Metro Bank Responds

PREFACE:  Someone commented on my last post pointing out that the employees of Metro Bank are being yelled at and treated poorly.  I spent almost ten years working in retail and retail management, and I am very well aware of how abusive customers can be.  I always make it a point to be calm and rational towards the employees, even when they’re not treating me the same.

My last post on Metro Bank got pretty popular pretty quickly.  Barely 24 hours after posting, it already has over 500 reads and 33 comments. With a little help from The ConsumeristThe Patriot-News, podcasts, multiple forums, other blogs, and some other frustrated Metro Bank customers, the post has cleared over 1000 reads in 30 hours! more than 3300 readers in less than three days! Thanks, guys!

Two of the commenters describe themselves as Metro Bank employees.  One of them (“Shannon”) did not come out and say “I am an employee of Metro Bank”, and as such, she may very well be some non-Metro Bank employee who happens to say things like “we are doing everything we can”.  Here’s the direct link to the first comment; you can see the other two from “Shannon” immediately after the first.  In fact, let me save you the trouble.  Here are all three comments from “Shannon”, in their complete form:

Continue reading Metro Bank Responds

Metro Bank Harrisburg: An Example in Failure

UPDATE 3: If you’re having trouble with Metro Bank, I’ve added another post detailing how to file a formal complaint and how to make sure your complaint is effective.

UPDATE 4: The Consumerist has linked to my story.  Thanks, guys!  Since Metro Bank isn’t paying attention to individual consumers, maybe some nationwide bad publicity will help out.

UPDATE 5: The Patriot-News ran a story on Metro Bank.  CEO Gary Nalbandian says things “went well overall”.

So I’ve been a Commerce Bank customer for a few years now.  I’ve always enjoyed their focus on convenience and customer service.  This past weekend, they shed their old moniker and became known as Metro Bank. They replaced the website, re-recorded all the greetings, and I believe all their signage has now been replaced.

As an added bonus, there’s a puppy wandering around their homepage.

Commerce Bank Harrisburg was always well-known for treating their customers well.  And yet it’s as if Metro Bank — with the same people in charge, mind you — has thrown out everything they knew about good customer service.  From major faults such as cutting off ATM cards with no warning, to tiny details (such as having their customer service reps recite an uncomfortably-long 20-second greeting when they answer the phone), Metro Bank has really fouled this one up.

Continue reading Metro Bank Harrisburg: An Example in Failure

AFSCME to the Rescue!

With an impending budget impasse, AFSCME — the union to which most Pennsylvania civil service employees pay dues, regardless of whether they’re a member or not — has come forward in full support of its members with guns a-blazin’.  Earlier this week, AFSCME finally updated their website to reference the impending stop-pay scenario with helpful links to unemployment resources.

There’s just one problem with that:

WE’RE NOT UNEMPLOYED!

We can not collect unemployment because we are still employed.  I’m not clear on which is worse; being laid off and collecting unemployment, or being forced to work without a paycheck.  Oh sure, we’ll get paid — but it will be somewhere between 1 and 52 weeks late.  I’m sure Honda, Sallie Mae, my mortgage company, and my credit card company will all understand.  And I’m positive Giant will be willing to just let me take whatever food I need and pay for it “later”.

Thanks, guys.  Big help.  Glad to see you’re on this.

State Employees Are Protected Under the FLSA

There’s been some talk lately about whether or not state employees are covered under the protections of the Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938.  The short answer is yes.

When the law was first passed, it was not intended to cover government employees.  In 1966, the Act was amended to cover certain government employees in certain conditions.  In 1976, in National League of Cities v. Usery (426 U.S. 833 (1976)), the US Supreme Court ruled that the FLSA did not cover government employees doing traditional government-employee-type work, effectively ending the employees’ protection under FLSA.

However, Garcia v. San Antonio Metropolitan Transit Authority (469 U.S. 528 (1985)) effectively reversed National League of Cities.  It clearly states that employees of state and local governments are covered by the Fair Labor Standards Act.  And given the Supremacy Clause of the US Constitution, no state legislation can override federal law.  So even if our legislators rush through an emergency bill that attempts to block FLSA protections for state employees, it would not stand up against federal law.

Your move.

Note:  This is part of a series of posts detailing the 2009 Pennsylvania budget impasse.  To see all posts in this series, click here.

PSECU Picks Up Where Our Government Fails

PSECU announced on Monday that they will offer 0% interest loans to creditworthy state employees if the impasse happens.

For members who meet the credit criteria, the 0% rate will be available up until 60 days after the governor signs the new budget into law. After 60 days, the loan will begin accruing interest at 3.9% APR until paid in full. Members participating in the loan program will have the option of borrowing up to $1,000 per pay period.

That’s right; a credit union is outperforming the state.