I used to be a customer of Fleet Bank. While I was there, I never got the impression that they thought very much of a small depositor like me. I was nickled and dimed at every opportunity until I finally quit them and found a bank more to my liking (Bank of New Hampshire, a subsidiary of BankNorth).
However, my employer still uses Fleet, and quite often I am required to deal with them. Now, I’ve never had any problems with any of the people at any of the branches I’ve been. Somehow they’ve managed to combine horrible policies with wonderful personnel. I dunno how they do it, but they do.
But the overall service has suffered from those policies. Recently I went to one of their branches located in a mall. It was a Friday, during the noontime hour. There were four people in the branch – two in offices, one greeter, and a single teller working frantically to help the nearly one dozen people waiting in line. After waiting over 10 minutes, I conducted my business and left, disgusted. I’ve been to many branches of my current bank, Bank of New Hampshire, and I don’t think I’ve ever been in one with less than three tellers on duty.
Recently Fleet was bought by Bank of America, and the two are starting to integrate their operations. The latest development came today, when it was reported that Fleet was going to lay off about 1,500 people – all among tellers and branch personnel. Reports also said they would be asking the people being laid off to leave the branch immediately (and, presumably, to not let the door hit them in the ass on the way out).
Fleet/Bank of America states that they want to provide “customer delight.” To the way I see it, those customers will be standing in line even longer to see the fewer tellers.
Perhaps I’m not seeing it right. To my perspective, cutting the number of people who deal with the small customers face-to-face is showing just how little Fleet/Bank of America cares about the walk-in people and small depositors. But perhaps the bank has thought of a way to make people feel “delight” about waiting in line even longer. Perhaps the bank will equip its branches with buffets or open bars for the people waiting in line. Hell, they might even start pumping laughing gas in to generate the promised “customer delight.” Who knows just what strokes of genius those brilliant minds at Fleet/Bank of America have come up with? I just can’t wait to find out.
(Disclaimer: I own no stock in any banks, nor have any financial interests in any banks. I am just a single guy who has grown to like BankNorth, and loathe Fleet.)