Priority Banking: What Is It And How You Can Sign Up for It
Ever wondered why there is always a counter (or an entire floor) dedicated to “Priority Banking” at your bank?
Ever wondered why these counters are empty most of the time even though the bank is bursting to the seams with customers?
In this article, iMoney lets you in on what this increasingly popular banking service is all about, and how you could sign up for it if you’re reasonably well off.
What is Priority Banking?
As the name suggests, Priority Banking refers an exclusive set of banking services or financial products reserved by banks for selected customers who fulfill certain criteria. Priority Banking is also known as “Privilege Banking”, “Private Banking”, “Premier Banking” and other similar terms usually denoting exclusivity.
How do I become a Priority Banking Customer?
Different banks have different criteria for their Priority Banking membership. Generally, it involves meeting a minimum deposit or investment amount with the bank in the realm of RM250,000. For example: if you have RM50,000 in savings and RM200,000 in an investment account with the same bank, you become a qualified candidate.
Some also allow a minimum individual premium mortgage or house loan of RM1,000,000 with the bank as a criterion that would make you eligible for Priority Banking.
In theory, Priority Banking memberships are granted only “by invitation” from the banks, but in practice, banking customers with substantial deposit or investment in their account should have no problem “requesting” for the membership even if they were not invited.
What if I can’t maintain the minimum requirement?
Some banks will charge a specific fee if you do not meet the Premier eligibility criteria for a specific month. So say your minimum deposit and investment drops to below the criteria of RM250,000 required for one month, you will be charged a fee of around RM150 and above.
For other banks, your membership for the Priority Banking will be considered for termination and you will be issued a warning letter. Failure to act within their stipulated time will see your account terminated or re-designated to another type of account.
Common benefits for Priority Banking Customers
There are hundreds of variations when it comes to Priority Banking privileges, as most banks are constantly making alterations to give what they feel their elite customers want. Generally, some of the benefits include:
- Special counters at all branches dedicated to serving Priority Banking customers, which means less waiting time during a bank run.
- A dedicated Relationship Manager assigned to answer financial queries, undertake banking transactions, help manage wealth and generally serve your financial needs.
- Early notification of special promos (such as high-interest fixed deposit) as well as preferential considerations to partake in these promos.
- Better banking rates which cover anything from savings and fixed-deposit accounts to home loans.
- Easier approval for mortgages and loans.
- All kinds of freebies, which can be anything from tickets to “invite-only” seminars, credit cards with wavered annual fees, to special deals and discounts with local retailers.
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