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Big Bank, Little Bank

I closed my account at one of the country’s biggest banks after its ATM swallowed my card.  I wasn’t in an actual bank when it happened so I picked up the phone next to the ATM that would connect me to customer service.  After waiting on hold for thirty minutes, I hung up and left, hoping the next person couldn’t use my card to take money from my account. 

But the other day when I needed cash and my new little bank’s ATM machine was being serviced, I decided to pay the $2.00 charge and get my cash from the big bank’s nearby ATM.  It wasn’t until I got home that I realized that 2/3 of one of the $20 bills I received was missing.

After thirty minutes on the phone with the big bank’s customer service, I finally got a person who told me that my little bank had to dispute the transaction before I could get my $20.

So the next day, I went to my little bank, fully aware that I’d already wasted more than $20 worth of my time.  To me, it was the principle.  I went to customer service, showed a very nice man my partial $20 bill and my big bank’s ATM machine receipt.

He checked my ID and told me that they would dispute the transaction and deposit the $20 in my account.   “It should be there in about a week,” he said. Then he excused himself for a moment and returned with a crisp new $20 bill.  “I don’t see why you should have to wait,” he said.

Now, that’s customer service and that’s why I’ll stick with the little guy.


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Mary O'Keeffe

I have a pretty good guess about identity of your former big bank, and I have an account at the same bank too, but based at a branch here in Upstate New York.

Decades ago, I used to have a bank account based at the Harvard Square branch of the same big bank. Totally different experience after we moved to Upstate New York. Like night and day.

I can't say enough nice things about the folks who staff our local branch of the big bank. Their managers have gone above and beyond for me in difficult situations involving transactions for family members in other states, foreign countries, etc. They are very motherly and sweet, and also very knowledgeable about the various options for handling challenging situations.

It has a homey small town feel to it, perhaps because it is located in a small town. They serve coffee in the lobby and used to give my kids lollypops when they came with me on banking errands. They have many loyal long-time customers. We are lucky to have it. The big bank has closed other branches nearby, but they have kept this branch open.

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