This week’s installment is about a “gotcha” without a fine print warning. It offers lessons for both consumers and bankers.
MrConsumer is in the habit of making deposits and withdrawals at the ATM machine at Century Bank, a local bank with 25 branches. One of them is only a few blocks from home, and they are part of a network that serves the bank where my account is actually located (a few miles away).
For the past 14 years, after making a withdrawal that is solely composed of $20 bills, I will go inside and ask a teller for smaller denomination bills for one or two of the twenties. Last week, when tendering a $20 bill under the glass, the teller asked if I had an account there. After I said no, she informed me that bank policy had just changed and they no longer make change for non-customers. What?
MrConsumer went home and proceeded to send the following email to the bank’s Chairman, and to its President and CEO:
I should note that the cc: on the email was to the banking reporter at the Boston Globe. Just a bit over an hour later, the President of Century Bank wrote back:
Wow, wow, wow. Isn’t that impressive from so many standpoints? I wrote back immediately to thank him for his swift action. Too bad bigger banks can’t be persuaded to come to their senses as easily.