Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Bank Of America And Nature's Imponderables

 
Bald eagle, adult perched on snow. European Starlings, Great Black-backed and Herring gull in flight, Maine, February 2009
Bald eagle impassively perched on snow while European starlings fly by. There is a Great Black-backed gull in flight. If you look under its left wing, a starling can be seen flying right under it! I wish I possessed such great manuevering skills.

     I enjoy studying the behaviors of living things. The whys of behaviors fascinate me. The study of living things is what got me into writing, photography and birding. Why do small birds attack big birds that could kill them? Where do butterflies spend their winters? How do they get there? Why do humans dream what they do? Do birds dream? 
     The questions and subjects seem endless. Photography gives me the chance to study things more closely than I might be able to in the wild, on the fly. Writing allows me to investigate and think about the questions. I am quickly sucked into the life of others’ and their relatedness. The imponderables are usually magic for me, but not always.
     For over a decade, I have served as court appointed conservator to my grandmother’s financial affairs. Prior to my involvement, her progressive blindness, dementia and paranoia had spun her life into a hot mess. Too impaired to operate her microwave, she stuffed it with mail and used it as a file cabinet. Bills went unpaid or were paid sometimes three times over. She had accounts in fourteen different banks. One of the first things I did was to consolidate them into one account in the bank she had been with the longest, Bank of America. It would prove to be a big mistake.
     Every month, I must deposit a bundle of assorted checks to my grandmother’s account. Monthly, she receives about a dozen checks from her health insurance company as refunds in varying amounts. I also receive rent checks from the tenant who lives in her house. 
     Bank of America , though the tellers do recognize me, insists that I present to them photo identification, my social security number and deposit slips, though I am putting money in, never withdrawing money. On occasion over the years I have forgotten to take a deposit slip. When this happens, I have to go home, fifteen miles away, and then return to try again. They make no exceptions. 
    The tenant who rents my grandmother's house writes the rent checks to me. Bank of America won't take these checks from me because I don't have an account with them, nor does the tenant. There is more than enough money at all times in my grandmother’s account to cover it should it bounce. Nonetheless, they will not take the checks.
   I am forced to take the rent checks to my bank, The Bank Across The Street. They give me twelve hundred dollars in cash, which I take back to Bank of America and deposit. Cash they will accept. Then, I deposit the insurance checks.
     To complicate things, the tenant got very behind on the rent. I threatened him with eviction, where upon, he coughed up a check for six thousand dollars (yes, he was very behind). When I took that check to The Bank Across The Street, they had no problem cashing it, but they did ask if I'd take a bank check. They wanted to avoid draining the cash drawers. I said “Certainly.”
     While the teller cut the check, I groused about their competitor. She looked up from her desk. "Wait, did I hear you right? All you’re trying to do over there is put money in? Deposit it?" I said yes. "Here at The Bank Across the Street, we don't care who you are if you're trying to put money in," she giggled. I laughed and took my check. Though they cash my checks without question, I still have to make two trips to two banks and stand in line each month just to get my grandmother's business done.
   And, though I was bearing a bank check, Bank of America still gave me a hard time when I tried to deposit it because the check was made out to me, rather than to my grandmother. Though I had a deposit slip, I still had to provide identification and my social security number. I glanced up at the security cameras. I wasn’t doing anything wrong, but I felt like they thought I was which made me feel like I looked guilty.
   Months went by. I dutifully took a deposit slip with me each month. Knowing they would demand it, I had my driver's license ready, no fishing in my handbag keeping the officious tellers waiting. That's the worst part of it, the looks they give me. They are cold as stone, not a smile in the lot. Oddly there isn't a bit of noise. It's silent. No phones ring, no doors close, even customers don't speak in the curious, infectious cold. Each teller window has a jar with wrapped, hard candy, presumably for customers. I have never seen anyone reach for one, nor would I dare.
     Eventually, the tenant again fell behind on the rent. I again threatened eviction. This time, he produced a seven thousand dollar check. I also had nine insurance checks. At The Bank Across The Street I didn't wait for the teller to ask if a bank check was okay; I suggested it. "Certainly, who would you like this made out to," she asked. Remembering that the last time, Bank of America had hassled me about the check written to me, I gave her my grandmother's name. “Edith P. Bailey, B-A-I-L-E-Y, I told her. Behind me, two customers chatted about daffodils breaking ground and other signs of early spring. A woman laughed from an office. Smiling, I said thanks and took my check.
     At Bank of America, I stood in line in the tomb of a bank. While waiting, I had a creeping feeling that I had forgotten a deposit slip. I'd have to hope for the best. At the teller's window, I put the stack of checks onto the counter. The insurance checks were on the top and the bank check on the bottom, neatly piled. Pointing to my grandmother's name on the first insurance check, I said "I'd like to deposit these into her account, please." Looking at the check without touching it, as if it were a dog pile, the teller asked "Is this you?" I said, no. "It's my grandmother's account. I just want to deposit these checks for her. I'm her conservator. You have all the documents on file."
