Commerce Bank Wins Lobby Pen Wars

If you want to compare how much a bank cares about its customers, you need look no further than its lobby. On the left, we have Chase’s limp, and probably, dried-out-pen. On the right, Commerce Bank’s veritable champagne bucket of pens. Now if Commerce could just update their online banking system so it doesn’t look as poorly designed as some boiler room e-commerce scam site, then they’d really have something going on.

BANK PEN WARS! Chase vs. Commerce. [Copyranter]


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  1. muckpond says:

    isn’t there a happy medium that might make more sense than either of these?

  2. nutrigm says:

    LOL @ boiler room e-commerce scam site. For real! I didn’t open an account with them because of that!

  3. bohemian says:

    Our vet clinic does this. They have a paint can full of pens with their advertising on them. It actually makes sense, please steal or accidentally take our pens because they are cheap reminders of our business.

    I hate the chained pens because they are always set up for right handed people.

  4. new and troubling questions says:

    I always wondered about the weak-ass pens at these places, like my BofA…with so many people at their throats over poor customer service, you’d think this would be one area where they’d spring for a few decent pens, of all things.

  5. spinachdip says:

    @muckpond: I don’t see how Commerce Bank’s method doesn’t make sense, unless you’re overwhelmed by large quantities of pens.

  6. JKinNYC says:

    @spinachdip: I actually see those commerce pens everywhere in NYC. The food delivery and dry cleaning folks always have them. Excellent advertising and community service. Why would they want to put out less pens?

  7. Hanke says:

    I actually LIKE Commerce’s on-line banking site. I never get errors, the information is always up to date, and it is very easy to navigate. My only complaint about it is that when you load the page with your account activity, you have to actually click the ‘history’ button to get it, because the page starts with no detail.

    The TD Bank merger scares me, though. In 5 years with commerce, I have never paid a Commerce-charged fee, except for one time I let my account balance drop below their $100 minimum.

  8. LynchMob1232 says:

    Commerce Bank blows everyone else out of the water when it comes to customer service. Aside from free pens and great hours, they take coins unwrapped without charging a fee. Its funny how small things like this really make a difference.

  9. spinachdip says:

    @LynchMob1232: I’m waiting for a Commerce to open in my neighborhood if only so I can use the penny arcade. At least when it comes to customer service, they seem to have their head on straight.

  10. CliveDobbs says:

    Yeah, I really miss Commerce’s customer service. I closed my account there when I moved, as there was no longer a branch convenient to me. Man, do I regret it now.

    Biggest Commerce advantage? When my ATM card got too beat up to use anymore, I was able to go in and have it replaced WHILE I WAITED (a total of maybe 20 minutes). Whereas my current bank says it will take 7-10 business days to replace my ATM card, and I have to surrender my existing one to start the process.

  11. remthewanderer says:

    @Hanke: I completely agree with you. I like the Commerce online site and I am nervous about the TD merger.

    Commerce bank FTW!!!

  12. jeffj-nj says:

    I love Commerce Bank. Absolutely love them.

  13. JessiesMind says:

    Pens?!? But all this time I’ve been signing in blood when I do my banking. Awwww, man…

  14. ThyGuy says:

    I don’t care what their website looks like, just as long as it does the job it was meant for. Not choosing a bank because, “There website looks bland” is idiotic and you deserve to bank with a bank that has a website that is majestic, but completely fucking unusable.

  15. SexierThanJesus says:

    I’ve gotta say, I’ve had nothing but good service at Commerce. This is probably the longest I’ve gone without dumping my bank. What can I say? I’m picky.

  16. SaveMeJeebus says:

    @ThyGuy: It’s all about first impressions to me. If the site looks like a kid made it, I tend not to trust the security of the site, or the overall security practices of the company. It would be like walking into a dirty restaurant–sure the food may be great, but if the front of the house looks unsanitary, imagine what the back looks like. As far as the pictures go, laminate pressboard furniture and coily-pens are something I would expect to see in a VA hospital, not Chase.

  17. @bohemian: Yep, my credit union has baskets of cheap ballpoints with their logo on them all over the lobby. EVERYONE in the entire city has five or six of these floating around their purse/desk/car. Before we even moved here, when we were just home shopping, we ALREADY knew the credit union’s name/logo because we saw so many of the pens.

    Guess where we ended up banking!

