Recently my wife and I made a real estate investment and in the course of that transaction we were exposed to 2 banks we had no previous relationship with that caused us to re-evaluate our existing banking relationships.

We currently have accounts at 2 different banks and for simplicity were considering consolidating it with one of those banks — Bank of Montreal.

The 2 banks — TD and RBC — which we had no previous relationship, are offering a very attractive interest rate.

However, when we asked the Bank of Montreal, which we have a long standing relationship with, if they would match the offer — their answer was that we needed to submit an application and they would consider it.

My Perspective: The Bank of Montreal made us feel like I had to qualify to be their customer and that they would only treat me as a preferred customer if they felt it was worth their while. We had been their customer for over 30 years — and yet they were treating us like they knew nothing about us.

On the other hand, the TD & RBC banks both let me know they were interested in our business. Of course I knew that a preferred rate was subject to application — but without even seeing my full financial picture they were willing to let me know their best rates.

When I posed the question to the Bank of Montreal branch representative, they were embarrassed by the “head office” position, but their hands were tied.They also acknowledged that they were aware that TD & RBC were very aggressive in seeking new customers so the information was not news.

Do you have processes in place that treat your existing and potential customers like they have to apply to be your customer. Or do you welcome them with open arms.

I fully appreciate that all customers are not alike — or as profitable — but don’t insult them by making them jump through hoops before you have enough information to make a decision.

Wouldn’t it have been far better if the Bank of Montreal had indicated they did offer to match the preferred rate subject to qualification. I am sure the local bank representative could have easily determined whether we were likely to qualify based on 30 years history with that branch.

Instead, we have decided not to consolidate our banking with Bank of Montreal and are now less loyal than we were and potentially open to a relationship with a new bank that demonstrates they are interested in our business.

If you are not building loyalty with your customers everyday — beware that your competition isn’t sneaking in the backdoor with better customer service.