     I'm of the school of thought that more bees are lured with honey than vinegar. I'm very nice to service people. After all, they are people just like me who are trying to make a buck to pay their bills. They don't make the rules. To get things done, I can be as sugary as necessary. I smiled sweetly at the teller. The young man, who stood ram rod straight wearing a shirt so starched his mother must have done it, said, "I need photo ID please." With the tip of his finger, he slid a piece of paper to me, "And your social security number." I thought “thank God, he hasn't insisted on a deposit slip, how nice." He stared at the computer screen, his hands moving silently across the keyboard. He stopped. "There is no record of an account here." His eyes looked dead.
     At first I thought he was speaking to someone else. I looked over my shoulder; no one was behind me. Then, it dawned on me. "Oh! No, I'm sorry, you looked up my information, but it's my grandmother's account, not mine,” I smiled. He looked at me with reptilian loathing. "Yes. I realize that. Are you on this account?" Somehow, it wasn't a question, it was an accusation. "No, I'm not. I'm the conservator. You have the information in the computer." I couldn't help it, but I think I winced. "You need a deposit slip," he stated flatly. I wanted to say "No, you need a deposit slip, I don't!" Instead, I sighed deeply and left.
     Out of sheer despair, I looked around in my car on the off chance that I had stashed some deposit slips for just such an emergency and voila! I found two! I nearly trotted back into the bank. After waiting in line again, I handed the stack of checks and the deposit slips to the young man. "You only need one," he said, sliding one back at me without looking. I took it, jamming it into my handbag. One by one, he processed the nine insurance checks. When he got to the bank check at tthe bottom of the stack, he stopped moving. "This check is made out to someone else's account."  Like a dunderhead I said "What?"
     "This check is made out to Edith P. Daily.” In one, smooth motion, he slid the check across the counter and spun it around toward me without seeming to actually touch it. Blinking, I took it. "Oh my God! I just had this written at The Bank Across The Street! The teller must have misheard me or just mistyped it." My voice trailed off. I could feel the hives rise on my neck. For an instant, I thought he was going to press the hot button for the police.
   I prayed that The Bank Across The Street would own the mistake and rewrite the check. I had cashed the tenant's check and had no proof of anything, only a bad bank check. Seven thousand dollars could be going up in he said she said smoke!
     Thankfully, there weren't any problems. After a few minutes of trying to figure out how to reverse a bank check, and then rewrite it, I was given a new check. Back to Bank of America I went.
     When I got there, there weren’t any customers. “Great, I won’t have to wait in line,” I thought.  Seeing the young man, I went eagerly to his window. Brandishing my new check, I said "Look! It’s straightened out!" I declared cheerfully "We can try this again!" Just as I started to hand it to him, he said "I'm with another customer." I looked around, terribly embarrassed; I flushed. I regard line jumping as the ultimate in rudeness. "Oh, sorry, sorry," I said scurrying behind the velevet rope. Suddenly, I realized there wasn't another soul in there besides him and another teller. Nor was he on the phone. After what felt like eternity, the other teller, whom I knew to be a manager, said icily, "I'll take the next customer."
     I handed her the stack of checks. The young man shuffled papers, never looked up, nor spoke. No one came in to the bank. The manager teller said “I’ll need a deposit slip.” I’ll admit that right at that moment, some of my sugar had begun to burn.
     “I just gave a deposit slip to that young man minutes ago. He has one right on his desk.”
     She repeated dryly “I’ll need a deposit slip.”
     Pointing to the young man’s work area, I said “I just gave him one! He hasn’t even had time to put it in his drawer yet!” I thought I might actually blow my stack. “He has one!” I snarled.
    The starched young man who was playing with his invisible customer, so could not wait on me, stopped what he wasn’t doing and said to me “You have another deposit slip.”
     I wanted to jump over the counter, slap him in the head and kill him. Granted, I did have another slip, which I had jammed into my handbag, but that was not the point. Clearly, Bank of America sent all of its employees to the Rush Limbaugh School of Customer Service! I was nearly driven to the point of madness by this outrageousness! I wondered if I had something in my handbag that I could use as a weapon. I was not turning over the deposit slip. Chapstick? Could I stab him to death with a chapstick? Could I suffocate him with wads of used Kleenex? Yes, I’d jam them down his throat and watch his face turn blue while he struggled. That seemed fair.
     I imagined the police storming through the doors. I imagined the two tellers on the floor, the manager slumped, dazed, the young man, dead. His face would be purple and he’d have tissue bulging from his mouth. His starched shirt would be a mangled, hot mess. I imagined being handcuffed and stuffed into the back of a cruiser. I imagined being in jail. It felt peaceful. I’d have a lot of time to spend on the imponderables of the behaviors of living things.
     In the end, I collected my composure and handed over the deposit slip. I had spent hours on this project, just trying to deposit my grandmother’s money into her account. I had stood in line repeatedly, made five trips between banks and been polite until it nearly killed me. I was tired.
     That night, my sleep was fitful. I dreamed dreams of birds and prisons. Checks with indecipherable names blew through the air like leaves. Great flocks of nameless black birds flew through the skies bearing deposit slips in their bills. They screamed and cried “Why, why, why?” 


