I had an incident with a bank last month , and I just had to blog about it… A POSITIVE one! Imagine that!
I was out of town and needed some cash. So I found the nearest ATM. Despite the $1.50 fee, which I detest and generally avoid, I got my cash. Imagine my surprise when I got my receipt, and I now showed a negative balance! I knew my funds were low, but I am accustomed to getting a rejection if I am that close to the red line. (I don’t take very good records of my debit card – it is its own limiter, I keep the balance low to limit impulse buying, and I seldom carry much cash.)
Back to the story – After being horrified that I now had a negative balance – and wondering how they allowed me to withdraw more than I had in the account, I grabbed my cell phone and contacted my bank’s automatic phone teller to head the overdraft charges off at the pass.
Surprise! The electronic teller informed me that I could not make a transfer from my other account to cover the overage. I had no idea why the transfer would be rejected, there was plenty of money in the account. Steam began to form in a cloud above my head…
I called my bank, and much to my surprise the bank manager answered the phone. This was a total surprise because it was Patriots Day, a semi-state holiday in Massachusetts. After a short chat we sorted it out.
It seems that the bank received one of my monthly statements back as undeliverable, and they were protecting account from identity theft, based on their “bad address hold” policy. Not a problem, Bob the manager released the hold, and told me I could now transfer the funds. I appreciated my bank looking out for me.
I asked about the overdraft charge, since the network had essentially given me money that I did not have in the account. He said the network does not keep tabs on the amount in the account, and yes there would be a charge.
(Take note: this is standard practice with banks that use a network. If they don’t own the ATM, it is possible to withdraw more than you have in the account!)
However, here’s the fabulous part – Bob was going to look at my account the next day and if there was a charge, he would reverse it! I did not ask for it, he offered! Real service… imagine that.
He also told me about an upcoming change at the bank, where you need to “opt-in” to be able to get more out of your account than you have in it. (Automatic overdraft privileges, like a checking account.) The way I keep my accounts, I will pass on the “opt-in.” If I don’t have the money in the debit account, I don’t want a “loan” from the network, and to pay an overdraft fee.
I thanked Bob for his excellent service, realizing I had indeed made a good choice in the bank for both my business and my personal account. My accounts are probably among the smallest in their bank, but still, I was given first class treatment.
Try getting that level of service from a mega-merged-too-big-to-fail bank!
After my thanks, Bob told me about a program where they were giving account holders $50 for bringing in a new customer. Fabulous! I’m telling all my friends about how well I was treated anyway, and now if they become a customer of my bank I get $50!
Hooray for small banks, and great service. Additionally this particular bank is very, very involved in community events via sponsorships labor and direct contributions. That’s the way banks used to be, and that’s the way I like it!
PS. I am writing a letter to the bank president to let him know how much I appreciate the service level. I did that when I opened the account 10 years ago when the branch manager handling my account was wonderful – more than effective and efficient. Its time to let them know they are still doing a great job. In this era of mergers, is good to know that small banks and credit unions still have an extraordinary level of service and local community involvement.