting out of this, which is either loyalty, and/
or they're waiting for you to trip up," Rick