This post was selected as Editor's Pick on the cover of Open Salon (http://open.salon.com/cover)
It is the fourteenth of my works to be chosen. 

72 comments:

  1. What a wonderfully entertaining account of your frustration with B of A's branch bank tellers! One can only hope that someone will send a link to your blog to their corporate office (as if they'd care).

    You gotta publish this stuff in a book!

    El Jefe

    ReplyDelete
  2. Oh Robin, Your post evoked that part of me that wants to jump in in the defense of those people that I have become fond of and write that BOA a nastigram. Then I realized, that that is exactly what you had done and I do hope you cc'd the BOA headquarters, attention 'somebody important'. What a crock, how much trouble would it be to move things to the bank across the road? When our local bank was bought out by Camden Nat'l and let all the longterm employees go I took my checking $ and my $1000. christmas club to another bank! There I told them. LOL

    ReplyDelete
  3. AnnieO, thank you for your moral support. The prob is that her social security and other things are electronically depostited into that account. Those things make it a beaurocracy monster to change. So, I'm pretty much stuck with it. And yes, one does feel so powerless. XO

    ReplyDelete
  4. Thanks, El Jefe! I appreciate the compliment very much. This was a long post, a 'short story,' if you will. I feel like it's a lot to ask people to read. So, that it is well recieved and worth the trouble is great! Just be glad I'm not making you stand in a bank line!

    ReplyDelete
  5. Xanex Robin...it works wonders I hear. Great story!

    ReplyDelete
  6. I wish I could say that this is unbelievable, but it's really not. BOA are awful. They've got my money market funds as they took over the bank that originally held the funds. I've been meaning to close that account for a long time. It's not a lot of money but you remind me that I really need to get on that!

    ReplyDelete
  7. What a good story! They don't(tellers)make it easy do they ? Can't you change
    banks? I think I'd be inclined to.
    bmc

    ReplyDelete
  8. Xanax, hhhhhhm. Next trip. I'll call you Vclark to get that prescription right away!
    Beth, yes, take the money and run. The gross thing is that I left out a lot of details of what has gone on at that bank over the years in the name of fluidity of the story line. I can hear myself at senate hearings soon. Bail out? WHO????
    bmc, thank you. the reasons I don't change banks are explained above. I wish it was a easy as that. i would have done it a decade ago! XO

    ReplyDelete
  9. Hilarious….just wished it weren’t about the workplace of Gregory! I cannot believe they will not take deposits more eagerly. My bank TD North would. They also can provide deposit slips

    ReplyDelete
  10. Bill Fryman commented on your link.
    Bill wrote: "Unbelievable. Bank of America seems intent on alienating every customer and potential customer nation-wide. Rather than complaining to their corporate headquarters which seems to instill this type of behavior, you should send a copy of this to your state banking commission. Maybe a few fines or loss of licenses would get BofA's attention."

    ReplyDelete
  11. Bill Fryman commented on your link.

    Bill wrote: "BTW, we had someone go through almost the exact same experience with BofA here in St. Louis about two weeks ago."

    ReplyDelete
  12. OMG... I can't BELIEVE what you went through trying to DEPOSIT money into your Grandmother's bank! I say..."Time to change banks!"This bank does not deserve your Grandie's account. I know that she is unable to even show her appreciation for all you do for her but, be well aware, YOU are appreciated.
    HG
    PS Send a copy of your experience to the head of Bank of America...they deserve to know how miserably this branch has treated a loyal customer.

    ReplyDelete
  13. Hi, Robin, Are you going to tell us why you stay with this so-called bank? Why not deal with the Bank Across the Street soley? Best, mary (Shirley's friend)

    ReplyDelete
  14. I say switch banks as soon as possible. I feel for you. I have been through hell and back with banks and other bureaucratic institutions (Medicaid and the like) with my mom who has Alzheimer's. Been there, done that. that teller needs to be fired!
    Erica K

    ReplyDelete
  15. onislandtime (OS)March 13, 2012 at 8:52 PM

    Argh. This made me crazy to read. I can imagine how it made you feel to live it.
    Open a new account at The Bank Across the Street. Let the auto deposits go to the BoA account, and just write a check to move the funds over to the new (better) account after they clear. And make sure they clear first as BoA is notorious for their fees. You shouldn't ever need to go in there again. :)
    r./

    onislandtime
    March 13, 2012 05:23 PM

    ReplyDelete
  16. My very dear Robin R. Robinson!
    You must MUST take all the deposits out of that dreadful bank and put
    them in another. Isn't that possible? Please? I can't bear to think of
    you going through this torture month after month!!!! You need to do this
    for your own sanity and that of your friends who cannot bear to have you
    going through this.

