My bank purchased an investment bank in 2008. As a long-time customer, I had a small amount of optimism that the purchase of the investment bank would lead to some benefit to me, their banking customer.
Changes happened in the intervening months – my bank brokerage account and money market account were moved to the investment bank. Fine. The letters have different typeface, but the online banking and everything else was still seamless. I was still waiting for the payoff – some way in which this merger benefited me. A call from an investment banker or financial advisor? A recommendation for better interest-bearing options for any spare change in my account? Better investment advice (up to this point I’ve received none, after all…)?
Yesterday I got the answer in the mail. My formerly linked Checking and Money Market funds are now being severed – no more transparently putting cash into interest-bearing money market funds. In fact, if I take no further action, my checking account balance will be zero in May. That sounds like a recipe for bounced checks, doesn’t it? Did I mention that my bank (and all the other banks) have raised their bounced check fees? If I don’t want to have a zero dollar balance in my Checking Account, I have to fill out a form and sign it and mail it in (no online options) to the investment bank to tell them to sever the accounts and put my cash in the checking account. Or, I can call their 1-800 number and try that approach.
Hm. I think, why don’t I speak to my Bank, which is, after all, the institution I have a relationship (of sorts) with? I talked to them – on the phone, and at my local branch. They are actually powerless to help me, except by referring me to an investment bank financial adviser, because they’re not allowed to touch that side of the house.
I’m fairly disappointed at this state of affairs- an organization I never chose to work with (investment bank) has now made several very poor customer management decisions on behalf of the organization I chose (the Bank). They’ve dramatically increased the likelihood that I pull all my investment money out and place it with an institution that is a little more customer-focused, and one that consults with me before changing my financial fortunes.
Unfortunately, I think the institution has lost sight of their most important asset: their customers. (there’s a lesson in there for all of us)