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Banks

tankgurl
February 01, 2016 02:39PM

Registered: 1 year ago
Posts: 29

Hi I did a search on Banks and didn't come up with a solid answer.

What major banks are there that I can access on the mainland and on St. Croix? I will be moving there for a year and need a bank that I can use for direct deposit for my job in NY and access to use the ATM and bank on on St. Croix?

Thanks!

Tankgurl

Re: Banks

daveb722
February 01, 2016 02:56PM

Registered: 2 years ago
Posts: 439

Get an E*trade checking account as well and transfer funds out of it into your VI bank, that's if you even need a VI Bank. You can direct deposit into Etrade, and use any ATM and they refund the fees. I pay all my bills from them as well, very easy website to use. Also when you leave VI, you won't have to change banks again. I have used them for 15 years and they are excellent to deal with. I only keep a local bank in case I need a certified check or other immediate issue, but keep very little in it.

Re: Banks

tankgurl
February 01, 2016 03:12PM

Registered: 1 year ago
Posts: 29

daveb722 Wow. Thank you I'm going to look into that.

Re: Banks

STTsailor
February 01, 2016 05:26PM

Registered: 1 year ago
Posts: 449

FirstBank works relatively well for my needs. They also have branches in Fl i believe. Not sure if First has a branch on Stx.

The problem with Etrade or Chwab account is that if you need cash to purchase a car you will not be able to get it out of ATM.

Overal banking is more difficult here then on mainland. Seems most users here do not trust the banking esthablisment, don't use direct deposit, electronic banking. Rudimentary business is done in person (check deposit, get $60 cash, pay wapa bill). ATMs are often out of cash or out of service.

It took 3 hours of my time to open checking account and at the end I was asked to type in all my info into banks computer database. I thought I would have to order pizza to the branch.

Re: Banks

Oldie1
February 01, 2016 06:03PM

Registered: 2 years ago
Posts: 191

I have used Bank of St Croix for personal as well as my business for many years without issue.
I receive wire transfers routinely from the states as well as Europe and Canada

Re: Banks

tankgurl
February 01, 2016 07:24PM

Registered: 1 year ago
Posts: 29

Hmm glad you mentioned buying a car because I will be doing that there. Yes so big withdrawals would be for paying rent (if they want it in cash) and buying a car. So are there none of the major banks like Citi or Chase, etc.? I do have a direct deposit for my job currently at Bank of America so I need a bank for that that I hoped I could also bank with on the island.

Re: Banks

STTsailor
February 01, 2016 10:54PM

Registered: 1 year ago
Posts: 449

No big banks like Citi or BoA.
Easy to move money from mainland. I'm banking w Wells Fargo and just do direct electronic transfer to my FirstBank. Cost is $3.

Re: Banks

AandA2VI
February 02, 2016 12:36AM

Registered: 5 years ago
Posts: 2,084

You should look into the minimums or whatever its called. I remember wanting a VI bank when I moved here but they wanted like 2K at all times or something ridiculous. Many of my friends complain about the local banks so I just never got one.

Been here 3.5 years and never got a VI bank. I use stateside banks - One a credit union, one Chase (joint account) and my fiancé uses BOA. They all have mobile check deposits now anyways and if you call will up your withdrawal amount for big purchases. Some people don't "like" stateside checks - like landlords but I always pay a week early so that it clears (takes more time for stateside checks) on the day the rent is due. Ive never had anyone turn away a stateside check. Bought two cars here also. One I just put on my credit card which gets paid off from stateside bank anyways. Plus you get the points -

I wonder if you even need a VI bank account to buy a house here?

Re: Banks

LoveUSVI
February 02, 2016 01:16AM

Registered: 2 years ago
Posts: 28

Hi Tankgurl,

Since you are already banking with BoA, you may want to consider that they have a relationship with ScotiaBank that allows you to withdraw money from ScotiaBank's ATMs with no fees in St Croix and other Caribbean locations including STT and BVI. Here is the link: [locators.bankofamerica.com]#

It seems that ScotiaBank has one center in St Croix: [intl.scotiabank.com]

Additionally, you could pay bills from your BoA account with no fees if you know the phone number or email of the recipient. Check this link [secure.bankofamerica.com][[0020]]by[[0020]]phone
(it requires you t sign into your BoA account to see the information).

Or you could use BoA Pay Bill service to send them a paper check (although the mail could take long time to come from the mainland.

Alternatively, you can keep your BoA account and open a local bank account. Usually, the transfers between these two accounts are free.

Hope this helps. Have a great time in St. Croix!

Re: Banks

Scubadoo
February 02, 2016 01:22AM

Registered: 3 years ago
Posts: 1,680

Quote
AandA2VI
I wonder if you even need a VI bank account to buy a house here?