    ReplyDelete
  17. Can't you switch the account to the Bank Across The Street?
    I have had occasional dealings with American banks, either by mail or when I was in the country, and they're terrible.
    Myriad
    March 13, 2012 04:22 PM

    ReplyDelete
  18. I am so sorry you had to go through all that nonsense. I didn't expect to find such a frustrating story following one of your gorgeous photos, but unfortunately banks in general seem to be getting worse as they charge more and more service charges. Thankfully there's no BofA in Canada, where I live. I would have similar fantasies about getting back at the mannerless tellers too.
    I hope you find a better way to deal with this.
    R♥

    FusunA
    March 13, 2012 07:58 PM

    ReplyDelete
  19. Kristen Lindquist (FB)March 13, 2012 at 9:14 PM

    Kristen Lindquist commented on your link.

    Kristen wrote: "Can you figure out a way to switch your grandmother's accounts to a different bank?"

    ReplyDelete
  20. OMG ROBIN THAT WAS SOOOOOO FUNNY. I COULD FEEL YOUR PAIN. YES BANK OF AMERICA SUCKS. MOVE THE ACCOUT TO THE BANK ACROSS THE STREET.

    LINDA

    ReplyDelete
  21. That was another priceless piece. I even read it all the way through despite my knowing the ending. That will get raves!

    ReplyDelete
  22. Margaret McPhersun (FB)March 13, 2012 at 9:26 PM

    Margaret McPhersun commented on your link.

    Margaret wrote: "I am so surprised that the starlings didn't go into hiding around the Eagle. That is how I usually can tell a hawk or eagle is around as all of the songbirds are silent and not in flight. Relatively speaking the starlings look pretty large, must have had some performance enhancing slugs or seeds!"

    ReplyDelete
  23. Margaret McPhersun (OS)March 13, 2012 at 9:27 PM

    Margaret McPhersun commented on your link.

    Margaret wrote: "Sorry about the BoA snafu. I feel the same way about service people but sometimes it helps to point out the obvious...ie..."it's like a morgue in here".....if all else fails, social security and other beaucracies would seem like a walk in the park with friends at this point. After changing accounts, I would publish this article in the local paper under editorials. Hang in there Robin, your life could depend upon it then you would be in deep bird doo!"

    ReplyDelete
  24. Margaret, you are tooo funny!You and I should do a screen play together. While we are sharing a cell! HA! Re: the morgue thing, I was WAAAAY tooo close to thinking about dead people as it was. Doncha think?

    ReplyDelete
  25. Margaret McPhersun (OS)March 13, 2012 at 9:30 PM

    Margaret McPhersun commented on your link.

    Margaret wrote: "I would let it slip out myself...I also would take several pieces of candy, one for every difficulty I had with a teller at the time I was having the difficulty and put it on the counter in front of me, whenever they did something nice, I would put one back. At the end, I would scoop all of them up and place them in my hand bag. Eventually they would either become nicer, or they will be replacing a lot of candy....even Pavlov's dogs caught on!"

    ReplyDelete
  26. I just wish they bought better candy. then, I'd be in.

    ReplyDelete
  27. Robin -- why in holy hell can't you move your grandma's account to the bank across the street? Good grief that's just outrageous behavior at that bank.. I'm glad I'm not with BofA.

    The flight shot with the eagle is tremendous. Keep on spending time outside -- it'll make you feel better.

    ReplyDelete
  28. Karen in So PortlandMarch 14, 2012 at 4:11 PM

    Here are even more reasons for being fed up with Bank of America - in an article written by Mike Taibbi for Rolling Stone Magazine. http://www.rollingstone.com/politics/news/bank-of-america-too-crooked-to-fail-20120314

    ReplyDelete
  29. Jonathan Wolfman (OS)March 14, 2012 at 4:59 PM

    rated for genuine creativity

    Jonathan Wolfman
    March 13, 2012 10:22 PM

    ReplyDelete
  30. Donegal Descendant (OS)March 14, 2012 at 5:01 PM

    You should, given your legal conservator status, be able to open a joint bank account with both your and her names on it, or an account with your name heading it "in trust for....". Get both your names on the account. Your lawyer can produce any necessary confirmation of your conservatorship. I know from experience how contradictory and crazy-making these banks can be. They profess to be being so 'scrupulous' but they literally don't know what they are talking about. The tellers certainly don't know what the legal meaning of 'conservatorship' is. And go over their heads: at the least resistance, insist on talking to a high-ranking official at the bank. Go straight to the top. It sounds like you have an opening with the more cooperative Bank Across the Street, so exploit that. The SSA and other automatic deposits can be transferred as well, though it may take time. Good luck. Peristance does pay off.

