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PNC bank - a cautionary tale

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I recognize that an n=1 experience does not generalize to everyone, but this may end being important to someone...

Been a PNC bank customer for nine years, the world kept spinning and never had a problem. On July 10 I exchanged 9,243 CNY (roughly $1,250 after fees to be deposited in my account). Deposit came through after 72 hours... again, life was good.

Flash forward to July 31 and my local branch called me to let me know they mailed the Chinese currency to the wrong "department", it was returned, and my account would be debited the amount that was deposited three weeks earlier. I was presented with two options: 1) return to the branch to redo the exchange, which will take 3-4 weeks, or 2) return to the branch and retrieve the currency. Unfortunately, on July 31 I left for a two week vacation; as such, both options are unacceptable.

I have talked to the VP and my local branch (who referred me to the corporate customer escalations) and the latter who after researching came back with, "your account was credited by your local branch in error, the issue is with them, not us." After this, I filed a complaint with the FDIC, but I don't think that is going to help me much.

So now I am left with an unauthorized debit of my account, to make up for a mistake that I did not make, for a solution that I cannot solve. Floating the money is not the issue, the lack of responsibility and willingness to make it right with a customer is.

Again, take it for it's worth...

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At my local PNC branch they have free k-cup coffee and popcorn in the lobby.  

jumi (Aug. 21, 2017 @ 7:32a) |

That's still not as good as a free toaster and 9% interest on savings accounts.

DTASFAB (Aug. 21, 2017 @ 8:43a) |

I am told casinos will typically exchange foreign currency at little/no charge.

Rasheed

rasheedb (Aug. 22, 2017 @ 10:14a) |

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rated:
Counterpoint - I opened a PNC account, got a $300 bonus for depositing $5k to the account via"direct deposit" (ACH transfer from an external account", let it sit for 45 days, then closed the original deposit +300 away, and closed the account,

In general, I don't understand why people still do business with these big banks in the country. They don't provide any value to the average consumer. Just dump them and go with a regular credit union/local small bank and use the big national ones for what they're worth - medium-large sign on bonuses, big credit card rewards, and nothing else.

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tag1979 said:   Been a PNC bank customer for nine years, the world kept spinning and never had a problem. On July 10 I exchanged 9,243 CNY (roughly $1,250 after fees to be deposited in my account). 
 Big banks. Unless you have 6 figures on deposit, they won't give you the time of day, and even then, you would need 7 figures for them to help you out.

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vnuts21 said:   go with a regular credit union/local small bank
  
These banks can suck too. Just go with whoever is going to put the most money in your pocket, and be ready to switch when the next good deal comes along.

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vnuts21 said:   Counterpoint - I opened a PNC account, got a $300 bonus for depositing $5k to the account via"direct deposit" (ACH transfer from an external account", let it sit for 45 days, then closed the original deposit +300 away, and closed the account,

In general, I don't understand why people still do business with these big banks in the country. They don't provide any value to the average consumer. Just dump them and go with a regular credit union/local small bank and use the big national ones for what they're worth - medium-large sign on bonuses, big credit card rewards, and nothing else.
 

  
I did that, but somehow after clicking on the $300 option they signed me up for the account that had a $2k minimum and paid a $200 bonus.
And unfortunately I failed to save screenshots of every step of the process like I usually do.

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https://www.federalreserveconsumerhelp.gov/

https://www.consumerfinance.gov/complaint/

Both appropriate venues for filing complaint. I've found it best to be clear on what your desired outcome is.

Post on their Twitter another option--often shames into not being stupid. @PNCBank_Help

Good luck.

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vnuts21 said:   
In general, I don't understand why people still do business with these big banks in the country. They don't provide any value to the average consumer. Just dump them and go with a regular credit union/local small bank and use the big national ones for what they're worth - medium-large sign on bonuses, big credit card rewards, and nothing else.

