Tuesday, January 4, 2011

You Can Take That to the Bank...But You're Better Off Using Your Mattress

TD Banks registered logo is America's Most Convenient Bank. Youve surely seen one of its numerous television ads featuring Regis Philbin and Kelly Ripa. But Ive been banking with TD Bank since it took over Commerce Bank, and I contend that TD Bank is perhaps Americas Least Convenient bank. For instance:

On Monday, I queued up in one of my local branch's four drive-thru lanes to deposit a check. After stuffing the check and deposit slip into the container and sending it to the teller, I sat and waited for more than ten minutes as five customers who had entered their lane and began their transaction after me received service and drove away while I continued to wait.


The very next day, I drove to the same branch to obtain some temporary checks because I was still awaiting the arrival of my new ones. The customer-service representative informed me that they did not have any temporary checks and that I would have to go to another branch to get them.


These are inconveniences occurring just this week. Theres also the $4.00 maintenance fee that TD Bank charged when my savings-account balance fell below $250.00. I didnt even know this fee existed...and they charged me for it four consecutive months. I accrued 75 measly cents in interest on my savings in 2010...yet TD Bank took $16 for maintaining my account! What did that maintenance require? Leaning over to shift cheeks while sitting on their fat asses staring at the sun and waiting for 5:00 so they could run to Prospectors and down a martini with my money? Okay, so I have Web access to my account, which could have alerted me earlier to this hidden fee—but I rarely used my savings account in 2010 and seldom had need to check it. Bottom line:


And if I had a nickel for every time a TD Bank ATM was out of service when I needed to use it, Id have just enough money to open another TD Bank savings account and lose $4 a month in maintenance fees...

Quite inconvenient.

Further making its customers lives more difficult, TD Bank used to allot to account holders two money orders a year without charge. A TD Bank money order now costs an account holder $4.

Extremely inconvenient!

TD Banks advertising campaign further boasts about its legendary service (as seen in small print in the ad above). I would very much like Regis and/or Kelly to explain whats so "legendary about it. Banking, in one form or another, has existed since antiquity. Certainly, the banking families of Renaissance Italy introduced practices that are still in use today, and Alexander Hamilton proved to be one of the greatest banking minds in modern history, organizing the first bank of our fledgling nation. But TD Bank as an operating unit only dates back to October 2008—hardly a history with which to achieve legendary service. Now, had TD Bank lent substantial sums to Charles V so he could finance his wars against the Valois kings of France, or perhaps had it provided coin-counting machines and safety-deposit boxes to the Pilgrims, then a claim of legendary service might be justified. But TD Bank reviving the tradition of offering free lollipops at its counter doesnt cut it. Finance a crusade or two... Provide home-equity loans in gold ducats... Offer a 700-year CD so youll have a viable past by the time it matures... At least give out free quill & inkwells instead of those cheap pens... Something to legitimize your claim...

Most convenient?

Perhaps TD Bank should drop Regis and Kelly in favor of the Church Lady so as to make more obvious that its claim is a goof.

Besides, Dana Carvey needs the work...


The checks I ordered more than three weeks ago still have not arrived.

Ludicrously inconvenient!


As of October 2012, TD Bank no longer sells postage stamps through its ATMs.



May 31, 2014: Once again, the ATM is out of order, necessitating that I stand in a long line for counter service while staring at the AMERICA'S MOST CONVENIENT BANK slogan—the banking world's version of the Warren Report—all-too-proudly mounted on the wall behind the tellers.



July 30, 2014: Again, the ATM is out of order. Standing next in line, one teller occupied and the other teller busy doing apparently nothing, a customer-service employee, seeing me growing visibly frustrated, walks across the bank floor, goes behind the counter, and asks the unoccupied teller whether he informed me that his line is closed. The teller responds affirmatively despite never having even looked up to see me standing at the head of the line about ten feet away, let alone never uttering a single word to me. A brazen and shameless lie that would have Alexander Hamilton spinning in his urn—made without even attempting to conceal his fallacious claim from my ears.



October 14, 2014: The TD Bank in Lake Worth, Florida, has a line of customers almost out the door, yet only a single teller is working the counter. Making matters worse, at least for me, of the fifteen (15!) slots of transaction slips available at the front-door counter, exactly none (0!) of them contain withdrawal slips. Apparently, TD Bank doesnt want you to have access to your money.



December 26, 2014: As the fifth car in the drive-thru this afternoon, more than ten minutes passed without a single transaction being completed by the unconcerned teller, who instead found it more important to wave at, and inquire about, the crying infant in the lead vehicle. Finally, I pulled out of line, parked, and conducted my banking inside.

When the drive-thru is slower than going inside, its time to look for another bank...


October 5, 2015: Brought $174.15 of coins to TD Bank to deposit in their coin counter. (I painstakingly hand-counted every coin last evening, logging each one with a tick mark, by denomination, on a white-lined sheet of paper, because more than a few reports exist of banks deliberately miscalibrating their machines so that they can shortchange you and bilk you out of even more of your money.) Sure enough, the TD Bank machine produced a total of $167.41more than $6 short, putting this far beyond the realm of an innocent margin of error. The bank manager didnt count on me producing the hand-logged inventory of coins and, after ten minutes of awkward fumfering on her part, my account was finally credited the full amount. However, I still did not receive the $1.99 bonus for guessing within $2.00 of the pre-count total (I input the exact amount, of course).



November 28, 2015: More than two weeks after closing out my safety-deposit box (going into my local branch, removing my property, and signing the forms to officially terminate the account), I received a late notice for safety-deposit box renewal. TD Bank is demanding $43.00 in 2016 fees for a deposit box I no longer rent. To add insult to buffoonery, TD Bank is still sending my mail to my old address, which I updated in its system more than a month ago.



January 13, 2016: My debit cardwhich is good thru April 2016, has virtually no wear on it, and has never before given me a problem either at an ATM or accessing one in a locked TD Bank lobbyfailed to unlock the door of my local branch tonight, I had to sit in the dark parking lot until another customer entered the lobby, so I could stand outside and wait until he exited. If you think that was vexing enoughand it wasunderstand that the $1.5 billion Powerball drawing is tonightand with ticket sales ending, by local law, at 10:00, I was fighting the clock to get cash. Sure, I could have gone to a non-TD Bank ATM, but the galling surcharges tacked on by both the host bank and good ol' TD would have amounted to anywhere from $6 to $8. After paying nearly half a billion dollars in federal, state, and local taxes on my Powerball jackpot winnings, thered hardly been anything left thanks to TDs grubby little hands...


(TD Bank ad copyright TD Bank; Church Lady photo copyright NBC.)