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Only Child slams bank “service”

Only Child ponders bank disservice

Only Child ponders bank disservice

I don’t physically go to my bank branch very often anymore but when I have to I expect service.

Am I being naive here?

Take this morning. Five minutes after the bank opened, I walked in on this first day of another month. At that point, the waiting lineup wasn’t too bad. (It became worse and longer as I waited). However, there were only two tellers working. The other two wickets were open but no one was there unless the bank (it is Scotiabank by the way.) is hiring invisible tellers.

The bank manager was flitting back and forth from teller to bank patrons, so on his way back to his office I spoke to him and wanted to know why on the first day of a month, a very busy day, there wasn’t a full slot of tellers from 9.30 a.m. (when the bank opens). He said, “another teller is coming in at 10 a.m.).” I blasted him with why all four tellers aren’t in when the bank opens.

“There should be a full slate of tellers from when the bank opens on the first day of the month. When I’ve come in a day or two later the tellers always mention how busy the first day is. And today, I have to go to my safety deposit box and that will leave one teller at the counter.”

After re-iterating that another teller was coming in at 10 a.m., he added, “I’ll keep that into consideration for future months,” he said. Then he passed the buck. He said he would talk to the branch officer in charge of staff and he would have to get permission from head office.

Oh really? He is the bank branch manager, so he should have charge of that.

Oh, I get it, the unspoken words. Bank costs. Let the tellers work part-time and scramble the hours around to cut costs. This doesn’t go with the big profits of Scotiabank. At the end of August, 2016, reports from Scotiabank stated that the bank  had a profit of over $1.9 billion in its third quarter. This amount is up from last year’s $1.8 billion

Something is screwy with all this.

After Mr. Bank Branch Manager returned to his office, I had a discussion with the young woman behind me and  a senior in line behind her. This lady, a retired teacher, had a walker,  but I’m glad she had something to sit in. The three of us agreed with what I complained about to the manager. And I’m not surprised it was me that did the complaining – I’m a former journalist turned unofficial consumer advocate, the latter by necessity.

The safety deposit necessity today  (as it is the beginning of every month) was the only reason I had to go into the bank branch. Usually I pay bills online, through direct payment from bank accounts or credit cards, and the odd one by regular mail. I’m not a fan of ATMs so I do a lot of my “bank withdrawals” using Cash Back at grocery and other stores.

If I could get money from my bank accounts through my computer I would.

Or I could pull a Stephen Leacock, the late Canadian humorous author who wrote a funny piece about a fellow who kept his money in a sock.

Hmm. Might be worth a try. Oh, I guess not, for security reasons. But I wouldn’t need a large sock. Might be a use for one of the odd socks people seem to accumulate.

Comments, please. What are some of your “customer service” experiences with financial institutions?

And that last word “institutions” might just say it all.

Cheers.

Sharon

Only Child Writes

 

 

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Filed under Bank service, Bank service complaints, Banking, Only child

Only child learns lesson in banking service

Only Child ponders that banking situation

Yesterday I had an experience with my bank that throws out the usual premise of  “big banks, big bucks, low concern for the lowly customer.” It might have been because I was polite when I complained instead of my usual storming in and shouting.

To backtrack. It was the first day after the long Canada weekend and I expected somewhat of a lineup inside the bank.  I had to go in as I had to get into my safety deposit box. When I arrived, counting a couple of older adults (well, older than I am), nine people were ahead of me, including the two standing at the only two working tellers. This bank branch has four teller wickets. A third teller, a fellow I’d never seen before had the “another officer will be pleased to serve you” sign up and was busy doing whatever tellers do when they close but still have to finish up. The lady ahead of me in line told me she’d already complained – to a loan officer as the manager wasn’t in and that third “teller” with the closed wicket was really a teller. I waited in line 20 minutes and during that time counted 12 people and one dog behind me in line.

The teller usually takes you to the safety deposit boxes, but because they were so busy she had another staffer do this. Clearly, he’d never done the safety box detail before and I had to instruct him. I maintained my civility with him and the tellers – none of this was their fault.

And maybe deep down in my subconscious I remembered another visit to another bank years ago right after my mother died. Her pension cheque had just arrived and my godmother-aunt came with me to deposit it in my now late mother’s account. I had no idea if I could do this but my godmother said it was okay as I was just depositing it into her account, not cashing it. And I was going in as me, so my name would be on the deposit slip. In my memoir I write about this scenario.

What I do remember is something else connected to money. Mom’s pension cheque for August arrived just after she died.

My godmother takes me to Mom’s bank…

“Just fill in the deposit slip in your mother’s name and deposit the whole amount,” my godmother says. “Don’t even tell them she’s dead. You can do that in a few days when the cheque clears the bank.”

I hold my breath, keep my mouth shut and pass the deposit slip (copy made for my records) to the teller. As she looks at it, I imagine someone, God, my conscience personified, but definitely not my Mom, shouting in the teller’s ear.

“Julia Langevin is dead.”

The teller rubber stamps the cheque and the deposit slips, gives me one, and puts her copy and the cheque in her drawer.

The cheque clears. Of course the estate lawyer has to notify the company issuing the cheque of her death. They write back instructing me to return the cheque if it hasn’t already been processed,

(excerpted from You Can Go Home: Deconstructing the Demons, copyright 2011 Sharon Crawford)

The key words above are “if it hasn’t already been processed.”  The key word’s for yesterday’s bank incident could be “how to process.” I decided to phone head office and complain about the branch situation. No contact number was on the bank’s website so I phoned the general 800 number in the print phone book. Here a fellow told it me was the office of the president for complaining, and gave me a phone number…the French connection. Despite my French maiden name I can’t speak much French. So I left a cryptic message in English and checked online under the bank’s name and “president complaints” and found the English phone number.

I phoned and a pleasant man answered and took down my information. I made it clear that I gave full marks to the two tellers who were trying to cope. He replied, “thank you.” He took my name and phone number and said he would get back to me. I expected to wait a few days but it was more like a few minutes. The problem was one teller quit unexpectedly on the Friday, the third teller was a student who could only come in for the morning, and a new manager was coming in on Wednesday. And this bank representative apologized to me for the bad service.

So, is this a case of the old axiom of catching more flies with honey than vinegar? Or can bank employees – even connected to the president’s office – be polite and quick to sort out the problems?

Take your pick. Now, if only my bank balance could increase that easily.

Cheers.

Sharon

Only child writes

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Filed under Bank service, Bank service complaints, Banking, Civility, Complaining tactics, Only child, Only child memoir