Commerce Bank/Metro Bank Shows How Not To Handle A Bank Changeover

Commerce Bank in central Pennsylvania is changing its name. Former Commerce Banks in that area will now be called Metro Bank. Yawn, right? Banks merge and change names all the time. What they don’t normally do is cancel ATM cards with no notice, and lock customers out of their accounts due to those changes. Maybe this is a new trend.

Several readers wrote in to us independently. Mitch reports:

People’s ATM cards aren’t working, their new online banking system is so bad it’s hard to tell when my bills are getting paid, I’ve had a lot of things double-post causing my account to almost overdraw, and the customer service wait times are 45 minutes or more.

Lauralee shared her story earlier today:

Commerce moved to Metro Bank, and yesterday was the example of how NOT to do a conversion. I’ve filed a complaint with consumer affairs. Tried to file one with the PA state Banking regulators, but these guys don’t fall under their jurisdiction.

I was out of state at the time. My online banking didn’t work; my ATM card and my debit card didn’t work. Customer service hold time was outrageous and the number provided on the website for tech help was bogus. The one time I did get through, I was hung up on by the rep because she didn’t hear me. Sure. I kept calling the branch and they were helpful, but seemed as confused as me.

I was debited my account $100, that I never received. Still hasn’t been credited.

Still nothing from the company. Not even on their website, communicating any issue.

Meanwhile, Dave in Harrisburg blogged about his experience, and proposes a new slogan for the new bank:

Metro Bank: Go F Yourself, Pennsylvania.

Metro Bank Harrisburg: An Example in Failure [Floor9]

Comments

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  1. BigFoot_Pete says:

    While admittedly not for the people affected, this is just funny. I mean, certainly the bank doesn’t want this kind of alienation of its customers… but poor planning and lack of attention to detail (possibly stemming from not hiring the right people/businesses to manage the transition correctly) make it inevitable.

    Hide your cash inside your mattresses people… mattresses that your daughter doesn’t take to the dump!

  2. gStein_*|bringing starpipe back|* says:

    it’s simply a way to increase their liquid assets without having those pesky liabilities

  3. STrRedWolf says:

    I’d file complaints with the FDIC at this time as well as the Penn state attorney general.

  4. News Junkie says:

    I’m one of the affected parties. I LOVED Commerce bank because of the late hours and open 7 days a week schedule they had. Metro is keeping the same days and hours but they’ve changed how they process transactions at the branches along with the other items mentioned. We got postcard mailers saying the changeover was going to be complete on the 14th (Sunday) but when I couldn’t get anywhere online with my account on Sunday I called up the customer service department (and yes, it was over 45 minutes wait until I got a human on the other end). Even their own people didn’t really know when the website would be totally up without outages for updating to the new bank’s system (although the cs told me to expect it would be probably Tues. or Wed. when it would be usable for more than 5 minutes at a time). I indicated to the cs that I wanted to do a transfer from one account to another I have and when she asked why I didn’t do it at a branch when I couldn’t get access online, I told her that I had already been at a branch but there was a line of 10 people trying to get their problems fixed and the wait was already 20 minutes and I was still going to be in line for a while; the reason they were in line was because their ATM/Debit cards and/or Debit/Visa Check Cards weren’t working in the ATMs or in stores (mine worked sporadically on Saturday). She stated they hadn’t gotten any reports of cards not working and I told her that the people couldn’t wait for a hour or so on hold to talk to customer service! In all, this is the worst changeover for a bank that I’ve ever been party to (my boyfriend is with Chase and was with them when it was WaMu and that was a few hours without website access to his account info.). If it doesn’t get better in the next month I’ve told Metro that they’ll be loosing the three accounts that I have with them along with my boyfriend’s, mother’s, and daughter’s accounts.
    Fender’s Stratosphere

    • Kyle Morrison says:

      @News Junkie: Everything seems to be working out a lot better. Go and try to log into your account : http://www.mymetrobank.com

      The online banking site seems pretty much the same, it’s running smoothly for me now and my online transfers are going through right away.

