Business Checking Review: Online Azlo Vs Local Branch BBT, 5th 3rd, BOM, Chase


Alittle off the path of SEO and more a look at small business services and startups if you’ve ever wanted to start your own company I’d encourage you to do so yesterday.  Theres nothing more rewarding than knowing you’re efforts are going to be noticed by the boss when bonuses come around, when you’re your own boss.

Think about how many times you’ve rolled your eyes about a stupid company policy that you felt inhibited your ability to do your job.  Now imagine you actually have the ability to do it your way.  Thats the freedom of being your own boss, but we cant do it alone entirely.

Banking is an essential element of business.  While you may get away with running your funds through a personal account for awhile you’ll eventually find that a separate account thats actually intended for business is helpful in determining the difference between business and personal income and expenses.

I opened a Business Checking account with Azlo Bank for Ultimate SEO right after I LLCed it in July 2019.  They were fast and easy to open and fund the account.  I didn’t feel like trekking down to a bank branch locally and having to waste an hour with a “Banker” who was trying to lead me down a financial rabbit hole of merchant accounts, business loans and payroll services when all I wanted was a bank account.  Azlo filled that desire of detachment and ease.

But within the next twelve months I found that detachment to be a flaw more than once … and in big important ways.

When the economy was hurting due to the Coronavirus, small businesses were told to seek out assistance in receiving a PPP loan from your bank.  Azlo Bank was of no value here, they referred everyone to Fundera.com which itself was just a referral system that anyone could go to regardless of their banking history or relationship.  Azlo passed the buck and put us at the back of the line with someone else.

The first round of PPP funds were sucked up quickly and the people who had brick and mortar banking relationships faired better by far.  It wasn’t until the second round that others were able to get any remarkable access to funds through channels that they had no working relationship with.  This was what you have after all if you have Azlo, nothing.

Azlo Bank provides no business loan services, no line of credit or SBA loan programs…it is a business checking account that lacks any other growth to your banking needs.

What could a business bank be for if not to offer business services.  Beyond depository services like a checking account Azlo offers clients nothing.  Its not really even a bank, you can’t mail a check to Azlo … you mail a check to BBVA which is really the bank that you have an account with just no service or relationship with the bank.  BBVA seems to have several of these “facade banks” that are simply window drapes over BBVA.  Wise Banking is another Azlo Bank / BBVA facade bank.  The factors that distinguish them from one another are cosmetic and nameplates only.  You’re dealing with BBVA in either way and just adding an additional level of red tape to an already monotonous process.

The second example of the deficiency in my banking choice became evident upon receiving a check for a grant Ultimate SEO LLC received during the pandemic.  The grant was meant to stabilize local businesses during the pandemic and help aid them in continuing operations without cutting staff and wages.  It would be correct to call these disbursements “life lines.”

Being an “online” bank they offered mobile deposit of checks.  I endorsed the check, made out to Ultimate SEO LLC with my name and the companies name and deposited it into a checking account that was opened in Ultimate SEO LLC’s name.  You would have expected that was sufficient so you might, as I did, write “Deposited” across the check to ensure it couldn’t be redeposited by someone else into another account.

My deposit though was rejected.  Now I don’t mean the check didn’t clear, and I don’t mean it was placed on hold pending the funds transfer but I mean rejected by Azlo Bank for failing to write “For mobile deposit with Azlo” in my endorsement.

Its been a week now and the check meant to save the company, hasnt even been deposited.  I expect if it is deposited it’ll be on hold for a week.  I was directed to mail the original copy into the bank and I did so using over night delivery.  While it could make the multistate trip in 24 hours apparently BBVA Vault Services can’t look at the check and deposit it in the same time period.

It was received at 9:30am and thats the last I’ve been able to learn about the check, while it has been 3 days … I have to keep in mind its also a holiday weekend.  But I know that tomorrow it may still not get looked at and if it does it may be just mailed back to me.  If they do accept it, then it will be subject to holding for another week.

None of this would be the case if I had opened an account at a local bank branch.  The PPP money could have come a month soon, the grant funds could be available by now and I’d have saved the trouble of mailing a check next day air only for it to sit on someone’s desk for the next few days.

I’ve since opened up accounts at other banks, anticipating that AZLO is going to drop the ball again and showing me that it is not a partner in my businesses success.  I found BB&T offered the next best experience to what I was seeking … they too allowed me to open and fund a business checking account entirely online in one visit and they actually have local branches in this area allowing me to seek out answers on foot and BB&T offers business loans and credit.  Its everything Azlo is and everything Azlo is not.

BBT wasn’t the first bank I looked at for an alternative to Azlo.  I attempted to open and fund a business bank account with the following banks and ultimately was unable to complete and fund the application online within a single day.  Those banks that weren’t accessible online:

  • Chase
  • US Bank
  • Bank of America
  • Republic Bank
  • Capital One
  • Fifth Third
  • Wells Fargo
  • PNC Bank

All ended up taking time to complete an application that ultimate lead to the requirement of going to a branch or

So I’d think twice before banking on a facade bank.  Azlo brings nothing to the table.

Source