  The reason I use big banks (specifically, PNC) is because they provide the most "seamless" experience you can get in banking. Compared to the smaller banks and credit unions, ATM and branch access is much better, mobile/web tools are better (technically PNC leaves a little to be desired compared to other big banks, here but they still do better than the smaller ones), etc. Above all else, despite barely using them, I've had lots of things go wrong when trying smaller banks (sending bill pays late by their error, not being able to find money transferred to them, frozen debit cards for no apparent reason); they always fix them, but it takes a long time and you wonder why they happened in the first place. With the big banks? I've never had one issue despite using them (PNC specifically) far more often, but the horror stories always make me think "what if?"

Customer service when things go wrong is definitely far better with the smaller banks and credit unions, but outside of that, the ones that I've tried tend to leave me disappointed. I'd love to take my money out of PNC and go to a credit union, but I haven't found any (yet) that make me feel like I'm improving my overall banking experience.

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I think the OP would like the answer to their question, not a debate about why use a big bank. There are reasons for having accounts at big banks.

It won't help you now but maybe just ask for U.S. currency for your CNY. Take that, go outside, and deposit it in the ATM. That way it's their problem if they send it to the wrong department. Let's say they lost the money. They can't deduct it from your checking account saying "sorry, until we find it, you get no credit."

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This sort of experience is "close my account" worthy IMO. But like atikovi pointed out, unless you've got 6 figures in your account, they won't care when you close it.

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I agree with sdskees, big banks suck in many ways but the good outweighs the bad in most cases

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upanddown said:   I agree with sdskees, big banks suck in many ways but the good outweighs the bad in most cases
  
It all depends on your needs. I have a Wells Fargo, a TD, and a PNC just in the block where my condo is and I can;t imagine why I would ever need to go into a branch. I see people there and always wonder  why they are at the branch. I bank online pay no fees whatsoever, no ATM fees, all my previous mortgages were done via email either with a local originator or my CU at much better rates than any of the large banks offer.

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@jarfykk... thanks, I filed a separate complaint with the CFPB

@meade18... I agree, this is close my account worthy. Moving my direct deposit to a new place when I return and then, poof... I'm gone.

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Moosy said:   
upanddown said:   I agree with sdskees, big banks suck in many ways but the good outweighs the bad in most cases
  
It all depends on your needs. I have a Wells Fargo, a TD, and a PNC just in the block where my condo is and I can;t imagine why I would ever need to go into a branch. I see people there and always wonder  why they are at the branch. I bank online pay no fees whatsoever, no ATM fees, all my previous mortgages were done via email either with a local originator or my CU at much better rates than any of the large banks offer.

Just like you said, it all depends on your needs. Big banks can frequently offer you things that you cannot get from CU's and online banks and, when used correctly, can save you money and make the overall experience easier and smoother. 

If you only deal with online banks and out of state CU's, you can't walk into a branch and walk out with a certified check. BOA Preferred Rewards and Chase 's Private Client relationships (as do other large B&M's, but I am just not as familiar with them) qualify you for fee waivers on just about every bank product out there, so, for instance, you don't have to pay wire fees. BOA's outgoing wire process is the easiest and the smoothest of any retail account that I've ever seen, as there are no paper forms, no annoying verification calls, and the wires go out very quickly. By contrast, with most online banks, sending a wire is a process. Likewise, BOA deposits incoming wires into your account within 10-15 minutes of the fed funds # becoming available, which is absolutely unheard of on the retail side. With Platinum Honors, BOA's CC offers 2.625% on everyday purchases (do not try churning it, as BOA monitors these accounts very closely), 3.5% on groceries and 5.25% on gas. For a while, Chase 's Private Client allowed people who were over 5/24 to get the Sapphire Reserve card, which got them a $1,500+ net value in its first year. BOA's Merrill Edge gives you free trades, and, during certain times each year, offers highly competitive cash bonuses for bringing in money to them (they also match other brokerage offers). BOA's billpay allows you to use its excellent engine without keeping any money on deposit at BOA, as the billpays come out of your third party online accounts.