    Donegal Descendant
    March 14, 2012 02:23 AM

    ReplyDelete
  31. Donegal Descendant (OS)March 14, 2012 at 5:02 PM

    P.S. I love that first photo! The eagle in stolid repose beneath a wave of starlings and a gull. One of those photos that makes me think, "I wish I'd taken that!"

    Donegal Descendant
    March 14, 2012 02:24 AM

    ReplyDelete
  32. Change banks. That is outrageous behavior!

    scanner
    March 14, 2012 04:22 AM

    ReplyDelete
  33. AtHomePilgrim (OS)March 14, 2012 at 5:27 PM

    Um, wow. Though the people at our BoA are very nice, really. Sorry!

    AtHomePilgrim
    March 14, 2012 06:00 AM

    ReplyDelete
  34. Perhaps next time ask The Bank Across the Street to give you six thousand dollars in pennies. Then you can make an easy peasy cash deposit at Bank of America.

    greenheron
    March 14, 2012 08:53 AM

    ReplyDelete
  35. AAAhhhh greenheron, after my own heart that was! I love it. I wonder if I could actually lift and carry six grand in rolled pennies. Oh, wait, they don't let you take rolled coins anymore. You've got to dump the whole wad into a machine. Scratch that. I loved it, though! Thank you!

    ReplyDelete
  36. baltimore aureole (OS)March 14, 2012 at 5:30 PM

    various government regulations - which protect customer accounts from identity theft, and the patriot act, other consumer protections require all financial institutions obtain positive id for account opening, transactions, power of attorney, etc.
    this isn't a bank of america rule. its a congressional mandate.

    baltimore aureole
    March 14, 2012 11:42 AM

    ReplyDelete
  37. Balimtore aureole,
    I was wondering and hoping that someone would wad in in defense. So, I'm glad for that. I do realize that rules are often driven by things we consumers neither see, understand, nor appreciate. Some education on that front is always a good thing. However, my social security number? Now come on, only the SS administration can demand that by law for identification as far as I know. And a deposit slip filled out every stinking time, though they can look up all the indo on the computer instantly? And, I'd be happy to give them photo Ids, several if need be. They go beyond all of that with their own cumbersome unfriendly stuff just for the sake of it. I do business weekly with two other banks, neither of which requires all of that to get the business done. Much as I'd like to, I can't reasonably blame congress for everything.

    ReplyDelete
  38. Razzle Dazzle (OS)March 14, 2012 at 5:37 PM

    Saw off your limb and get them to change it or operate two different accounts, depositing all of the checks into The Bank Across the Street. It will be worth it.

    Razzle Dazzle
    March 14, 2012 01:04 PM

    ReplyDelete
  39. oooo, ouch! Really? Is that what I have to do?

    ReplyDelete
  40. Christine Geery (OS)March 14, 2012 at 5:38 PM

    OMG what a harrowing experience. I am now officially embarrassed to be saying that I have been with B of A for years and have never had any problem with them at all. I'm so sorry for this happened. I'll bring you a chocolate cake with a knife in it to you in prison. r

    Christine Geery
    March 14, 2012 01:10 PM

    ReplyDelete
  41. Christine, I'm going to hold you to that cake if not not for this misadventure, then certainly for an upcoming. On that you can virtually count!

    ReplyDelete
  42. Chrissie Pissie (OS)March 14, 2012 at 5:51 PM

    Wonderful photos, as usual.
    The fact that you did not actually commit murder totally amazed me. The people who work in that bank are to be pitied.
    And if you ever do succumb, be sure to ask Christine to make you Mary's cake. I'm a lousy baker but I'll deliver it.

    Chrissie Pissie
    March 14, 2012 05:29 PM

    ReplyDelete
  43. Chrissie Pissie (OS)March 14, 2012 at 5:52 PM

    The cake.... I'll deliver the cake!

    Chrissie Pissie
    March 14, 2012 05:30 PM

    ReplyDelete
  44. Oh Chrissie, you are tooooo funny! I'm holding Christine to that cake, too. If not for this misadventure, one for the future, you can virtually count on that from me. Murder? Murder whom? Only a murder of crows for me, kids! Mary's Cake? Sounds like the title of a porn movie if you ask me. What's in it? Uh, the cake, Chrissie, THE CAKE!

    ReplyDelete
  45. Just thinking..........I want to thank you for your compliment pertaining to being able to read through such a tedious tale of woe. I thought long and hard about that when I wrote it. It's so BORING and tedious! But, I figured I just had to get it off my chest. Personally, I hate reading about this kind of thing at least as much as enduring it personally. So, it makes me feel especially okay that I held anyone's attention. The only thing that could be better is if it had not been true in the first place. Thank you.

