10 June 2006

Open Letter To My Former Bank

It's said, "Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned".

I resemble that.

Read on:

Dear US Bank,

I had been a customer of US Bank for almost 10 years. I have had multiple accounts with you and yet, I have found that you indeed do not care to keep me as your customer. Rather, fattening your wallets with your shares and capital gains are all that you have cared about. Your actions have spoken loud and clear. Customer loyalty and service are no longer important.

My family of six is what you would call the working poor and what you call the average customer. My husband makes approximately $40K a year, last year being an exception having made about half of that with self-employment in construction. I stay home and feed my family budgeted meals and clip coupons. Every bit helps.

This averages, less taxes, approx 3k a month run through our checking account. In this we still keep a positive balance. We also had at one time two children savings accounts, a line of credit and also years ago, a second mortgage in which we never defaulted. I will no longer suffer for my loyalty and am closing my accounts for good.

I was informed in April 2006 that the $42 check order I made the prior month was going to cost me. I purchase four boxes at a time from an on-line vendor that is affordable, well established and that I have used for years. Your policy now states that if your check reading machine jams with my checks, not purchased from your exorbitantly expensive check-printing company, I will be charged a fee for your poor machinery. I wonder how that fits into your 5 star service, passing me the cost of your lack of mechanical soundness.

I am a rare bird that actually reads your disclosures stating that you close business day at 2pm (which I was told by a manager at your Grand Junction, Colorado - Clifton Branch that it's really 3pm). Obviously then, you only adhere to the parts of the disclosure that appeal to you or that make you money.

Your available funds policy is also confusing even for me, a prior Operations Manager and Sr. Bank Customer Service Rep. You insist on drawing funds, not by date or time, but solely on the merits of which transaction is largest. I use my card and if my withheld funds (charged but not processed through my account) are greater than my balance then I get a $35 fee. Having worked in banking I can attest to the fact that less than 10% of people actually balance their checkbook. Most go by their balance, which you supply incorrectly. If you are dinging me for overdrafts, you can tell me my actual balance.

Calling the toll-free number in which you offer checking information, the balance given is not what is always my balance depending on the day. Online, my statement showed in April of 2006, overdraft fees pulling on a balance that cover the checks. This is horrible software that is misleading and wrong, giving erroneous information about the account.

  1. Account Balance $80.00
  2. Outstanding charges $50 (just a click or two away to discover what has affected the account but not posted to the account)
  3. Check needing to clear $60

Regardless of what my $80 balance says, you will return the check to the vendor and charge me a fee of $35.

My balance is now $45, not enough to cover the $50 charge.

You proceed to take out another $35. I'm now $70 lighter and in the hole. You add little $2 and 3$ charges at $35 a pop and you have hundreds of dollars over an overlooked transaction. Such as what happened to me.

If I don't hear from you within five days of negative activity, regardless of the week and a half it takes to get any notice mail or otherwise, I'm charged $7 a day until I get the balance back to a positive one. Wait. Is that a positive actual balance or available balance?

This process of yours, with a $42 admitted error of mine, cost me $665 dollars in April of 2006.

$665 is more than half my mortgage payment and put us in a bad spot coming out of our construction downtime in the winter. You agreed to reverse three of charges after I talked in length to four employees and finally a District Manager's Assistant. I was denied the mailing address to your District Manager, just given a phone number of his assistant. How nice to know I can reach the Powers that Be after almost 10 years of loyalty and you holding half a dozen lucrative accounts of mine.

I do not typically overdraw my account and can count every occurrence on one hand, one being bank error. I would be able to avoid confusion, having funds taken out immediately by using my pin number but you have a $.25 fee for doing so. It's greedy policy to charge me to use my own money that you are earning interest on.

It is said that every customer with a bad experience shares it with 20 people. Out of those 20 people, 5 people tell 3 more. Let's add this up shall we?

From my word of mouth, my experience with US Bank has now traveled to 28 people.

Consider approximately ¾ of those people take my word and don't bank at US Bank due to my little story of your stellar policy. We now have 21 people who's business you will lose. Feasibly, half of those would actually boycott US Bank due to horrible policy. So, let's see how this will effect your institution.

If we use the median income and median cost of housing for 2004, 10 people should cost you thus:

  • Median Income (stats from 2004 which should be higher in 2005 but lets just roll with it)
44,000.00 per household x 10 = 440,000 a year in deposits

  • Median Housing Cost (again from 2004)
221,000.00 to purchase a home with a loan of $221,000.00 say, on 7.5% over 30 years x 10 people means $5,562,936.00

Total this up and my $665 complaint then cost you a grand total of $6,002,936.00.

This doesn't even touch savings, CD's, stock, student loans, IRAs, and all those bank fees you will undoubtedly lose out on...etc....

Now if that hasn't gotten your attention, this might. I have a blog and the little counter people tell me I have had approximately 8,000 hits on my blog since December. That's roughly 1,300 hits a month that will read your exploits. I just hope it was worth well over six million dollars.


A Former Stockholder/Customer Now Moved to A Refreshingly Honest Bank

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