With the right setup, you are not giving up anything to have a relationship with these institutions, but are gaining valuable benefits. Note that the right setup does not require you to give up your online banks or CU's, nor is there a need to keep large deposits with these B&M's at virtually 0% interest.

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OP, I'll close my PNC account now citing your experience.

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I would try a complaint with the Comptroller of the Currency or the Federal Reserve Bank (not the FDIC) and maybe a complaint with the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.

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tag1979 said:   I recognize that an n=1 experience does not generalize to everyone, but this may end being important to someone...

Been a PNC bank customer for nine years, the world kept spinning and never had a problem. On July 10 I exchanged 9,243 CNY (roughly $1,250 after fees to be deposited in my account). Deposit came through after 72 hours... again, life was good.

Flash forward to July 31 and my local branch called me to let me know they mailed the Chinese currency to the wrong "department", it was returned, and my account would be debited the amount that was deposited three weeks earlier. I was presented with two options: 1) return to the branch to redo the exchange, which will take 3-4 weeks, or 2) return to the branch and retrieve the currency. Unfortunately, on July 31 I left for a two week vacation; as such, both options are unacceptable.

I have talked to the VP and my local branch (who referred me to the corporate customer escalations) and the latter who after researching came back with, "your account was credited by your local branch in error, the issue is with them, not us." After this, I filed a complaint with the FDIC, but I don't think that is going to help me much.

So now I am left with an unauthorized debit of my account, to make up for a mistake that I did not make, for a solution that I cannot solve. Floating the money is not the issue, the lack of responsibility and willingness to make it right with a customer is.

Again, take it for it's worth...

I had an eerily similar problem.  Foreign exchange at PNC is problematic.  PM me and I can give you the contact in middle management I used to resolve the issue.

In the future don't use big banks to exchange currency, unless you get a deal on the rate and fees beforehand.

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I used to work in PNC...their process for branches is straight out of 1990s...so outdated. Not surprised they messed up the currency.

I love Charles Schwab as a main bank. For cash/local, Chase is fine or a community bank.

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vnuts21 said:   Counterpoint - I opened a PNC account, got a $300 bonus for depositing $5k to the account via"direct deposit" (ACH transfer from an external account", let it sit for 45 days, then closed the original deposit +300 away, and closed the account,

In general, I don't understand why people still do business with these big banks in the country. They don't provide any value to the average consumer. Just dump them and go with a regular credit union/local small bank and use the big national ones for what they're worth - medium-large sign on bonuses, big credit card rewards, and nothing else.

  
PNC and Chase are the only banks in my area that have decent ACH transfer system.  (Free both incoming and outgoing.)  I have a Credit Union that offers it, but their functionality is lacking.

Otherwise, I agree with the sentiment.  I hope to close PNC "One of these days" so that I can get bonuses from them again.  Perhaps I will break down and get an ALLY some time soon.  - I just wish they would pay me like everyone else!

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videogamesaremylife said:   
vnuts21 said:   Counterpoint - I opened a PNC account, got a $300 bonus for depositing $5k to the account via"direct deposit" (ACH transfer from an external account", let it sit for 45 days, then closed the original deposit +300 away, and closed the account,

In general, I don't understand why people still do business with these big banks in the country. They don't provide any value to the average consumer. Just dump them and go with a regular credit union/local small bank and use the big national ones for what they're worth - medium-large sign on bonuses, big credit card rewards, and nothing else.

  
PNC and Chase are the only banks in my area that have decent ACH transfer system.  (Free both incoming and outgoing.)  I have a Credit Union that offers it, but their functionality is lacking.

Otherwise, I agree with the sentiment.  I hope to close PNC "One of these days" so that I can get bonuses from them again.  Perhaps I will break down and get an ALLY some time soon.  - I just wish they would pay me like everyone else!

