Wednesday, October 27, 2021

It's Not Going Well

Dear PNC Bank, 

I love(d) my bank (which is now your bank).  

I found my bank after waiting for an hour with G'ma at the local BofA branch, only to find that our person had just left for lunch and our appointment would have to be postponed and no, there was no one else who could help us right now, which was really quite late to be honest with you and that was when G'ma said "These people don't want our business.  Let's go."  Even through her dementia, their message was clear.  

I drove past the small building around the corner with Compass Bank in an attractive blue font every day.  One of those days soon after, I went inside and met the bankers and the tellers.  I moved my money from BofA into their competent hands, and I've enjoyed every encounter with everyone who works there for more than a decade. 

How often do you get to type a sentence like that?

Compass Bank was swallowed whole by BBVA;  that went off without a noticeable hiccup.  The staff wasn't stressed; the ambiance was still friendly; the lobby with a smiling customer or two and bankers at the ready; and, most important, all my passwords and user names worked or were easily changed.  

And then, over the weekend of October 8-12, my lovely little bank was devoured by a monster.  It's only because I love the location and the wonderful worker bees that I don't take my money and run, as I told The Banker this afternoon.  

The problem started when I was unable to log into my account on the 13th.  I chalked it up to the system being overwhelmed by the transition; since I didn't have any pressing need to know about my money, I pushed the issue to the back of the To Do List.  When it came up again this morning, things were worse.

After a mind-numbing series of clicks and typing of digits I managed to log on..... to my not-for-profit's account, and only that account.  My personal account was no where to be found.

I didn't panic. I drove around the block and went into the bank, where, instead of seeing my usual friends, I was confronted with a young woman of questionable interpersonal skills.  I asked her about my missing account and she said I had to talk to a banker.  I said that I was quite worried because my account seemed to be lost.

It's not lost came out from behind her mask, with a lot more attitude than I thought my fears warranted.  It's right here on the screen.

Can I see that?


Seething, seeing that all the bankers were busy, I left to have lunch with Amster.  Before I left the parking lot, I remembered that the teller told me to go online and make an appointment.  I logged on to do so, only to find that I could not make an appointment for a business account.  Only personal accounts could be serviced this way.  I'd have to call the bank directly.  

I pressed the phone number conveniently located at the bottom of the pop up, expecting my bank to answer the phone.  Unsurprisingly, instead I was directed to the automated voice banking with its myriad of prompts, none of which could tell me where my money was hiding in their system.

An hour or so later, I returned to the scene of the crime, signed onto the waiting list, and tried, again and again and again, to find my account.  It seemed more productive than Candy Crush Saga, though it turned out to be just as much of a waste of time, and without the endorphin rush. 

A smiling Banker ushered me into an office and heard me out, reassuring me that my account still existed, and that I was not alone in feeling frustrated with the system.  

We thought we were moving up, but these systems are so old..... We got no training, or not enough training, and we're making it up as we go along...... Yes, that Muzak is the same that you hear as a customer; we don't have a dedicated worker-to-worker help line.....all the while, on my phone and on the bank's desktop, we each kept trying to figure out where my account was hiding.

The Muzak stopped and a disembodied voice listened, offered no solutions, and suggested we try signing in using all the different ways we could imagine and maybe one would work.  She hung up the phone and we stared at one another.

That's it?  That's the help the bank is giving?

That's it.

There was a way to fix it, but the system either wouldn't let The Banker enter any information or, when it did, the form wouldn't upload (all of which The Banker had told the voice).  Not that it mattered - the conversion would take 10 days and I have to pay my bills this week.  Everything I need was in my account; I kept trying to find it.

As the next step, I installed the PNC app on my phone.  I used the log in from my laptop; I saw only my not-for-profit's account.  I decided to ENROLL myself using my old user name and the bank told me that I already existed in their space.  The endless loop continued.

So, I made up a new user name, and lo and behold there it was!  My account was smiling up at me from my screen.  The not-for-profit's account was no where to be seen, but for the moment that didn't matter.  I could see my money again.  Perhaps the software cannot link the accounts.  Perhaps PNC thinks I am two faced, Janus, Sybil with only 2 personalities.  At this point, anything is possible.

The home page was fine, but my joy was short lived: the Bill Pay page was empty.  Not a single payee had transferred over.  As I've written before, I pay most of my bills on-line, opting for e-bills sent directly to the bank and letting the bank's software do the math.  

Because I am an old person, PNC will allow me to receive paper statements; otherwise they charge a fee.  Perhaps they want to save the planet, maybe it's just another revenue stream,  but I smiled when I read about it in the information they sent (in the mail).  I thought that they were looking out for my supposed age-related inability to function well in cyber-space.  Obviously, given today's events, that was a misapprehension.

Now I am faced with a decision - reenter all the information or begin to use up the last 150 checks from BBVA and pay the bills by hand.   

Given my experience with PNC's software so far, I decided to listen to TBG's old school advice and write the checks myself.  

I'll get him to do the math.


This is the first half of the story.  The second half will come tomorrow; it's a little bit sunnier.


  1. I'm going to be a bit nosy here, don't you have an educational retirement account? If so, is there an educational employees credit union in your city? I have found our credit union to be a god-send all these many decades. Ours is pretty large, many branches and ATMs scattered all over town, and there was even an ATM in San Francisco I could use, free of charge, when we had the apartment there. Your experience with your bank makes me cringe all over.

  2. So far my experience with PNC has been fine, I've only looked up my account online and haven't been into the branch yet. The ATM experience was OK too - I liked that they didn't list my name on the screen, although they did show my email address. If I start having any problems I won't think twice about going to the credit union which houses my husband's and the joint household account. Over the years I've had great customer service from Compass and BBVA so hopefully PNC will follow in that. It's been interesting to me that now I'm hearing PNC ads on television - my bank was never advertised before!

  3. Uf duh. Well, good luck. We do all of our banking through our School Employees Credit Union. It has been merged with another, but so far no glitches like you are dealing with.


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