    ReplyDelete
  46. Are you the Ghost of Charles Dickens? That BOA branch is bad as the Post Office. Maybe a lawyer could help you get grandma's account switched to the Bank Across the Street. It shouldn't be much worse than the experience you just described to have the direct deposits switched, too. A letter to the local newspaper - this post would be fine - might get them to reevaluate their customer service procedures, or get somebody fired.

    Frosty Funk
    March 14, 2012 06:42 PM

    ReplyDelete
  47. Got so angry reading your post that I forgot all about your amazingly dramatic photos.

    Frosty Funk
    March 14, 2012 06:43 PM

    ReplyDelete
  48. Oh, Frosty,
    Thank you. I'm sorry to have pissed anyone off, truly. But, there you have it. I guess it wasn't really me doing the off pissing, actually. And, thanks for the compliment about the photos. Oddly, it's a compliment that anyone would read and be pissed off. It means i had an impact. People who are rendered feeling powerless as I described, feel great when they make an impression someone!

    ReplyDelete
  49. File a complaint to the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency.

    OEsheepdog
    March 14, 2012 07:10 PM

    ReplyDelete
  50. This is awful. I use "The Bank Across The Street" ,which is a hometown bank, and never have such problems. You've already answered my question about changing banks in an earlier comment. Too bad. I would really like to see all of the big American banks fail. The fact that any are still in existence is a travesty. R

    Rodney Roe
    March 14, 2012 08:42 PM

    ReplyDelete
  51. OEsheepdog, wow, "the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency" sounds like the Wizard Of Oz and oddly, for the grand title, sounds powerless. It sounds like something made up to appease schmucks like me who think these things really matter to anyone. I know they don't. People who have money and titles like that don't care about people like me and what makes my lfe harder. Do they really? thanks for the thought, though. I like it that people feel like there is some way to get justice or fairness out there, ever if I don't think so. thanks for the read, rate, and suggestion.

    ReplyDelete
  52. This was interesting but does conflict with my experiences at BofA.
    I deal with a local branch of the larger main branch and they have been supremely accommodating when I deposit checks, cash checks, etc.
    When I cashed a personal check from another account, the teller noticed that my other account was with Merrill Lynch which was owned by BofA and she insisted that my BofA account should have been free for the last 18 months and they refunded all the costs.
    What is particularly surprising is the issue about deposit slips because the bank provides them on the spot and blank.
    My guess is that this treatment is due to a local PITA manager and that complaints to the next level of the hierarchy might straighten out some of these issues so they aren't a continuing problem.

    Good luck.

    Lew
    the traveler
    March 14, 2012 09:02 PM

    ReplyDelete
  53. Nick Carraway (OS)March 15, 2012 at 9:12 AM

    I have dealt with BOA and never had problems, but where I live is over banked, and there is a lot of competition for customers. I've read other people's complaints about BOA, so you aren't alone.
    I don't doubt you in the least that you have the branch from hell.
    In case you are looking for a solution, you could try 'bank by mail' http://www.bankofamerica.com/state.cgi?section=generic&update=&cookiecheck=yes&context=&cd_bag=&sa_bag=&ch_bag=&destination=nba/deposits/checksave/index.cfm?template=lc_faq_bymail
    That plus on line account access and you never have to set a foot in that God awful place again.
    But, I am sure you can work it out.
    I hear your pain.

    Nick Carraway

    ReplyDelete
  54. Banks can be so horrible! Whatever happened to customer service, anyway? I am always amused by the disdainful attitiude you get when you withdrawl YOUR money and they act like they are doing you a favor. R

    Jane Brogan
    March 15, 2012 12:42 AM

    ReplyDelete
  55. Christine Geery (OS)March 15, 2012 at 9:17 AM

    Robin, may I introduce you to "Mary's Cake?" http://open.salon.com/blog/cmgeery/2011/11/07/i_dont_know_who_mary_is_but_she_makes_one_helluva_cake

    For crying out loud, read my posts!! Bwhahahahah!

    Christine Geery
    March 15, 2012 01:26 AM

    ReplyDelete
  56. l'Heure Bleue (OS)March 15, 2012 at 9:32 AM

    Stunning photos, I too wish I could navigate like that.
    Sounds like an inadequate manager, there is never an excuse for discourtesy. We only have one B of A in Boise and they have a rep for being an inferior bank. Mostly they have business accounts, the public here is less tolerant of nonsense. My last employer was a crook and at times couldn't pay, many would race to B of A to cash the checks drawn on them. They charged $10 to cash a B of A drawn paycheck. They're just run by bad people.
    See if you can't enlist the aid of the Bank of Decent Humans in getting the documentation together to get the electronics transferred over. When I went to work for Wells Fargo I closed my accounts there after seeing what they really do. I simply went to a local bank and they did all the work and said sign here, I didn't want to deal with moving all the automatic stuff, it's the same if you want to move IRA's, let them do the work, you just sign.
    Congress makes Red Rules, mostly about disclosure to protect the customer and to report to report large withdrawals to the IRS, not mandates about deposit tickets and pretentious silliness. You aren't opening or changing an account status, all they need is the account number to deposit. Move the accounts, it will be a nightmare when B of A goes under. And they will. Sorry for your misery, you deserve better service.