      • Anonymous says:

        @Kyle Morrison: Unfortunately, the funds transfer system is still a mess. Last night I tried to do a transfer from one account to another, normally a very simple process. After I’d reviewed everything to make sure it was OK, I pressed the “submit” button. The system paused for what might have been 60 seconds, then a red message came on the screen noting the system was unavailable and the transfer didn’t go through.

        OK, so try the transfer again. This time it went through. Then I check the account from which the money was transferred. There were TWO transfers. Yes, the system told me the first transfer didn’t go through even though it did.

        I can deal with system outages and screens looking differently than they did before. That’s life. But there are some serious internal system issues going on here. This conversion has been a spectacular failure and it’s beyond time that either the state and/or federal regulators get some answers.

  5. BuddyGuyMontag says:

    Shit, I tell Pennsylvania to go F themselves everyday.

  6. tankertodd says:

    Merging banks is not a trivial affair. Good luck getting help from them – they’ve probably got ticked off customers all over the place. They’d have to hire an army to solve all those problems. Might be a good time to shop around.

  7. floor9 says:

    I’m also one of the affected parties (thanks for the link, Consumerist!). All of the problems — the canceled ATM card, the locked account, the downed website, the $300 missing from my account, the 75-minute hold times, and the lack of answers — are bad enough on their own. But coupled with Metro Bank’s complete apathy towards the situation (they offered to “call me back in 5-7 business days”), the situation has become surreal. How can a name change possibly be fouled up this bad?

    Two individuals purporting to be Metro Bank employees posted comments on my blog. One admitted the situation was a mess, the other told me to “go ahead and leave” and “f off”. Thus far, that’s the only response I’ve received from Metro.

  8. I Love New Jersey says:

    When the apparently unrelated to this Commerce Bank Commerce Bank became TD Bank, basically the only things that changed was all stuff with the logos and the colours lollypops. I still have a Commerce Bank Visa debit card which I didn’t have to change. Basically nothing really happened. It was basically seamless.

    • Maglet says:

      @I Love New Jersey:

      Word. When I saw the title, I thought they were gonna merge again. The Commerce Bank to TD Bank WAS pretty seamless, wasn’t it?

      My Commerce Visa debit card is damn near dead (words kinda fading, the strip doesn’t always work), but it’s still functional.

    • HiPwr says:

      @I Love New Jersey: Same thing with me when Chase absorbed BankOne. I was a BankOne person and saw no ill effects. However, I was informed by someone here that Chase adapted to BankOne instead of the other way around and there were some issues with some Chase people when the merge ocurred.

      • CheritaChen says:

        @I Love New Jersey: I was with First Union when they bought/became Wachovia, and that transition was totally seamless. Whoever was in charge of this transition should be forced to pay any fees incurred because of nonworking cards and inability to transfer funds–from his/her own personal accounts.

        • FLConsumer says:

          @CheritaChen: That’s because they wisely didn’t merge everything off-the-bat. To this day there are still systems floating around Wachovia which say First Union within/on them.

    • TheWillow says:

      @I Love New Jersey: This. I love Commerce/TD

    • catniplover says:

      @I Love New Jersey:
      Yes, I have (had) a Commerce acc’t since the early 90’s and the transfer to TD was very smooth. I probably wouldn’t have even noticed if they didn’t change the logos – or the lollypops! And luckily I’m in the part of PA that went with TD – I don’t know how I’d handle this mess!

    • Bs Baldwin says:

      @I Love New Jersey: The system hasn’t been switched over yet, it will in Sept.

  9. HogwartsAlum says:

    I hope my Commerce doesn’t do this. I got all new Batman checks at a steep discount and I can’t afford to reorder.

    • Kyle Morrison says:

      @HogwartsAlum: Your checks will be fine, the account numbers and routing numbers are staying the same. The only thing that will happen is when your checks run out and you order more, the new ones will say Metro… if that’s still it’s name!

  10. Pixelantes Anonymous says:

    [thedailywtf.com]

    This one’s took several months to sort out. The bank lost an enormous amount of business.

