lakemichigan.jpgOkay, I’m calm now. I was pretty angry this morning. For about the umpteenth time this year, I got off the phone with a smooth-talking bank customer “support” person feeling like crying, screaming, or strangling someone. National City this time. Gotcher blogosphere monitors on, National City? Stockholder here.

First and not related to the problem but *majorly* annoying. “Welcome to National City.” In English. Loud hold-the-phone-away-from-your-ear English! Then. A long barrage of Spanish followed by a long barrage of Polish. Polish? Now, I can believe that NCC has a good number of Spanish-speaking customers but Polish? Finally, about the time I’m thinking I have the wrong number, there’s a pause and English starts up again. Folks. I have *no* problem with reaching out to customers who aren’t fluent at English. But I would bet my bottom dollar that the vast majority of NCC customers speak plain old midwestern American English. Please, please, please, let us just press “1” or whatever before you start gabbling on in Spanish and Polish. Customers who speak foreign languages KNOW that the lingua franca in this country is English. They will understand about this. I promise. I would, if I were in Spain or Poland. Meanwhile, you are wasting a lot of time for a lot of people and you are completely befuddling a few elderly folks that I know. I won’t name any names but they are *longtime* customers and bigger stockholders than I am. And your stock is way down and that’s probably mostly because of the latest mortgage greed crisis but you really do have to think through the business reasons for what you are doing and I think you should start by looking at who your customers are. Anyway.

I was calling on Mouse’s behalf. I am “on” her savings account. Sheesh, I have been “on” her savings account since she was one, or whenever it was that *I* (duh) opened it. I am *not* “on” her checking account. Appropriately. But I have access to it. With her explicit permission! I can get to it online and I have a copy of her debit card, which I have successfully used to *deposit* money into her account. Like, why would I want to empty my own kid’s account? I was calling because she *asked* me to call. Could I access her account. No. Sorry, ma’am, you can’t do that. She was smooth and she was reading from a script and I knew I wouldn’t get anywhere with her. And the truth is that it’s probably okay because all I was trying to do was ascertain that Mouse would have access to her funds while traveling to a different African country at the end of her study abroad experience. Some of which (funds) I had deposited because I HAVE ACCESS TO HER ACCOUNTS! WTH PERMISSION. HEAR THAT NCC? but it’s an overall policy thing, as it turns out. I hope. If the bank knows you’re in Africa, you’re okay. And they do. Apparently she doesn’t have to fix it up for every individual country. The whole experience still upset me.

I am between a rock and a hard place on this stuff. I know what the issues are. I understood them even before I began working for an online banking concern. Believe me folks, banks are very concerned about the safety of their customers’ accounts. Yours, mine, and Mouse’s. I appreciate the convenience of on-line banking, so that’s a *good* thing. But I couldn’t help thinking about how it was back in the old days when Grandroobly and his dad were small-town bankers. In that town, in that era, you could go down to the bank and those guys would have a pretty good idea about who you were and what your family was all about and whether or not they could trust you. They would go out of their way to help little people like me handle unusual situations if they were pretty sure the person was good for the money.

It was also back in the day when a cow could be collateral. If you were a deadbeat, your friendly (or not-so friendly, if you were a deadbeat) bank president would draft his bank teller son to help him walk your cow down a muddy road, herd it onto a ferry, cross a river, and put it on a truck on the other side. Grandroobly always concluded this story with a deadpan, “If you are in the banking business, you can get into all kinds of shit.” Moooooooo.

One Response to “Mooooooooooooooooo”

  1. Kathy Farnell Says:

    I have had permission to access a few accounts belonging to various kids. My solution? Lie. Just say you are the person… In your case, Mouse. You already know everything about her (Everything you need to know anyhow) so if you have her permission, just say that you are her. The funniest thing happened to me when I was Lying. I wanted to access a joint account held by Doug and I. Credit card account to be exact. I was not the “master” card holder or something like that. I did not have Dougs permission to ask questions about that account. So I said “just a minute” and the came back on the line, lowered my voice a little, said I was Doug and gave Kathy permission to ask questions about the account. Then I “came back” on the line as Kathy and completed the call. I always lie to them now. It’s fun.