  18. KJones says:

    As a left-handed person, I like it. Every bank I go into arrogantly puts the pens on the righthand side with far too short a string. This isn’t a problem when you pick up and fill in slips, but at the teller window, it’s damn annoying.

    Try writing with your left hand when the pen is on the right; you can’t. And most of the time, the tellers won’t let me use their pen because, (demonstrating the depth of their stupidity) “You might steal it.” Oh, yeah, I’m going to risk arrest over a 50 cent pen while standing in a bank. Give me a break. 9_9

    Even worse are the idiot tellers who say “Well, use your right hand.” This may not rate as important as the Disability Act, but it sure as hell is annoying.

  19. DeeJayQueue says:

    @KJones: When I see the pens on the chains that lefties can’t use I tear them off the chain if I can, or break the pen to use it.

  20. missdona says:

    @Hanke: Don’t be afraid of the merger. My cousin is a branch manager at Commerce and she tells me that they’re going to keep the Commerce branches open as Commerce and close the TD branches.

    I’m not afraid anymore.

    My best friend is a solo-practitioner lawyer and when she first started her practice, she had thousands of pens made and gave them out all over the place (banks, grocery stores, AAA) and got lots of clients that way.

  21. loueloui says:

    Yeah, their site reminds me of clownpenis.fart. Maybe someone’s kid did it up for them.

    The place I work at gives out pens with their logo on them. One particular batch was really spacey looking with weirdo pastel colors, but they still looked kinda cool. The only problem was they weren’t worth a damn. If you dropped one, or even set it down roughly it broke right near the tip, and made it impossible to write with.

  22. forever_knight says:

    yes, the last thing we should be encouraging is free cheap ass pens so that everyone can take one for their single visit to the bank and then take another for the next visit, etc. i know, i know. it’s a sign of our throwaway times. the “use once and discard” mentality, captured so perfectly by the SWIFFER and its ilk. related to the it’s cheaper to buy new than to repair. ugh.

    i’d prefer % 0.1 percent interest on my checking account than free pens!

  23. wishlish says:

    I liked Commerce a little better when they didn’t charge $4 for money orders. It used to be free. Sigh…but at least I got a pen! :)

  24. Cera says:

    @KJones: I work for a very small bank and we use the pens with a string. However, if a customer doesn’t want to use that kind of pen, we just offer one of our own. We don’t care if the customer ends up taking it. That’s so stupid that you’ve actually been told, “You might steal it.” Big deal. It’s just a pen. Maybe it’s that way at the bank I work at because it’s just a small, one branch bank, so it matters that the customers are satisfied. Who knows.

  25. Elite3k says:

    Commerce is great, swift courteous service. Nothing like Wachovia, where everytime I go in to see a teller to make a withdrawal, they call farce and I ask me to break out my ID. Every time. One time they actually took my ID and started passing it around, teller to teller, trying to see if it was fake. Nevermind the whole – you need to enter in your pin# to make a transcation bit….

  26. azntg says:

    The pens are one of the few things that Commerce has probably done right. Great advertising and no stupid wires to get tangled up in.

    Frankly I can’t wait until the TD merger happens. My banking experiences with Commerce branches are hit-or-miss and Commerce corporate was somewhat horrible to deal with (and really nice of them for just shredding the two letters that I sent them). I’m just going to hold onto my account with the hopes that Toronto Dominion can make things better.

  27. zolielo says:

    On a similar note a lot can be told from a side by side (auto show) comparison of automotive trunk hinges.

  28. nardo218 says:

    They leave them in buckets in the MAC machine vestibule so you take a pen and carry around their cheap advertising.

  29. GreatCaesarsGhost says:

    I used to be a bank teller, and I’d let people use my pen, then ask for it back. How hard is that? If they refused, I’d keep their money. Yeah, I always got my pen back.

  30. MBZ321 says:

    I love Commerce Bank except the online banking does have some issues. For example, I have to keep resetting all my secret “security questions” because they keep adding new ones and I have not provided an answer for, so it won’t let me log in. Now when I try to log in, it asks me for “What is your favorite quote?” only problem was, this question was not one of the options last time I had to choose answers so now I’m going to have to call and have them reset them all so I can login :(

  31. Tim says:

    The chained pens made sense when you had to kill an eagle to make a pen, and gather 10 different plants and kill a goat for ink; get with it banks.