Category Archives: Business

Beware Of Bank Mergers And Acquisitions

When banks and brokerages eat each other, it’s always a scourge for their customers. In every instance, financial institutions promise a seamless transition, but I have never found this to be the case.

When one financial institution is acquired by another, missing payments and deposits, late fees, service outages, messed up data, lost transactions and exorbitant wait times for customer service are the norm, not the exception. Although most of these problems will be fixed (eventually), you’ll be spending your unpaid time with their overwhelmed customer service reps (mostly on hold) to get things straightened out.

Possibly even worse, the transition process involves third parties handling your most sensitive customer data. This creates the possibility for data leaks, and an opportunity for cybercriminals and corrupt operators.

Take my advice: As soon as you find out that your bank or brokerage is being acquired, look for a new bank or brokerage. Take this as an opportunity to shop around for the best conditions and services. While evaluating new financial institutions to take your business to, make sure to investigate not only their services and fees, but also their corporate political, social and ideological engagements. (A surprising number will sponsor and support causes you dislike or judge to be unworthy of your support).

Once you find what you are looking for, open a new account and transfer your funds and securities. Then, download all records, double check to make sure you have everything. Finally, shut down the old account before any of these dreadful automated transitions disrupts and violates your life.

If you want a trial period, you might even open up several new accounts, see which ones you like best, and then shut down those which suit you the least.

Be proactive, and you will save yourself a lot of aggravation and time, and possibly get a better deal.

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