  11. Brossman says:

    It’s as bad as everyone says. Trying to log on to their site to do online banking is horrible, with “system unavailable” appearing at least half the time. If you can, I’d recommend putting your money into PSECU. That’s where mine is going to be going.

    • mbz32190 says:

      @Brossman: PSECU is great..almost everyone qualifies (I do as I attended a PA college, but they don’t really check anyway). I live FAR from their Harrisburg branches but I can use any 7-11 ATM and most other CU’s ATM’s for free (plus they reimburse up to $4.00 a month for feed ATM’s).

  12. ratsafari says:

    The change over was horrible. Money was debited from my account that was never received from the ATM. Customer service said it would be credited back,sometime. Was on hold for 55 minutes, only to be placed back on hold 3 times for another 15 minutes while the CSR tried to let be able to transfer money to my wife’s account who was out of town. This transition was so poorly done. I believe the biggest error was the banking software was changed over as well since the online banking system was different. If it ain’t broke don’t try to fix it.

  13. FrugalFreak says:

    AmSouth bank and RBC Centura did the same thing, they put all accounts on hold when RBC bought Amsouth.

  14. azntg says:

    From a cursory glance, it looks like that Metro Bank has retained a lot of the features from Commerce Bank. The Commerce Bank system wasn’t outstanding by any means, but it worked and it worked reasonably well.

    I think that if they were going to do just that anyway, they should’ve followed TD’s lead. Just stick with the old Commerce system. Save yourself some hassle and retain the goodwill of your customers

  15. meechybee says:

    They obviously put more thought into what their mascot would wear…

  16. RB_Bhoy says:

    i used to have a commerce account a couple years ago and glad i dipped out on them (although the ones by me have been td bank for almost a year, and not metro). incidently, it was their poor customer service that made me leave…i did like a bank that was open at least 5 if not 10 hours a day, 7 days a week.

  17. heart.shaped.rock says:

    The transition from WAMU to Chase was seamless for me. Maybe Metro should call them for lessons.

  18. datruesurfer says:

    Weird… all the Commerce Bank branches around here became TD Bank a few years ago. I wonder if its just an alternate brand of TD or if they sold their operations out there,

    • surfphoto says:

      @datruesurfer: They were actually two different commerce banks. When the PA commerce banks first went live with online banking it confused the heck out of people.

      • Bs Baldwin says:

        @surfphoto: No.

        Commerce Bank Harrisburg, now Metro Bank, was a somewhat independent franchisee of Commerce Bank. They used Commerce’s computer system, marketing, products, etc. for a fee.

        When TD bought Commerce Bank, the franchise agreement with Commerce Bank Harrisburg expired. It is why they had to change their name.

  19. icantreplyright says:

    The fools at Chase sent out Chase cards to WAMU customers that we STILL CANT USE fully at Chase ATMs. I had to put a large sticker on mine so I could remember it wasn’t a chase card, but a WAMU card.

  20. geoffhazel says:

    I’m a Wamu to chase customer. Tonight the phone rings, around 7:00. “This is an important message from Chase. Please call 800-555-5555 extension 1.” Ok, fine. I call. I get the recorded call director, and press 1. “We are now closed. Please call back during our normal business hours of 8am to 5pm Eastern time. (I’m PDT).

    Just one word comes to mind: FAIL

    • artblue35 says:

      @geoffhazel: I used to get tons of phone calls from some scam company that claimed to be Chase. They even had a fake caller ID that said Chase. This was even before Chase entered California. The 800 number did not match anything from the real Chase. Chase will never call you and ask for your personal information. Call the official phone number on the back of your credit or debit card if have any doubts. The real Chase would keep a record of any official calls made to you.

  21. takingbackamerica says:

    On the surface, the Central Pennsylvania Commerce Bank looked like the other one. Same logo, licensing, and convenient hour structure.

    A long time ago, the Commerce Bank of New Jersey (the one that became TD) licensed this Commerce to operate in Central Pennsylvania.

    I believe all systems were identical to that of what now has been integrated into TD, and that TD forced them to change equipment, resulting in the problems customers are likely having.

