Big Dumb Bank Wedding

We all know the pitfalls of poorly planned mergers and acquisitions--diminished shareholder value, damaged internal cultures--but I recently had a chance to experience first-hand yet another significant snag of corporate marriages. My husband and I are currently shopping for a mortgage, and a number of friends recommended Bank of America to us because of a special loan program they have for young physicians (my husband's doing his residency training). Wanting to speak with someone face-to-face--someone who would know local real estate customs--we walked into a local B of A branch in our neighborhood and asked about the program. We were greeted with a blank stare.

"I don't know about that loan," the bank rep told us, dimly. He didn't apologize for not knowing or hand us off to a more experienced manager, either. He simply said that no one in the office, a Fleet branch as of a few months ago, had been trained yet on the Bank of America products. "Well," I asked, startled at his response, "what about the zillion other Bank of America branches that have recently exploded all over New York? Isn't there anywhere in the city we could sit and talk to someone about Bank of America's mortgage products?" No, he told us, flatly. No one in the branches had yet been trained on the new loan programs.

It is one thing to see service slip a little when two companies merge--employees are unsettled, after all. But complete ignorance of the products your new company sells? Couldn't they have waited to rebrand the branch until their employees were up to speed? Changing out the signage but not the knowledge is the quickest route to turning off new customers.

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5 Comments

  • Josh Diaz

    I am a mortgage professional with Bank of America and will be more than happy to discuss our mortgage options with you. Our Dr. loan program has served many new and existing Dr.'s reach their home financing needs. I may be reached @ 1-800-678-6060.

  • Mason

    I am no longer surprised by this. Especially not surprised that it's a bank.

    The thing that just grinds my nerves more than anything is this: no one gives a damn. The blank-faced yahoo you talked to certainly doesn't. If he did, he'd have leaped up and done something for you. His branch manager doesn't. If s/he did, s/he wouldn't have put yahoo out front to start with. And B of A doesn't, because the experience of ONE customer doesn't make or break their business.

    There's nothing -- NOTHING -- like the magic of free enterprise. But dealing with the I-don't-give-a-crap is one significant downside.

  • Darla Graham

    I am a Premier Bank Client Manager at Bank of America in St. Louis, MO. Please feel free to call or email me regarding the Dr. Loan program which you inquired about. I would be happy to assist you or put you in touch with someone local that can help.

    Sincerely,

    Darla Graham
    Premier Banking Client Manager
    Bank of America
    St. Louis, MO
    314-466-0257

  • Heath Row

    It's particularly interesting that they couldn't even point you to a Bank of America branch that... was an original BoA branch pre-merger. Certainly, they'd be well versed in the bank's products.

  • Jeremy Reynolds

    That is just sad, stupid, pathetic, pick an explicit customer service not to mention poor planning and marketing on B of A's part.

    Imagine if that was a car dealership and you were asking about that particular brands 2005 models and they gave the same response. You probably would go someplace else...bank customers should do the same.