Wells Fargone

I ended a relationship today.

Not the one with my girlfriend. No, this was a relationship with my bank.

When I came to Florida 20 years ago I had nothing but a guitar, a suitcase, and a few hundred bucks. Once I had a job, I opened a checking account at Southtrust Bank in Clearwater. I saw a lot of crazy stuff that NCNB/Nations Bank/Bank of America did to people, but I never had those issues with Southtrust. The tellers recognized me and I never had a problem with the bank. It’s the only bank I’d ever had in Florida, of a sort.

Southtrust became Wachovia. No real change, my bank just quietly did what I needed it to do, with never a problem.

At the end of June, Wachovia changed to Wells Fargo in this area. 2½ months later my 20 year old bank accounts are closed for good.

Long story short, I pay a lot of bills online. Since the switch was made to Wells Fargo, I have been unable to pay one of my creditors. This payment has been made every month for the last 11 years without issue until Wells Fargo took over. 2 months and several attempts later and Wells Fargo is still unable to deliver a payment for me. I’d be willing to cut them some slack if they would admit the problem and work to help me fix it, but their customer service basically tells me “the check is in the mail” and claims they cannot do anything. For each failed payment attempt, Wells Fargo got to sit on my money for a week since their minimum time for an online payment is 5 business days. The best part is that after each failed attempt, when I called customer service, they could not tell me where my money was. They could not even tell me if the payment cleared. This is especially galling since the payment never cleared, which means they had my money all along.

It occurs to me that banking with Wells Fargo is functionally equivalent to being bankrupt. So what if I have money in the bank if I’m unable to pay anyone?

I went to my local branch today and closed my accounts. The lady asked me why I was closing them and I said that the online bill payments simply didn’t work.

The smile left her face. “That’s pretty much what everybody is saying who closes an account now” she says. A little chit-chat and I get the impression that a lot of accounts are being closed for this reason. I mention that it’s got to be frustrating to be losing business over something she has no control over. She gives me a look that says I don’t know the half of it. I have not seen someone look so dejected in a professional capacity in a long time.

You’d think someone would wonder how a 20-year professional relationship could fall apart in 2½ months. This lady did. She obviously cared too. Nobody will ask her though. Wells Fargo customer service? I’m just one less person in their phone queue waiting for a scripted response designed to hide the fact that they have an issue. Wells Fargo management? Who knows if they care about anything other than today’s share price.

I’m still cleaning up the mess this has caused with one of my creditors. I’ve had enough of “too big to function.” It’s credit union time. Oh, and my rinky-dink credit union got a payment to this creditor in 2 days. Wells Fargo would have taken 5 business days at best, but even with 2 months they were unable to do it.

</rant>

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