    Either way, this isn’t going to help them. There’s a lot of good options for banks in Central PA. M&T, PNC, Citizens and Sovereign should all benefit from Commerce/Metro losing people’s accounts and being entirely deficient.

  22. NYBanker says:

    When TD Bank bought Commerce Bank over a year ago, the “Harrisburg” division was not part of the deal. All the Commerce stores that became TD Bank have had a very smooth transition, as have most customers. In fact, TD Bank just won the JD Power award for best customer service in retail banking for the 4th year in a row, despite the transition. I work for TD and am proud to say we’ve worked very hard to make it seamless for our fans. And in my area, the Chase takeover of Bank of NY two years ago did NOT go smoothly and Commerce/TD gained literally thousands of customers because of those service snafus. Apparently we learned some lessons from that when planning our own merger/integration……
    Commerce Bank Harrisburg to Metro bank is a totally different issue. Metro Bank is backed by Vernon Hill, Commerce Bank’s original founder and CEO. It is the result of a combination of Commerce Bank Harrisburg and Philadelphia’s First Republic Bank. I would expect Metro bank to recover from these missteps eventually, but it would depend on the experience level of the folks in charge of the transition, and it’s not clear who they are. I feel bad for the customers and the branch staff on the front lines, and wish them smoother sailing soon!!

  23. argosreality says:

    I just find it funny how similar their logo is to Members 1st which is a credit union in the harrisburg area. [www.members1st.org] Looks like the just flipped the M

    Makes me do a double take when I see one of the new bank signs in the area

  24. Rectilinear Propagation says:

    I don’t know if “Shannon” in the comments over on Floor9 is really a bank employee or not but it seems like a lot of people are enjoying the taste of their own feet lately. (Someone at a local business did something similar in a print publication and people let him know it on the web site.) Comments like the ones she made are exactly why companies have policies forbidding their employees from identifying themselves as such online or discussing their work.

    So allow me to say this since it apparently isn’t as blindingly obvious as it seems: When identifying yourself as an employee of any business you do not tell your customers to “F off”.

  25. FLConsumer says:

    What is the deal with Metro Bank’s mascot/logo? It looks like it’s geared towards 3-year-olds or is some reject from a failed gov’t education program aimed at kids.

    John Pierpont Morgan would scoff at such an advertising campaign, as do I. How does a low-budget cartoon character inspire confidence in a bank? It wasn’t all that long ago that bank architecture reflected the values of stability and strength, not Bozo the ing clown.

  26. surfphoto says:

    I’ve been with Commerce bank for something like 17 years but they will be losing my business if they don’t get the remained of this mess straightened out by the end of the week.

    Bills that I sent through their bill pay system on Friday were not paid, I was only able to get back online yesterday, and the poor “floor reps” don’t seem to know anything. I was on hold, just to see if they would ever pick up, for four hours on Monday. I finally just gave up.

  27. Sean Masters says:

    I believe they’re actually showing you all how to close a bank, not how to handle a changeover. ;)

  28. tvmitch says:

    My wife and I were satisfied Commerce Bank customers for 3-4 years, but are effectively switching banks and direct deposits over to PSECU, the state employees’ credit union, after this debacle. Once our free year of safe deposit box runs out (from a promotion), we’ll close our accounts, full stop.

    What gets me the most about this god-awful transition is Metro’s “new” online banking system. The old system was antiquated, to be sure, but it was solid, reliable, and you knew where your money was going. The system they switched to this week is just incredibly horrible – customers can’t even see pending transactions from credit card holds and the like. It’s unclear what bills are being paid when. The entire online banking system was radically changed without educating customers about the changes.

    Not to mention that they changed their bill payer policy without telling a single customer. With Commerce as of last week, when a billpay check was sent, it was debited from your account that day; with the new system, it’s not debited until the check is actually cashed. I had to find this out from a poor random branch employee!

    The worst thing might be that none of the C-level executives have sent a mass email (or even snail mail) to apologize and settle down the customer base. They’ve been completely silent. Unacceptable.

    TD Bank is a large bank that knew what they were doing when they absorbed Commerce in New Jersey. Suckers in the Harrisburg market haven’t been so lucky.

