'Without cause': Bank fires complaining client

news-tim-kindrickTim Kindrick, 20-year veteran in the U.S. Army military police, still doesn't understand why his bank told him to take a hike.

When Tim Kindrick went into his bank on September 23, he thought it would be business as usual to deposit a $2,100 insurance check he and his wife received for water damage. Kindrich ultimately got the check deposited, but when he complained about how it was handled, First Citizens froze his debit card and said it didn't want his business.

"It kind of floored me and my wife, the way we were treated," says Kindrick, 45, who's retired from the Army.

He'd been banking with the Forest Lakes branch of First Citizens–- motto: "We value relationships"–- for about three years, had over $20,000 in his account and had deposited three or four similar checks already this summer with a teller who knew him, he says.

This time, a different teller said she couldn't deposit the check because it was made out to both Kindrick and his wife Natalie, and the account was in his name only.

Natalie Kindrick had endorsed the check, but not with the special endorsement adding "make payable to Tim Kindrick" the bank wanted, he says. And when Tim Kindrick asked to see the policy, he says the bank manager told him she didn't have time to look for it, and that this policy was to protect his wife.

The manager called Natalie to confirm her signature on the check, according to Kindrick, and then deposited it. "To me, the accusation is I forged her name and tried to steal the money," he says.

Still peeved, Kindrick wanted to talk to a supervisor to see a copy of the endorsement policy, and says he was told someone would call him. That didn't happen, says Kindrick, until five days later, when Jeremy Cox, the area operations manager, called to say that Kindrick could never deposit another third-party check in his First Citizens account.

"When I told him that I wanted to talk to someone higher than him about the decision, he told me, 'No, the buck stops here,'" says Kindrick.

Kindrick decided he needed a new bank, and when he told Cox, he says the bank rep immediately froze his debit card and said he had 10 days to close his account. "It wasn't a right to bank with them, it was a privilege," Kindrick alleges Cox told him.

And on that particular decision, Cox was able to provide the policy: Page 34 of the "Deposit Account Agreement," which states that the account can be closed at anytime "with or without cause."

"I'm flabbergasted," says Kindrick, "and shocked when I requested to talk to a supervisor, and was told no."

Cox did not return a phone call from the Hook.

"Unfortunately I'm not going to be able to say anything because this speaks to a specific client matter," says First Citizens spokesman Frank Smith.

In general, does Raleigh-based First Citizens, which has 359 branches in eight states and the District of Columbia, drop clients if they complain too much or the bank finds them annoying?

"We can't comment," says Smith. "It's due to federal privacy law."

"I can't even write a check right now," says Kindrick, who says he fears a check would bounce if it didn't clear before the 10 days he was given to park his money elsewhere were up. And without the debit card that he estimates using about 50 times a month, Kindrick had to drive to the bank to get money until he opened a new account.

The Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, which regulates First Citizens, has seen complaints about banks jump from 6,255 in 2008 to 8,289 in 2009.

And while there's nothing to prevent a bank from ditching depositors, rejected clients can complain to the feds. "If they send in a written complaint, the FDIC will investigate," says FDIC spokesman Greg Hernandez.

Meanwhile, Kindrick is still trying to figure out how asking to see a written policy led to First Citizens dumping him. Says Kindrick, "I feel very much like I was retaliated against."

Read more on: First Citizens bank


From the First citizens own rulebook:

The policy states the account holder is responsible for all endorsements as well as any loss or expense the bank may incur to include in some cases attorney fees (pg 11-12 First Citizens Policy Booklet).

The bank should have explained this to this gentleman and then accepted the check. End of story. He was reasonable to ask to see the policy in writing. We now know that the policy "in writing" goes against the bank which is why they threw a tantrum instead of owning up to a mistake.

They deserve to lose business because of this.

Natalie Kindrick had endorsed the check, but not with the special endorsement adding ââ?¬Å?make payable to Tim Kindrick” the bank wanted, he says.
The manager called Natalie to confirm her signature on the check, according to Kindrick, and then deposited it.

The man can not put his wife's money in his checking acount. What is it you don't understand? Women can own property in their own name now.