No. I certainly didn't. But if you want to get a mortgage it will have to be with a local bank.

Re: Banks

LoveUSVI
February 02, 2016 01:28AM

Registered: 2 years ago
Posts: 28

Quote
AandA2VI
I wonder if you even need a VI bank account to buy a house here?

I have purchased property in the USVI a couple of times without any need for a local bank account. The funds were transferred electronically from my bank account to the bank account of the closing attorney.

Re: Banks

fdr
February 02, 2016 06:31AM

Registered: 9 years ago
Posts: 1,125

Before the rise of photo deposits, having a local bank account was essential. Nowadays, if you already have a stateside bank account with this feature, I would advise any newcomer to hang onto it and see whether you even need a local bank account.

As AandA said, local banks usually have fairly high minimum account balance requirements if you want to avoid paying a fee, unlike stateside banks, which usually offer free checking. I don't know of any local bank offering a free checking account option with no minimum balance.

When I need cash above a certain $ amount, I cash one of my paychecks at the local bank on which the check is drawn. If that weren't an option, as with your direct deposit, the math is still such that what I would need to pay in ATM fees would be less than what I would pay monthly to have a local checking account. I haven't looked into the E*Trade option myself because I've used another online bank for so long, but it sounds like a good approach.

I'll never forget when I first moved here -- I cleaned out one of my stateside bank accounts and took that money in the form of a cashier's check so I could quickly have access to my funds in my (already set up) FirstBank account. That was how I learned that FirstBank treats cashier's checks, which in any stateside bank are just like cash, as regular personal checks and subjects them to the same 5-business-day hold!

Local banks do not work like stateside banks in many ways, so as long as you don't expect them to, you'll do fine.

Re: Banks

Donnasculpts
February 02, 2016 07:18AM

Registered: 3 years ago
Posts: 39

Quote
Scubadoo
Quote
AandA2VI
I wonder if you even need a VI bank account to buy a house here?

No. I certainly didn't. But if you want to get a mortgage it will have to be with a local bank.

Realizing this is slightly off topic as the OP is only here for a year, but we purchased a house on STT from a stateside bank. Flagstar. Merrill Lynch and others will also write a mortgage, with stateside terms. I believe Ditech also does.

Re banking, we also use Bank of America with no problems at all. Do it all online and cash from Scotia ATM.

Have fun on St. Croix!

Re: Banks

SunnyCaribe
February 02, 2016 07:18AM

Registered: 7 years ago
Posts: 493

I would suggest looking into whether USAA is an option available to you. If you are eligible then your banking and auto insurance problems are solved.

Re: Banks

SausageInTheCan
February 02, 2016 12:00PM

Registered: 4 years ago
Posts: 396

Banks here are a ripoff! First bank wants you to maintain 1k in your account to get free checking. Scotia bank wants 2.5k. Do yourselves a favor and keep your state side accounts. Greedy banks don't deserve your business.

Re: Banks

STTsailor
February 02, 2016 12:16PM

Registered: 1 year ago
Posts: 449

One problem with scanned remote deposits I encountered is low limit on individual checks ($2500) with monthly limit of $5000. Not adequate for business use.

As mentioned above. Banks are expensive here but I find FirstBank reasonable with free checking while maintaining $1000 balance.

Re: Banks

fdr
February 02, 2016 01:37PM

Registered: 9 years ago
Posts: 1,125

Quote
STTsailor
One problem with scanned remote deposits I encountered is low limit on individual checks ($2500) with monthly limit of $5000. Not adequate for business use.

Wow, that's half of my bank's limit ($5000 per day, $10K per month). A good point, though -- make sure deposit limits won't be an issue if you're dealing regularly with paper checks rather than direct deposit or online transfers to get money into your account.

With FirstBank, any check except another FirstBank check would take 5 business days to clear into my account. With my online bank, my funds are available the next business day every time (and sometimes sooner). Plus I don't have to stand in line or hope the ATM is working! So much easier.

Re: Banks

LoveUSVI
February 02, 2016 02:21PM

Registered: 2 years ago
Posts: 28

There seems to be a wide range of limits of how much can be deposited online with a smartphone. I think that for BoA, the limit is $25,000 per month.

Re: Banks

STTsailor
February 02, 2016 04:21PM

Registered: 1 year ago
Posts: 449

Limit in my post was for Wells Fargo.

Re: Banks

speee1dy
February 02, 2016 05:15PM

Registered: 9 years ago
Posts: 8,227

i have a bank of aMERICA AND A bank of stx . happy with both

Re: Banks

tankgurl
February 03, 2016 09:59AM

Registered: 1 year ago
Posts: 29

Thank you so much for all the excellent information!!!

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