A letter I dropped in the mail today.
223 Glebe Road
Easton, MD 21601
To Whom It May Concern:
I just got off the phone with your receptionist who informed me that your bank had destroyed my Navy Federal Credit Union Debit/ATM card.
Here are the circumstances. On Saturday evening May 2nd, I visited a local business (across the street from you) to pick up some food I had ordered. Going to pay, I was informed that their card swipe machine was broken, and that I would need cash. I hurried across the street to your drive through machine, withdrew $200 (plus $3.00 service charge) and went back across the street to pay for my goods.
In the process, I left my card in the ATM. Yes, I know. My fault, my action, my stupidity. After looking around yesterday, I backtracked and realized the last place I used the card was in your machine. I called the branch this afternoon and had my fateful discussion with your employee.
Putting aside for a moment the shabby record keeping associated with the destruction of this card (the last name was unreadable on the entry and only because I had a flash memory of the last four digits of the card was I able to identify it), the question is this: why is it your bank’s policy to simply destroy cards left in the machine (apparently, if I had been an account holder, my card would have been spared)? Is it because of the difficulty in establishing contact with the bank who issued the card? Surely that can’t be, as a secure connection was made in seconds, enabling the machine to dispense my money to me, the $3.00 to M & T. Is it due to the great expense associated with dropping the card into the mail to the institution from which it was issued (and upon which is printed an address to forward found cards)? One would think the ridiculous margins associated with charging a $3.00 fee for a movement of money that costs a fraction of that amount might offset this inconvenience. But alas, no. That was too hard. Much easier to write it in a book (poorly) and then destroy the card—causing significant inconvenience to a customer (that’s right—I was a customer. You extracted $3.00 of value out of me for that instantaneous transaction).
So here’s my solution. I’ll never do business with M&T Bank again. I won’t use your ATM’s, I won’t consider opening up necessary small business accounts with you to support a new business initiative, and I will tell this story to whomever might listen in order to convince them that you are just too big and insulated to be a meaningful part of our small community in Easton.