|Chipmunk & Peanuts|
I have some advice for all of you. DO NOT LET YOUR BANK BE SOLD!!!
While I can't really do anything about it, my bank that I've been using for the last 25 years has decided to get out of upstate NY. Since there isn't a branch of the new bank they sold their accounts to in Oswego, the new one with my checking & savings accounts will be in the same building with the same people as the old bank. So far, so good.
While they announced the sale almost a year ago, everything went on hold while the FTC or who ever deals with what bank can be in what part of the country decided if the deal could go through. Unfortunately, they just announced that the actual change will take place in mid May when I will be at least 2000 miles away.
1st interesting point - they sold the checking & savings accounts to one bank & the Credit Cards to another so discussing any problems means dealing with 3 banks. The next interesting problem - all current credit cards, debit cards & terminal access cards will stop working as of May 20th, as will on line access to the accounts. Even my "high interest" (insert laughter here) on line savings account which is only indirectly connected to the old bank (I have to use the ATM to make deposits or withdrawals, not a teller) will be transferred to the new bank.
According to the old bank, no problem; the new banks will send new cards well prior to that date which can be activated after the 18th. Since the cards must be activated before use (from your home phone) it is a bit of a problem for me. They also announced that any automatic deposits, withdrawals will probably stop working and on line bill paying will definitely stop working on the 20th. Since I have my retirement funds electronically deposited & pay all my bills with on line bill paying, that is going to be a problem.
Even if I could figure out where I'd be for long enough to give them an address & wait for mail, they will not send cards to a post office general delivery, so there is no practical way for me to get the new cards. The new bank is fairly local - branches in NY & PA only, so out west I don't have the ability to visit a branch.
The old bank says that's an interesting problem - talk to the new bank; the new banks say they don't have much information from the old bank so they don't know yet how smoothly the transfer will take place. They do assure me that they won't lose any of my money, however I may not be able to access any of it until I return in September.
My rather ridiculous solution is to open new accounts at a branch of the new bank located in a near by town, apply for new credit cards with the new branch, re enter all the on line bill paying information, change all the automatic payments & withdrawals to the new accounts (hoping that I remember all of them, particularly the ones I only pay every 6 months or once a year), transfer enough money to cover the expenses of the trip to the new accounts (in case I can't access the on line savings account after the 20th), & hope that when I get back I can deal with all the duplicate accounts. My current bank tells me there will be no problem letting the replacement credit cards that will be mailed to me by May 18th sit unactivated until I get back in September. I wonder what effect all the new cards & accounts will have on my credit score?
At least the people at the new bank have been great. Not much they can do about the unknowns, but they have been more than helpful setting up things in the short time I have before I leave. The District Manager says she can solve any problems that crop up over the phone - sure hope so!
All this makes you think about how "convenient" electronic banking has become. Sure, you can pay bills from any place you can access the internet, withdraw money anywhere in the country, or world for that matter, but making a change sure is a lot of work!
Till next time!