  29. Anonymous says:

    Not sure why it was necessary to, “Throw the baby out with the bathwater”, so to speak. Would it not have been easier to simply change the appearance (bank name) on the website pages and not require customers to jump through hoops to re-register for online banking? Also, the previous online banking system (Commerce Bank) was more intuitive, in my opinion, than the new system. Where is the pending transactions area? Why am I required to agree to a separate Terms of Service agreement in order to view and print statements?

  30. Anonymous says:

    Here’s a fun one: having 23,000 in your savings account, and being told, briefly and inexplicably: “Your account has been disable. Please call 1-800-etcetc”
    I have no (or very little) money on my debit card, and no ability to add more, so therefore I am temporarily broke.
    I’ve been on hold for almost an hour now. And I’m starting to get annoyed by the muzak, and friendly voice telling me how much they love their customers and how convenient their online banking makes everything for me.

  31. Kyle Morrison says:

    Okay, since I’m apparently the only one that reads news, here’s what’s happened.

    In the beginning Commerce Bank/N.A. and Commerce Bank/Harrisburg were sister companies, which means they were two distinctly different entities with their own CEO and everything; the only thing they shared was the logo and the slogan, “America’s Most Convenient Bank.” When Toronto Dominion, TD, Bought out Commerce Bank / N.A. they bought the logo and the slogan and gave Commerce Bank/Harrisburg till the end of 2009 to change it’s name and adopt a new slogan. Commerce Bank/Harrisburg bought a bank based out of Philadelphia called Republic First Bancorp, and hence decided on the name Metro since they would have branches in more METROpolitan areas, including Southern New Jersey and Northern Delaware.

    The problem arose with the whole software overhaul and system integration. Debit cards were working ‘sporadically’ on Saturday. Nobody’s card was deactivated, nobody had unauthorized funds taken out of their accounts, and nobody’s personal financial information was ever in jeopardy. The kinks seem to be worked out and it took less than four days.

    Personally, I’m glad I stuck with my bank, they work with me and I didn’t consider it too much turmoil to work with them, it was hard for everybody.

    • Kyle Morrison says:

      @Kyle Morrison: Oh! and shame on Laura Northrup for not doing her homework before announcing: “Banks merge and change names all the time. What they don’t normally do is cancel ATM cards with no notice, and lock customers out of their accounts due to those changes.” Good thing this is not a very credible publication. If you all want answers, all you have to do is find the right person and ask. If you want facts from credible journalists check here: [philadelphia.bizjournals.com] The rest of this garbage is just whining.

      • Eat A Peach says:

        @Kyle Morrison: Hate to tell you, some ATM cards WERE effectively cancelled and have ceased to work since Saturday’s unbelieveable system wide software changeover. And customers have been locked out of their accounts (I was one, for 3 days AFTER the supposed active date – 14th of June – of the new online system). I have also had deposits that I made just this past Thursday go missing not once, not twice, but 3 times so far since the initial deposit on Thursday afternoon. The branch I use was having a computer problem along with their printers being offline for most of the day and all transactions had to be hand written out (along with reciepts) and then hand entered that evening during the overnight journal/account entries. Mine and alot of the customers at my branch didn’t get our transactions entered because the paperwork didn’t make it to it’s nightly destination. This isn’t just a case of whining….it truely was and STILL is a terrible way to do a change over at a financial instition. Oh and just to top it all off, I had auto payments that came out on Friday and when the money I deposited on Thursday wasn’t showing it dropped the account into the negative along with the bank adding the customary $37.00 NSF fee to each transaction. So I had to waste another 3 hours of my day today (along with 6 hours on late Thursday and midday Friday) getting them to again add the deposit to the account, make sure that the auto payments did in fact make it to the payees, and remove the 4 NSF fees and will have to keep an eye on the account for anymore fees that may be resulting from this. Maybe you should have done your homework before posting about ONLY the problems you had and not other customers of Metro Bank.

  32. Bs Baldwin says:

    Someone was passing around the floor 9 blog post today, really funny.