    l'Heure Bleue
    March 15, 2012 02:44 AM

    ReplyDelete
  57. Heidi Banerjee (OS)March 15, 2012 at 9:33 AM

    I know for sure,I would not have had the patience.
    Is your grandmother still alive?
    I would not put up with this arrogance.
    Great post,Robin.I was steaming along with you.
    Rated for your endurance.

    Heidi Banerjee
    March 15, 2012 03:59 AM

    ReplyDelete
  58. Algis Kemezys (OS)March 15, 2012 at 9:34 AM

    So glad I checked this out. What on earth? Oh your poor Grandma!
    .........(¯`v´¯) (¯`v´¯)
    ☼•*¨`*•.¸.(ˆ◡ˆ).¸.•*
    ............... *•.¸.•* ♥⋆★•❥ Thanx (ツ) & ♥ L☼√Ξ ☼ ♥
    ⋆───★•❥ ☼ .¸¸.•*`*•.♥R

    Algis Kemezys
    March 15, 2012 06:04 AM

    ReplyDelete
  59. Move your Grnadmother's account to the Bank Across the Street. Only money talks with them. I no longer bank with Bank of America for many of the same reasons.

    ReplyDelete
  60. Great story. I too have Bank Of America stories. I dumped them. As a court designated person handling the finances for your grandmother can you have a new account be opened with both of your names on it and transfer tre funds? Hopefully to the bank across the street!

    ReplyDelete
  61. Loved your story about BofA. Same kind of place out here in our town; I cannot imagine doing business with them at all.

    ReplyDelete
  62. Quite a story, Robin! When I got the part where you included the fact your modem had crashed my immediate reaction was "and I thought _I_ was having a bad day" [but actually my "bad day" was a day after yours ;-)]. Loved the photos and was much engrossed in the long tale of bank woes. The transition, for me, from the photos to the text left me at one point going back up to the photos to see whether there were bank deposit slips in the beaks of all the birds [?! ;]. Looks like you've been given lots of good suggestions how to handle all of this and I hope they'll work out for you and you grandmother. [A hundred and two. Wow! Bravas to "the both of you"!!]. As to banks, two different accounts of mine in smallish banks were taken over by B of A (at two different times). As you said you were in part hoping someone might speak up on behalf of B of A (and someone already has), I'll tell you I've never had a single problem, wudja believe? Sounds to me like your local B of A needs a staffing revision. ;-). GOOD LUCK!!
    R

    podunkmarte

    ReplyDelete
  63. I am so pleased that so many folks have found it worth their time to wade through this quagmire of a tale. Thanks to all of you for the reads, rates, comments and great suggestions. I am also glad that the experience with BofA has not been universal. I wish the people who work in the branch I go to would either go to work at The Bank Across The Street or go to an ashram for a weekend. Something, anything to change the cash karma of that place. Maybe that's what I'll do, the next time I go I'll take a bunch of pamphlets on ashrams they could go to. Ya. That's what I'll do.

    ReplyDelete
  64. COUNT me in as a reader of this post. We all have similar tales to TELLER. When you wrote, "Rush Limbaugh School of Customer Service" I went there in my imagination, so I do believe it exists. BofA and BATS have helped DEPOSIT this country into a legendary BANKRUPTCY of ethics. If the root of all evil is MONEY than the TRUNK of that tree grows in dirt that lacks faith and TRUST. Thank you for BALANCING this post with photos of flight. I could feel a DRAFT!

    mhold
    March 15, 2012 10:20 AM

    ReplyDelete
  65. mhold, thanks for the read, rate and comment. I loved your plays on words, "TELLER." Go TELLER on the mountain when it don'ttttttttt go yer waaaaaaaaaay! I can hear the banjo strum as this song is wailed out across the country. Maybe Johnny CASH would have perfomed it?

    ReplyDelete
  66. Robin, I understand that, given the system we have now, having the big banks fail would cause an economic collapse the likes of which we have never seen. However, had our president and congress acted in the way that they should have and placed limits on the amount of the economy that any one bank could control by consolidating and then ordering a restructuring or simply setting a dollar amount of maximum holdings, we would not have to bail them out when they overextend as they did in 2008. This would have the effect of making them more responsible to their stockholders and clients. If the executives of the Wall Street banks had a personal fortune to lose by making bad loans, treating customers like head lice, and endangering the national security, they would act more responsibly.
    To rephrase, I wish we could have allowed them all to fail.
    Bank of America treats you the way they do because you are not how they make most of their money.