  Really?  This is the first I've heard about any bank charging fees for ACH transfers in any direction.  Is this normal?  I work in the industry with banks and I'v never heard about this.  THough we do deal with smaller banks so that could be why.

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So the folks in the branch -- who likely don't get a lot of foreign currency deposits -- made a good faith mistake (you've never made one in your job?), and they tell you what needs to happen to fix it (you gotta go back to the branch).  Inconvenient?  Yes.  Lacks total sense?  Yes. But your making such a big deal about it, esp. when you say that you don't immediately need the dough?  Suggest you consider this a learning moment, in terms of what's important in life (*), and what's not so important.

And why are you writing this DURING YOUR 2-WEEK VACATION?  With all due respect, that's kinda nuts.

(*)  ETA:  At my age, any day is off to a good start if I can breathe, walk and have a really satisfying bowel movement.

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tuphat said:   And why are you writing this DURING YOUR 2-WEEK VACATION?  With all due respect, that's kinda nuts.
 

  FWF is love, FWF is life.

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ntr91 said:   
  FWF is love, FWF is life.

  Your comment reminded me of the old Rush song.  Re-checking the lyrics, maybe they were writing about FWF --
 
Catch the witness, catch the wit
Catch the spirit, catch the spit
The world is, the world is
Love and life are deep

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I will use the OP's post as a cautionary tale not to deposit CNY with PNC bank. Other than that I've been very happy as a customer of PNC.

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tuphat said:   
ntr91 said:   
  FWF is love, FWF is life.

  Your comment reminded me of the old Rush song.  Re-checking the lyrics, maybe they were writing about FWF --
 
Catch the witness, catch the wit
Catch the spirit, catch the spit
The world is, the world is
Love and life are deep


What you say about his company
Is what you say about society

rated:
I wouldn't use a bank to convert currencies but that is just me. I've been happy with PNC, and like that they process all deposits for the day before any debits.

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I found PNC very useful for clearing spend requirements for cc bonuses. IIRC, you can fund checking and savings each with $2k from credit cards.

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Moosy said:   
upanddown said:   I agree with sdskees, big banks suck in many ways but the good outweighs the bad in most cases
  
It all depends on your needs. I have a Wells Fargo, a TD, and a PNC just in the block where my condo is and I can;t imagine why I would ever need to go into a branch. I see people there and always wonder  why they are at the branch. I bank online pay no fees whatsoever, no ATM fees, all my previous mortgages were done via email either with a local originator or my CU at much better rates than any of the large banks offer.

  My bank has an oven in the lobby and bakes cookies throughout the day.  

Story: once I was coming out of the bank and this scraggly old guy sort of kicks open his car door to confront me.  

"What kinda cookie is that?"
"Um, macadamia nut white chocolate."
"Good!  I hate them raisin ones."
"I'm right there with you, sir."

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Kandykornhead said:     My bank has an oven in the lobby and bakes cookies throughout the day.  

 

  What bank is this?

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JepJepJep said:   
Kandykornhead said:     My bank has an oven in the lobby and bakes cookies throughout the day.  

 

  What bank is this?

  Gate City

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vnuts21 said:   
In general, I don't understand why people still do business with these big banks in the country. They don't provide any value to the average consumer. Just dump them and go with a regular credit union/local small bank and use the big national ones for what they're worth - medium-large sign on bonuses, big credit card rewards, and nothing else.

  At my local PNC branch they have free k-cup coffee and popcorn in the lobby.  

rated:
jumi said:   
vnuts21 said:   
In general, I don't understand why people still do business with these big banks in the country. They don't provide any value to the average consumer. Just dump them and go with a regular credit union/local small bank and use the big national ones for what they're worth - medium-large sign on bonuses, big credit card rewards, and nothing else.

  At my local PNC branch they have free k-cup coffee and popcorn in the lobby.  

  That's still not as good as a free toaster and 9% interest on savings accounts.

rated:
I am told casinos will typically exchange foreign currency at little/no charge.

Rasheed

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