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.
Right now I’m on hold with their customer service call center. The 20-minute mark has long since come and gone. And since this is my third time calling in the past 24 hours, so has my patience.
This all started Saturday morning. I tried to log on to the Commerce Bank Harrisburg website, and was redirected to a “coming soon” Metro Bank page. I needed my account balance before I headed out for the weekend, so I called their direct-to-operator customer service line. I was told that because the systems were “updating” (that’s call-center speak for “down”), nobody could answer any of my questions. Awesome.
I generally stay on top of my accounts, and I had a rough idea of what was in there. So I went out and spent about 20% of that amount on groceries. But when I got to the checkout line, my card was declined. Turns out that Metro Bank had shut off a number of Commerce ATM cards. No forewarning, no explanation. Just gone. Sweet.
Upon returning home from the supermarket, I called Metro Bank to find out what happened. I was told that my account was overdrawn (heart attack!). I was told that no, wait, maybe it isn’t. Or maybe it could be, but nobody was really sure because they wouldn’t be able to see all of Friday’s transactions until sometime Sunday. Or maybe Tuesday.
I had to hang up. I let a few hours pass in order to cool off. There’s nothing to instill confidence in your bank like hearing a customer service representative use words like “maybe” and “I’m not sure” and “I don’t know what this is”.
Now I’m back on the phone. We’re blazing past the 40-minute mark on hold with no end in sight. While I’m wondering where a $200 discrepancy between my available balance and actual balance went, Metro Bank’s hold music is reassuring me that they love dogs.
No, I’m not kidding.
Now, at the 1:14 mark (that’s one hour and fourteen minutes of hold music), a voice appears on the other end of the line. While struggling to remain calm in the face of utter indifference and lack of urgency on Metro Bank’s part, I’m trying to form rational, courteous responses to the representative’s wildly inaccurate statements. It seems that my direct deposit paycheck from Friday has vanished. They aren’t sure if it ever posted. The supervisor asks if I made that deposit in person.
I remind her that it was direct deposit. She helpfully offers to call the branch where I made it.
If shuffling my feet and clearing my throat would have been a visible gesture over the phone, I would have done it. I point out that, being direct deposit, it wasn’t made at any branch. Perhaps there’s an internal “ghost location code” to which direct deposits are posted, but as they’re done through EFT, nobody physically walked my paycheck into a store.
“Well, no … sir, I don’t think you understand. The branch. The store where you made this deposit.”
It wasn’t made at a branch. It was a direct deposit. A direct deposit of my paycheck.
“Well … I think I’d better call the store just to be safe.”
Fine, go ahead.
So now my account is overdrawn (or not) by a random amount. My bills may or may not have been paid. I may have unknowingly walked into a branch (or store) and deposited (or not) my own direct deposit personally (maybe). Plus, they promise (sort of) to have an answer for me (maybe) tomorrow (or within a few days) about what may (or may not) have happened (or not) to my money (which may or may not even exist).
Thanks for the effort, guys. Great work.
Going online for help is impossible, because Metro Bank’s website is badly broken. When I was able to log on during a 15-minute window last night around 9:30, my account balances were all wildly inaccurate. There are no pending transactions, so I can’t get a current balance. Maybe this was acceptable in the earliest days of online banking, but even my circa-2000 NetBank account had a vastly superior web interface.
I understand that, from time to time, companies change names or billing systems or call center management. Sometimes, all three happen at once. But they don’t just happen. There’s always time for forethought and planning. Metro Bank failed on multiple levels:
- No capacity planning for their website. Website loads in a static environment (such as a bank) are unbelievably easy to forecast. Why didn’t Metro Bank provide adequate servers and/or bandwidth? Will they do so in the future?
- No capacity planning for their call center. “Day One” always involves a number of users calling in for support, especially when you’ve just completely replaced your website. In 2009, a 75-minute hold time for the most basic of questions — “What is my account balance?” — is completely inexcusable.
- ATM outage. Why were the ATM cards shut down? For how long? When did they come back up? What operational circumstances did Metro Bank not foresee? Or did Metro Bank anticipate the outage, but neglect to inform their customers?
- Terrible web design. I realize design quality is subjective, but Metro Bank stripped out at least one very important function — the “pending transactions” area. You can’t see what charges are pending on your card, so if you suddenly find a $200 hole in your account — as I did — well, then, you’ll just have to wait 5-7 business days until all the charges post. Just hope it’s not a mistake on Metro Bank’s part (as it was in my case).
- Untrained employees. The second supervisor to handle my call was unable to tell me the total sum of my pending transactions because “there isn’t a calculator on this screen”. Because apparently banks have no need for calculators. Of course, this doesn’t even begin to address why my account was hosed up in the first place — an issue nobody has been able to fully explain.
And easily the most critical of all failures:
- Blatant indifference to the customers’ needs. When you tell me that my account may be overdrawn and that there’s a $200 discrepancy between what should be there and what really is there, you need to follow up with an explanation. Pronto. Telling me that you’ll have a supervisor get back to me on the following business day is not only inexcusable, but it reeks of arrogance in assuming that I plan on keeping my account open.
Anyone else have any experiences — good or bad — with Metro Bank? Post in the comments and let me know. In the meantime, I’m heading over to PSECU to open an account.
EPILOGUE: It turns out that the problem was that one bill payment was double-dipped. I spent well over two hours on the phone trying to get an answer to a very, very simple question.
UPDATE 1: I arrived home today to check my account balance online (“mymetrobank.com” is not yet unblocked from work), only to find out it had grown to an overdraft of $196. A supervisor had offered to credit back $100 from the double-ding, but had incorrectly inserted it as a debit. Presumably, they caught the mistake, becuase it was followed by a credit. Effectively, they cancelled out their own credit. And to add insult to injury, the thing double-dipped again. So now I have a total of three $100 bill payments and one $100 credit.
I called Metro Bank — again — for assistance. I was actually able to drive to my local branch before anyone picked up, so I went inside for help. The woman working behind the counter was the very definition of indifference. As I explained the situation, she was either texting or playing with her nails below the counter (I couldn’t really see). When I stopped talking, she continued staring down in silence. The woman working next to her commented that they’ve had a lot of problems. Then she went back to counting money, while my cashier just started straight down in silence.
Finally a guy came over and offered to help. While I was trying to explain how inconvenienced and frustrated I was at Metro Bank, he kept alternating between offering excuses (“we lost our license to use that website”) and insulting Metro (“nobody at the call center knows what’s going on” and “I hate Metro right now”). Not exactly the kind of thing to say to a customer. Especially when that customer is asking where his missing $300 went.
I have to go do something else now. Anything. It’s infuriating that they lost my money, it’s infuriating that they obviously weren’ prepared for this switch, and most of all, it’s infuriating that nobody at Metro Bank knows or cares about what’s going on.
I think I found the perfect slogan for their new venture.
Metro Bank: We Don’t Know.
UPDATE 2: After reading the comments from “Shannon”, who appears to be an employee, I think I found a much better slogan for Metro Bank Harrisburg. What do you think?
Metro Bank: Go F Yourself, Pennsylvania.