    Rodney Roe
    March 15, 2012 02:06 PM

    ReplyDelete
  67. I'm another who found your tale engrossing, and well worth the read. I'm so sorry for your experiences in simply trying to help your dear grandmother!
    I have similar tales of Wells Fargo. I cannot even drive by with my lip curling just a little. My "favorite" was my then-husband depositing a large check in the night deposit, using a blank deposit slip on which he had written the account number. His (fairly unique) name was clearly written on the slip and on the check from his client.
    About a week later we have checks bouncing all over the place. Turns out WF decided they couldn't quite read one of the account numbers written on the slip, so slip and check were set beneath the counter and never deposited. There was NO attempt to contact us (though they knew us both darn well by name, sight and frequent patronage), and we spent weeks fighting the hundreds of dollars in overdraft fees they were determined to stick us with. That was finally the end of our ten years of pure Wells Fargo hell.
    I wish you best of luck in getting your grandmother's business switched over to your bank!

    Barb Allee
    March 15, 2012 03:24 PM

    ReplyDelete
  68. Great post... small birds attacking much larger birds... I witnessed that in downtown Los Angeles, a hawk flying up the street toward the skyline of skyscrapers harassed by a murder of crows and a flock of starlings.
    Perhaps if we behaved more like small birds we could effect the business practices of bureaucratic beasts like BofA and Wells Fargo. What if everyone in America whose paycheck is drawn against those banks decided to take off one Friday to stand in line and cash those paychecks?
    Think they might get the message???
    Again a great post... I have a bank story to tell as well about the wonderful women at the First National Bank of Bastrop Texas. Their customer service was so outstanding that last year I sent them flowers for Valentines Day.
    Not all businesses have to be nightmares.

    jmac1949
    March 15, 2012 03:47 PM

    ReplyDelete
  69. Entertaining story. I was very curious to see how on earth you would manage to transition from the birds to the bank. It happened pretty quickly, but was smooth enough. I suppose bird brains is the common thread.
    I hate to be nit-picky and spoil a bit of fun, but I suspect that starling isn't really tucked directly under the seagull's wing. It may be in between the camera and the seagull, with a margin of as much as several feet; a telephoto lens collapses depth of field, so I suspect we are seeing an illusion caused by lens optics.
    I was also going to say that anyone who thinks a world of very small government, with unrestrained free markets will solve all of our problems, this provides a hint of why that won't necessarily be the case. Gigantic corporations can be every bit the byzantine bureaucratic labyrinth that government can be, and there is no democratic recourse. You can change service providers, but with no anti-trust and enough consolidation your options may become very limited in various areas.
    But then B. Aureole rained on that angle a bit by probably quite correctly pointing out that at least some of this is caused by anti-terror requirements. I know that all financial dealings are faced with suspicious activity reporting requirements, but that is for amounts over $10,000; there is something called the Customer Identification Program, but this appears to be primarily focused on account creation. The identity guidelines allow the banks some flexibility, so it appears that BofA may have carried things a bit further than the government requires, possibly on the advice of very cautious lawyers.
    At any rate, I think this provides a tiny hint of why dreams of a small government world with free reign for private enterprise in all areas are probably grossly overrated by those who wish for it.

    Jeff J.
    March 15, 2012 04:08 PM

    ReplyDelete
  70. Andy Wolfenson (OS)March 16, 2012 at 10:19 AM

    Not surprised at all - I wrote an entire series on my frustrations with our nation's bank, as I called it, some time ago. Simply put, bigger does not always mean better.

    Andy Wolfenson
    March 15, 2012 07:52 PM

    ReplyDelete
  71. Andy, thanks for the read, rate and comment. And, jmac, I love the idea of flowers to The Bank Across The Street. Someone else wrote of their aggravations with Wells Fargo, too.
    Jeff, I think I'll stick to the complexities of photography for my head ache source. Of that, I have a hope of command. The business of banking and how they make their money and how they are effecting our over all economy makes me feel stupid, small and hopeless. I definitely am left feeling like an object, a lowly tool. Rodney is right, me and my ilk are not where they are making their money. We are a cover for their larger more lucrative concerns. Jeff, you are correct about the optical illusion. I shot that image with a 100-400mm telephoto lens.
    Thanks to each of you for reading, rating, commenting and complimenting. You are what it's all about. Maybe your bank doesn't think so, but I do.

    ReplyDelete
  72. I'm disappointed that you're a bit prejudicial, as it's obvious that you don't listen to Rush Limbaugh, for of you did, you would not have related his demeanor to poor customer service. In this particular instance, he would most certainly have supported you. Welcome to (non-Free Market) Crony Capitalism, where heavily
    regulated private institutions take on the characteristics of their regulators.
    You obviously asked for it, so you're in no position to complain!

    ReplyDelete