Regions Bank Austin — It’s Not Easy Leaving Green

The greatest songs are written during painful times, so with apologies to Kermit the Frog, I rewrote his lyrics and dedicate them to Regions Bank during a customer service tragedy of epic proportions this past month. On second thought, I think Kermit would be proud.

It’s not that easy leaving green
Wanting to spend each day the color of the leaves
But I think it could be nicer being red, white and blue
Or something much more American like that

It’s not easy leaving green
It seems you blend in with so many other uncaring things
So people tend to leave you ’cause you’re
Not treating them like human beings in ATX
No care in the least

Yes green‘s the color of Spring
And green should be cool and friendly-like
But your green is vast like an ocean, self-important
Like government, a giant green tangle

When green is all you care about
It could make me wonder why, but why wonder why
Goodbye, I’m  gone and I’ll be fine, it’s a new day
But Regions was where I longed to be

It’s not easy leaving green. I wanted to bank each day with the color of leaves.

On August 12, I walked into the Congress Ave branch of Regions Bank in Austin, TX. The building so pretty and the clerks so friendly and smiling. They welcomed me to Austin and I was oh so thrilled to have a bank within walking distance.

But then…the happy story grows tragic.

That day, I asked to permanently close two of my four accounts in order to simplify my record keeping — but most importantly, I stressed emphatically to the clerk and to Lauren, the “financial services specialist,” because I’m trying to conserve financially during these difficult economic times and I want to discover any recurring charges that are coming through those accounts, such as the numerous small online payments that I don’t want to pay any longer, but are almost impossible to stop unless you close the account. I stressed the account needed to be closed, so that all the recurring companies would email me for a payment. Then I could close the accounts I no longer wanted.

They happily said they understood, and certainly, I could close that account. I walked out proud to be a Regions customer.

Until…a few days later, I get a $36 overdraft charge, and another, and another…you guessed it, on my “closed” account.

I walked to my “local” bank, confident we could rectify this problem, since the account was obviously closed. I was directed to “Vice President” Michael who began an explanation worthy of the IRS about why I must pay the overdrafts because recurring charges “reopened” the account. But I explained to him, “it was my bank account and I closed it on August 12,” these recurring charges were exactly the reason I closed the account. I obviously could not withdraw money from the account after August 12, so how could a recurring payment “reopen” the account? And even if that were the case, why didn’t someone explain that to me, when that was the very reason I closed the account. But the “Vice President”  tells me he does not have the authority to refund the charges. I then ask him to talk to his supervisor Melinda and have her help me. He said he would call.

After numerous walks and conversations to my “local” bank so green—as I was unable to call the branch because their phone number on google Maps is out of service—I was mortified not to receive a promised call from the “Vice President,” but instead from their collections department in Pensacola.

“But, wait,” I explained, “surely there must be some kind of mistake, I have been working this out with your “Vice President” and he is aware of the details. Just call him at the Austin branch and he can explain everything. I was informed curtly, as if I were some sort of imbecile, that the Regions collection department could not talk to a Regions Vice President. They don’t talk to each other. His job was simply to tell me to pay or else.

That was when I finally realized it was time to leave the green of Regions for the Red, White and Blue of another bank down the street.

I unhappily walked back to my local branch so pretty and paid the smiling clerks $108 that I needed for other bills and that I did not owe, because in their green eyes, I am just a number in their vast ocean of government-like, powerless minions. Lackies whose job seems to be much like the Italian banks I’ve visited, to extort at will while smiling happily and blaming someone else.

So goodbye, Lauren, Michael, Melinda, David, Sheryl, Wade and rude collections person. The phrase “It’s not easy leaving green,” now takes on a whole new meaning.

Question: Do You Have A Similar “Leaving Is So Hard To Do” Customer Service Story?

If this story sounds strangely familiar, please click the “Like,” “Google+” and “Tweet” buttons below. It’s worth sharing just for the new lyrics. :)

8 Responses to “Regions Bank Austin — It’s Not Easy Leaving Green”

  1. sadly, in today’s climate, I don’t think it’s possible to find a bank that won’t be the same. When the fees of your RW&B bank become onerous and you take steps to rectify that situation, sadly you will find the exact same thing.

    Banks are not interested in serving customers, only in extracting fees to make money.

    • Sad, huh. Where did American Free enterprise go? The American bank system operates like the Italian socialistic government owned banks…Agh.

      Thanks, Jack.

  2. Ug…what a nightmare, Randy. I’m also an unhappy Regions customer. They are also now charging $4/mo just for using your checkcard: http://bit.ly/ofInU0

    • Not exactly the customer service you guys exhibit at your company. Agh! So sorry, Brett. I wish your extraordinary and growing coming could give Regions Bank lessons!!

  3. Randy, not sure if the “red, white and blue” bank is the giant one based in Charlotte, NC or not, but don’t expect much there either. I’m dumping them because, after 8 years as a customer using MS Money and Quicken to manage my finances, they now want to charge me $9.95 a month for the “privilege” of accessing my data via remote software. I’m dumping them for a more local bank, but I don’t expect much there either.

    It’s a race to the bottom in customer service, I’m afraid.
    Jonathan´s last blog post ..Something Phenomenal Happened

  4. Yikes. This is a terrible story, and yet not so surprising, unfortunately. We’ve considered ditching BOA, although to be truthful, we’ve had years of good experiences with them. The only reason we’ve considered it is because Dave Ramsey recommends going with a local (FDIC insured) bank precisely because of what you’re pointing out here: that in large banks, you are just a number.

    Ramsey says that it’s much better to have people who know you by name and face, and who you know by name and face, taking care of your money.
    Chris´s last blog post ..Broken

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