The Blob

Sunday, September 21, 2003

Your money means nothing to us

Lesson #1 in how to thoroughly piss off a bank customer: refuse to accept his money. That's exactly what happened to me yesterday morning at my local branch of Wells Fargo Bank. I set out yesterday with a $5,000 check from Charles Schwab in hand to deposit in my bank. The reason: to bail my brother out. With a good check and good intentions in hand, I walked into the bank, filled out the deposit slip and patiently waited in line.

What greeted me was anything but pleasant. (Editor's note: My account at Schwab is shared with my wife, and as such, both of us endorsed the check before I set off on my errand. However, we keep separate bank accounts for convenience as much as anything else, and to be honest, my wife is not on my bank account.) When I presented the check, deposit slip and my ID, the spineless teller examined the check carefully and asked if I had any other accounts with the bank. While I stayed polite, my blood began to boil, as a quick glance at his computer would have answered that question. He then told me that because my wife was not on the account, that he would have to seek permission of his manager. At this point, smoke began to stream from my ears.

After a long delay, he returned and asked if I had my wife's ID with me. I politely explained that I did not, doing my level best to not go circus freak crazy on him at that very moment. He then made me wait again while he sought judgment from his manager, who never even came out to meet with me. Upon return, he said without emotion that he could not accept my deposit. Humiliated, I took my check and deposit slip back, quietly thanked him and walked out.

My politeness evaporated as soon as I hit the outside air.

You better believe I fully intend to raise hell on Monday. And I plan to vote with my feet and checkbook and feet as soon as possible. It's one thing if I was overdrawn, or asking for a loan. But I was doing the opposite: I was trying to give Wells Fargo Bank money. $5,000 to be exact. Most banks normally slobber and drool over the prospect of someone like me doing this, but not Wells Fargo. No, they made sure they were cold and insulting. And perhaps to them, $5,000 is chump change. But to me, it's a lot.

Being as large as they are, Wells Fargo probably won't care if I do leave. But someday, if the bank is getting pummelled by Wall Street and competitors are eating their lunch, I hope this insignificant little blog will be recalled. Businesses win or lose one customer at a time. And a little common sense would have made big difference. I won't forget this. Hopefully, another bank is eager for my business.