2008-03-07 / Letters

Banking Fiasco

This letter was also sent to the Office of Thrift Supervision, Office of the Comptroller of the Currency, Chief Executive Officer of Cross County and the President of Cross County. Dear Editor,

On February 1, 2008, I went to Cross County Savings Bank, located at 455 Beach 129 Street, Belle Harbor, NY, to withdraw $1,000.00 to pay a Visa bill at Chase Manhattan Bank, located at 257 Beach 116 Street, Rockaway, Park, NY. I asked the teller, Donna Molanari, to give me (9) one hundred dollar bills and (5) twenties. This took place at around 1:30 p.m.

I went straight to Chase and gave the teller, Pamela Fohner, the money, which was still wrapped around the withdrawal slip with the invoice statement. At the same time this was occurring, I was opening another account, so my attention was divided. The teller, who took her time to complete the transaction, stated, "This does not look like a good bill." I responded, "That's not the case because I just got the money at Cross County Bank." She said, "I don't care where you got the bill from. It's a bad bill." She called over another teller and asked her opinion. I was in shock. The teller was mumbling, "Where is the book to look up the numbers?" More was going on, however, I really didn't know what she was doing or saying. The bottom line at this time was, she said, "Well we have to confiscate this bill and now you have to make a lower payment." How dare she suggest what I needed to do. I asked her to return the other bills and replaced the payment with a check for the full amount. You can probably count the people of color who bank at these banks. Besides the minorities that work at Chase, I have always dreaded having a transaction with the others. Customer Service 101 would firstly, have a supervisor come over and explain what the procedure is when there is questionable currency. When I asked to speak to a superior I was told she would be back in ten minutes.

I sat at the desk of a Personal Banker who was opening an account for me and asked to use the phone to contact the other bank. When I called the bank that I have been banking

 

 

 

 

 

Letters with for about 10+ years, (who know me by name when I visit for transactions), I asked to speak to the manager, Joanne Doughterty. Her greeting was, "Yes, Gloria, how can I help you?" I am sure that the person who I spoke to, before I was able to speak to her, had informed her about the counterfeit bill. I recounted how I made the withdrawal, and that now Chase was claiming that the bill was counterfeit. Her response was that, she didn't know what I did when I left the bank and that I needed to say something before I left the bank. I was loud because I felt insulted that she would suggest, that if there was a possibility that I had another transaction after the withdrawal that I would be calling, and that I should have double checked the bills received from a "BANK" as if, I, a lay person would know the difference. Another Customer Service 101 response! Not, "I am sorry to hear about what occurred. I will investigate the matter," or whatever they say to people they trust. What she did say in the second call was that she checks every bill, and that bill came from the vault. I replied, "I don't care if it came from the Federal Reserve." I sent a copy of the said bill to Cross County. The next "response, "That is an old bill and there are

no old bills on the premises." Well, if someone deposits an old bill they might take it out of circulation, however, I doubt that they take each bill off the premises.

I hung up and asked for the numbers to the executive offices. Back and forth in the bank, to the meter, and back on the phone. At about 4 p.m., I received a call from the Executives of Cross County stating they have no claim of responsibility, however, they will partially compensate my account. I went back to Chase to see if, after 3+ hours, the Assistant Manager, Emily Natale, had returned. When I approached her all cool and calm to ask if she knew what had transpired, she began by telling me (raising her voice) that her bank has nothing to do with it and that the fault lies with my bank and that she spoke to the manager of my bank and she had the nerve to suggest that the bill came from them. She spoke to me as if I was the perpetrator instead of the victim. Good old fashioned, "customer relations." The receipt her teller gave me had the incorrect date and was incomplete.

I spoke to officers Thomas Caruso and William Meyer of Cross County who reiterated that I had left the bank and that they have no old bills. I also spoke to Mr. David Mendez of Chase's Executive Offices, no consolation nor suggested direction. The manager, Emily Natale, stated that she was not there on that date and is unable to help me because the procedure is to confiscate the bill.

I spoke to the regulatory agencies because I want them to be aware that improper banking practices should also have a component that deals with the individual client who does not see a sign in the bank that reads, "Ask your teller if any of your bills are counterfeit before you leave the window," or "When a bill is in question no person in authority will give you the time of day!"

Is there an in - place procedure that involves the tellers as well as the depositor? Shouldn't her drawer have been checked to see what bills were in the drawer?

DISAPPOINTED IN LOCAL BANKS, MRS. GLORIA HENDERSON

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