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Saturday, August 27, 2011

I Want My Two Dollars

Excuse me for a second.  I'm waiting to speak with a Customer Service agent about a charge on my bank statement....

Please wait for a site operator to respond.

My wife called me at work and wondered why there was this $2.00 "SERVICE CHARGE PAPER STATEMENT" on our bank statement. 

Oh, hang on, he's here.

You are now chatting with 'Gene'

Gene: Hi Mongo-how may I help you?

Mongo: Helo, Gene. I have a question about a line item on my statement

Mongo: Basically, I see a SERVICE CHARGE PAPER STATEMENT listed and I do not know why

Gene: yes-that was sent in June and July statements as a statement enclosure notifying customers that as of 8/1/11 there would be a $2 charge for paper statements going forward from 8/1/11. If you want "no charge" just convert to "online" through our free ExpressNet internet banking product.

Mongo: So, unless I convert to only 'online' statements, I will continue to get a paper statement and be charged $2.00 for having received one. Is that correct?

Gene: correct, unless you are 50 years or older and then you can convert to a 4 star checking account and that type allows FREE paper statements Michael.

Mongo: Not there yet, but thank you. That answers my question.

Gene: you are welcome
So, there you have it.  After looking around, I did see the paper message that the bank mailed me noting the new charges would start affecting my account.   Still, I find this all a little less than great service.

First of all, I know that we shouldn't kill so many trees.  I get that.  However, bank statements are one of those things you need to keep around in case the IRS comes a knockin'.    Instead of being a bright shining beacon of security and service, the bank has decided to pass that cost onto the customer.    They don't want to waste the ink, paper, postage, and man hours to send out a statement.  They want you waste the paper and ink to print out yourself.

I know I could just pdf all of my statements and keep them on a media storage device.  Unfortunately, in the last two years I've had a 500 gb external hard drive, and a 8gb flash drive brick up and become unusable.  I've lost a good bit of information.  The idea is not to keep placing copies of stuff around the digital aether of storage devices in my house.  I should be able to get my statement, and put it in a filing cabinet along with all my other important documents... or a safe, if I so choose.

Perhaps it's time to move on from S&T.  My wife and I only use them for a checking account and two savings accounts.   The checking account isn't even our a primary one.  It's my wife's, which has a small balance just for little stuff.  Losing it wouldn't be a problem.
Besides, we haven't been extremely happy with them since they absorbed Irwin Bank & Trust a few years ago.  I, myself, have PNC, which absorbed National City, which absorbed Integra, which absorbed Hick Bank of Connellsville after I opened an account back in 1993. 
They say don't take your money out of the banks.  Don't put it under a mattress.  Well, I wouldn't have to go print out a statement of what's under there.  I could take out and put in whatever I wanted.  I wouldn't need a fancy Internet connection to constantly look at how much I have in there.   It's not even like we draw any interest on it, or from any account for that matter.   I think my checking account made a whole $2.00 in interest last year.  Whoa!  That's enough to buy one paper statement from S&T Bank.   Maybe I should keep them.
Hmmm,  on second thought.  
Nah.  I'd rather bank with someone who isn't a cheap bastard like me.
The other problem I have with this new feature is that if I were 50 or older, it wouldn't matter.  So, it's not that they are more concerned with money, it's that they feel older customers may not have access to the Internet.   What if I didn't?  What if I lived out in the middle of nowhere with no access to the tubes.   I guess I pay $2.00 to be a luddite. 

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