5 Confessions Of A Bank Of America Personal Banker

We confess, we love confessions. We are fascinated that BOA can be the largest and the most despised bank chain in the country. We received a letter from a person who identifies himself as a former Bank Of America personal banker and he’s ready to talk. Have a seat in the Consumerist confessional. 5 confessions of a BOA personal banker, inside..

I worked at BOA for about a year and half, first as a Teller and second as a Personal Banker, here is what I learned in that time –

5. We cannot do anything for you over the phone, so don’t ask.
Don’t call asking for your balance, or transfers, or pretty much anything. We aren’t supposed to do it. That’s what the 1-800 number is for. So to save you time and headache, don’t call your local bank, unless you know someone there really well and they break the rules for you.

4. I’m only allowed to refund fees if the system allows, otherwise it’s my job on the line.

Ah yes, a matrix, every customer’s favorite word. Yep, we use a matrix to determine if you deserve a fee. If the system says no, tough. Sometimes I can make exceptions, but then I get “friendly” emails and talks with management. So basically I don’t care if you’re a single mother, elderly widow, or blind, you can’t have a refund. The system keeps track of how often you ask and who you talked to. So if one banking center tells you no, don’t go to another center, they’ll tell you no as well.

3. Holds happen on deposits and there isn’t much we can do about it.
Yep, BOA will put holds on deposits. And the best part is, generally we don’t verify funds with other banks (privacy concerns) so you just have to wait it out. The teller is supposed to notify you, but sometimes they don’t. Don’t ask a personal banker to release the funds, we can’t do anything about it. Also just so you know, BOA charges accounts based on largest amounts first. So if you go out on Friday and buy a TV for $700 and then food for $10, (an you only had $700 in your account) the $10 will get the fee, and your debit card will not get rejected, so it will keep working. And then you are stuck looking at point 5 on this list.

2.Honestly I don’t know that much about loans.
This may come as a surprise, but most personal bankers (unless they’ve changed the policy since I’ve left) only have 1 week of loan training. Yes, one week, which means most personal bankers know basically nothing about the loans they are selling you. Yes you’ll find some that do (and definitely look for these people) but generally no, we know nothing. The training consists of a few hours of explaining each type of loan is, and then sales training. Its odd that a bank would provide “loan” training by basically providing sales training. And when you are in states with difficult loan laws (Texas’ home equity loans) its about impossible to understand in 8 hours (which is how long my training lasted on HELOC’s and HELOANS). Also to tie into this a couple of things – auto loans rates are generally lower at pretty much every other financial institution in the US. And the banking centers do not handle auto loans, so don’t ask them. And finally understand that personal bankers are expected to sell a loan of some type to every person that comes in the bank.

1. I’m not actually here to help, I’m here to sell you something.
This shouldn’t come as a surprise to anyone who has visited a banking center recently, but a personal banker’s job is not to provide customer service first, its to sell products. BOA actually views their banking centers more as retail stores, than actual “service” providing banks. If you come in to cash a check and you don’t have an account, expect a full out sales blitz. If you have a checking account but no savings, look out. And if you even as so much glance at the loan rates, be ready because we will try to offer you every loan product in the book. If you are a student (or look under 30) I’ll try to sell you a credit card. Basically you are nothing more than a generic customer waiting to be sold a product, not a person here for the services the bank offers. BOA does not offer services, only “products.”

(Photo: Getty)