    The new site looks very bland, very 1997. I hope that mikey doesn’t sound as annoying as penny does.

  33. Anonymous says:

    As an employee I can tell you basically the gist of what happened; I’m a teller btw. We were told the PA Harrisburg accounts were now no longer apart of the TD Bank establishment and therefore we didn’t process their transactions. Up until recently we were able to see all information on those accounts as we saw fit, and even do transactions on those accounts, but we weren’t allowed to. They recently removed the option to see those accounts on the systems. Those PA Harrisburg accounts still hold the same account numbers from TD Bank.
    TD Bank still roughly holds the same policies that commerce had, and you can get anything for free or done for you by just complaining to someone higher than the teller. Everything we as a teller say is entirely what we see on our screens, and the guidelines we have to follow, but anybody in management will overlook little things just to please the customer so regional doesn’t get a phone call; and if you have no money in your account don’t bother, we really only care about the big money accounts that come into the stores. We really don’t care about the little guy anymore, but most of the tellers will help you out as best they can, if you’re nice enough. The bank was a nice place to work for when it was Commerce; ever since the TD Bank change the entire morale of the employees has dropped and management expects blood from the customers and staff.

  34. Anonymous says:

    I used to be with commerce bank until they started taking my bill pay out before my check would hit causing me overdraft fees. Why would you bother putting you money anywhere other than a credit union? Members 1st has been around in the central pa are FOREVER and I have not met a single person with something negative to say about them.

  35. Anonymous says:

    I recieved a call on my cell phone Sat. 6/20 around 5:00pm that left a message about my account might be fraudulently used. When I called back all I got was a press 1, press 2, press 3, oh by the way the message was so fast that I had to listen to it over and over to try and understand what was being said. When I went to get gas later that evening my debt/visa card didn’t work so I called the number on the back only to be put on hold for over 50 minutes, when someone finally picked up they told me that my account has been used to charge items up to $2000.00 that day and the call was to let me know. I went into a branch the next day Sun. 6/21 and spent over 1 hr in line behind several other upset customers, sat with a CSR for another hr. going over the charges without any understanding of where they came from only the amounts. I was given forms which stated that the transactions were on hold and was verbally told the same and told to visit the police department and I signed regulation 5 forms for all accounts that had been stollen from. I called the same CSR Mon. 6/22 only to be told that he would call me back which never happened I called Tue. 6/23 several times and finally recieved a call back only to find out that they released the $2000.00 to the creditors that were on hold. After some very intense fellowship I recieved a call from someone in the back office assuring me that I would have my funds placed back into my account within 24 hrs. It has been 17 hrs as of now and no funds have been transfered nor any word on the investigation as to how my acount was compromised. I plan on leaving this bank with all three of my accounts as soon as this matter is corrected.

  36. Anonymous says:

    I have been trying for 2 weeks to check my on-line account. I have been to the bank and also called them after many days of being on hold forever. I was told both times the account is fixed and just go home and log on. Well I still can’t access my account. I’m hoping they didn’t take any of my money out of my accounts. I loved Commerce Bank. This Metro stinks.

  37. Anonymous says:

    I too am one of the many that were impacted by the cut over from Commerce Bank to Metro Bank. Debit/ATM card not working, everything frozen for the entire weekend plus. Unfortunately it I don’t think it’s going to stop. My 17 year old daughter’s student account was just debitted twice for a single $100 withdawl. My checking account balance is all over the place. On 7/10/2009 I checked my balance over my internet access and had $105 available balance. I went to the gas station and did a debit purchas for $20, went straight home and check the balance and had $29 available balance. It stayed that way for 4 days until today where the balance is not $85 after just checking it again over my internet access. So I went straight to the gas station again, put $20 gas debit in my car, go home and get my other car to put gas in using debit and the pump stopped at $2.50 saying “maximum authorized limit has reached”. Now I am at work and I logon to my interent access and it says I have $65 available balance but I could not debit more than $2.50 for gas 45 minutes before that. These are just two examples of how horrible the Metro Bank system is. I COULD GO ON and ON and ON.