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Ending a Relationship

Copyright © 2021 by David E. Ross

No, this is NOT about ending a personal relationship. It is about ending a business relationship.

This is an important principle in the Internet world: If a business wants to maximize its customer base, it must support a broad variety of browsers. While old, I believe that the "Viewable With Any Browser" campaign is still a valid concept.

Late in 1969 or early in 1970, I became a member of the SDC Employees Federal Credit Union, which later merged with Western Airlines Federal Credit Union. When Western Airlines merged with Delta Airlines, the credit union dropped "Airlines" from its name, becoming Western Federal Credit Union. More recently, it again changed its name to Unify Financial Credit Union (Unify FCU).

While it was still the SDC Employees Federal Credit Union, I became a member of its Supervisory Committee, similar to an audit committee. That made me an officer, which meant I was prohibited from obtaining a loan from the credit union. Through a reciprocity arrangement, officers of the SDC Employees Federal Credit Union could become members of the RAND Employees Federal Credit Union and vice-versa, which I did.

Eventually, the RAND Employees Federal Credit Union merged with the Litton Industries Employees Federal Credit Union. Several years later, that credit union's board of directors decided that it would be better not to be a federal credit union. In the process of converting to a state credit union, the name was changed to Premier America Credit Union (Premier America CU).

Although I kept my account at Premier America CU, Unify FCU remained my primary "banking" institution for 50 years. (A credit union is not a bank. There are indeed differences, which is why I also have an account at a real bank.) I paid most of my bills through a Unify FCU checking account, generally via the Web; and my pension was automatically deposited monthly to that checking account. I had a Visa credit card from Unify FCU, the balance on which was automatically paid each month from the checking account

On 1 October 2020, I paid my bills as usual via the Web. On 3 October 2020, I received an E-mail message from Unify FCU that my monthly statement was available. I downloaded the statement, reconciled it to my check register, and then printed the statement — along with the Visa statement — for my files.

On 8 October 2020, however, I tried to login to my Unify FCU account to see if a particular check had cleared. All I saw on my computer was a pale lavender window. I called the credit union. They had updated their Web site, and my SeaMonkey browser was no longer functional for online banking with Unify FCU. After a lengthy telephone call, I was informed that I had to change my browser to Chrome or Edge if I wanted to continue doing online banking. Microsoft's Edge browser was developed primarily for Windows versions later than mine, versions under which various applications that I use cannot be installed. Google's Chrome browser — and much else of Google — is notorious for having no respect for user privacy.

In any case, I really like SeaMonkey. I no longer wanted to deal with Unify FCU. I thus decided that, rather than changing my browser, I would change my primary banking to Premier America CU.

Migrating to Premier America CU required several steps over a period of four months —

9 Oct 20Open a checking account at Premier America CU and apply for a Master Card. (Premier America CU does not issue Visa Cards.)
15 Oct 20Temporarily install Google's Chrome browser in order to maintain access to my Unify FCU accounts.
19 Oct 20Notify Unisys (a prior employer) to redirect my monthly pension benefit to Premier America CU.
19 Oct 20Setup PeoplePay at my "real" bank for transferring funds to Premier America CU.
20 Oct 20Setup PeoplePay at Premier America CU for transferring funds to my daughter.
26 Oct 20Pay off all charges on my Visa card at Unify FCU.
27 Oct 20Claim a cash reward on my Unify FCU Visa card, which went into my savings account.
31 Oct 20Because it takes more than a month to redirect my pension to Premier America CU, write a check against my Unify FCU checking account for the November pension benefit and deposit it at Premier America CU.
30 Nov 20Mail letters:
  • To Unify FCU, informing them why I am in the process of closing my account.
  • To Premier America CU, my "real" bank, and Vanguard Group, requesting that they continue to make their Web sites compatible with older browsers.
1 Dec 20Verify that my December pension benefit was deposited at Premier America CU.
3 Dec 20Download the November statements for my Unify FCU accounts.
3 Dec 20After verifying that all checks that I wrote had cleared my Unify FCU checking account and that no new charges were made on my Visa card, cancel the checking account and Visa card.
4 Dec 20Disable the capability to make electronic payments to Unify FCU from my "real" bank and from the Vanguard Group. (This was never setup for payments to Unify FCU from Premier America CU.)
2 Jan 21Download the December statement for my Unify FCU savings account.
27 Jan 21Get IRS Form 1099-INT for my Unify FCU accounts.
1 Feb 21Verify that interest for January on my Unify FCU savings account is posted.
4 Feb 21Close my Unify FCU savings account, which ended my 50-year relationship with that credit union.
5 Feb 21Remove the Chrome browser from my computer.

As I closed accounts at Unify FCU, I obtained cashier checks and deposited them at Premier America CU. The use of cashier checks limited the "holds" placed by Premier America CU on large deposits. I obtained documentation from Unify FCU that my accounts were closed at my request, which might prove useful if closing the accounts adversely affected my excellent credit score.

By the way, Premier America CU has three offices closer to my home than the nearest Unify CU office.

6 February 2021

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