09 June 2010

Court Street Citibank Branch Now Staffed By Zombies

Some months ago I switched from the heinous Chase to Citibank for my banking. Not that I thought Citibank a less evil entity than Chase (though I did think that to be the case, ever so slightly, at the time), but because the Court Street Citibank branch was managed by a nice man who had done my wife some very good turns.

This manager, tall, affable and bespectacled, was unlike any I had ever encountered at a large bank. He knew he was just a cog in a huge, heartless machine, but he nonetheless tried to make a difference. He reached out to local businesses, encouraging them to bank with him, explaining that even though it was Citibank, he intended to operate his branch like a local bank. He was openly and candidly critical of some of Citibank's policies in regard to its depositors, and critical of the banking industry in general. He was particularly caustic and funny when it came to Chase. When I once explained to him some twisted policy Chase had applied to my account, which had robbed me of hundreds of dollars in fees, he threw up his hands in frustration and said, "And these people rule the world!"

Sometimes my wife and I would come in to plead our case on various setbacks in our accounts, and he would personally remove automatic fees that he thought were unfair. He also helped my wife work out an arrangement that lowered the monthly finance fees on her Citibank credit card. He did everything he could think of to save us money. It mattered to him that we were happy with the bank

Because of this man, I went to Citibank last spring. I knew there would be a human being there I could talk to.

He is now gone. He was removed. Probably because he cared too much. Because he actually gave a fuck about people.

He has been replaced by a slip of a woman who dresses in funereal black, looks like she's about 14 and has a head the size of a grapefruit. She is swallowed up by the big black leather chair she sits in. The new manager is a company woman all the way. She recites bank policies in a fatalistic tone and with a glassy, soulless look on her face that says "Abandon All Hope All Ye Who Enter This Office." She spends as great deal of time explaining why something is not her fault. She also willingly admits that Citibank has no control over its accounts. Whether some accounts remain or are closed is up to a corporation called Chexsystems. Once Chexsystem lowers the boom on a depositor, that's the end. A death sentence.

She seems to infected the bank tellers, who now act like zombies. They were once noticeably more friendly than the clerks at Chase across the street. It's a great loss for the community, this new regime.

I have no idea where I will bank next. I hear my mattress has a pretty good rate.


KSx said...

As a person with a grapefruit head I take personal exception to that comment!

Bold & Courageous said...

Go to a credit union. I finally ditched Chase years ago, after they fucked me for the last time and I ended up having a balance of –$3,000.

Yes. Negative three thousand dollars. I saved the ATM receipt.

I moved to a small credit union called the Artists Community Credit Union, which has since merged and is now called the Education Affiliates Federal Credit Union. Aside from the long name I have no complaints. I talk to people when I have a problem, but I rarely have to, as I rarely have problems.

Carol Gardens said...

Ridgewood Savings Bank never had lines. The place is goofy. They are always decorating for holidays and having raffles. There are old guys who just come in to sit and shoot the shit. Free pens and sometimes snacks. They used to have a guard that looked like Opie.

Patrick said...

I have a hard time understanding why anyone uses one of those McBanks. They are all rigged to nickle and dime their depositors. I agree with Bold & Courageous, credit unions are the way to go. I've been at the same one now for almost 20 years, and have maybe paid $5 in fees (overdrew account more than 5 times in one month while overseas). The credit unions must be doing something right, otherwise the banks wouldn't be trying to shut them out all the time.
Just my 2cents.