I have had more trouble with Wachovia since the WellsFargo merger, and it is no longer the same. I still like the tellers, it is the bank policies, they are losing customer for $10 here and there.
Advice.. you can always win against the bank for less than $100 dispute, I can waste more of their time than $100 complaining, eventually, they refered it up the line to a legal dept, and they paid. I thought I was right, but they (local mangers) thought I would give up after whining a few times. It took 4 or 5, they refered it to Wells Fargo, and I am sure they didn't want to look bad to the new boss. I got things fixed finally and in the mean time open accounts at the Credit Union and they are nice tellers too. All the banks are scratching for $10, school and everyone else, like when I was in Guetemala, that is how it feels with banks, but so far the credit union has not try to sell me things or get me with charges, vote with your feet.

@Big Picture - Take a closer look at the picture then read the caption. Big, unhappy looking guy. 20-year army veteran.

Does he look like a general to you or maybe like someone closer to the bottom of the totem pole who endured the rigors of military life for 20 years? He had to "take it" for 20 years, so now he's apparently dishing it out. Throw in a feeling of "I am a veteran" entitlement and there you have it.

No need to divine anything. Res ipsa loquitur.

Closed my account with them years ago ( hint: they su*k)
Haven't set foot in a bank lobby in over 5 years.
I bank remotely with USAA. Absolutely love it. Oh, still use their
ATM's once in a while; the debit is refunded.

@listen. Sorry but you are wrong. When an employee Quotes "Sorry That's Policy" and a customer asks to see the policy, then you are required to show the policy disallowing the requested action. If the policy is "unwritten" then it is not official policy. Instead, the false use of "policy" without proof is simply an excuse by a lazy employee to make an issue go away.
By the way.. a policy is just a set of words on a bit of paper with the word "Policy" written at the top of that page. A Policy is not a legally binding or enforceable document, it is merely a guideline. This blog has a policy of no strong language and no insulting words. It is very clear to me because I read it as I type this. If I breach the policy, then I am sure I will be either edited or deleted, but at least I know exactly what the policy is.
"Pay Bearer" means just that.


I'm going to take a slightly different slate.
I'm going to explore the side of the bank, as almost nobody here is willing to see BOTH sides of the story. That makes for very unbalanced people and very unbalanced comments.

In MY business, if a client makes themselves more of a pain than they are worth (Too many service calls for repeat issues, bills not being paid, agents being abused, inane arguments with customers that think they know more than the person who IS DOING THAT JOB FOR A LIVING.)
All of these things from the customer side create not a very productive OR profitable experience.

All companies have the right to refuse service to whoever they want and I 100% agree. If a relationship becomes too costly, it's better to just part ways.

Using a service from a bank, a telco, a grocery store.. whatever it may be.. is a PRIVELEDGE, NOT a right. They don't have to let you into the building, much less do business with you.

It's the same thing if someone comes to my house and makes a pain of themselves constantly. I WILL ask them to leave.. and if they don't... I will remove them.

This bank has done the same.

Now, to end.. the customer is probably right in this case, but you should NEVER automatically side with the customer just because "big banks are bad!". That's called stereotyping and only shows you to be an ignorant and stupid person.

Just want to say that not ALL banks have this god-complex. I bank with a small bank in New Albany, Indiana/ Louisville, KY (Your Community Bank). I have yet to go into any of their branches and not be met with smiling folks that seem to appreciate my business. They have always been willing to explain policies and procedures to me since I do not work in their industry. My ignorance about their industry is not looked down upon any more than I would look down upon their ignorance of my profession. PS They generally have chocolate chip cookies for their customers and give a little mint candy with your banking receipts. They are growing and adding branches. They must be doing something right.

The policy is correct. when a check is made payable to XX AND XX it MUST be deposited into an account with both names on it, and proper endorsement is needed - if it is not it will just be rejected later down the line and you then incur fees and bounce checks. I recommend that if you are getting checks and this is a continual issue for you than you request that the purchaser have the payee issued as: XX OR XX - this will eliviate your problems and the check may then be deposited into either persons account and does not have to be endorsed by both parties. As for how the situation was handled by the management....for shame... It puts a bad name on banks everywhere, ones that do not deserve a bad name.
**SunTrust - best bank ever**

@ BillMarshall - I'm sure you are correct but the bottom line is that if that check comes back on the teller, she gets fired. If she gets fired, the manager at a minimum gets a talking to, if they approved the transaction, they get fired. Yes, the bank and or the spouse could go through litigation to get the money back but it would cost more than $2000 dollars to litigate something like this. Litigation may be good for your business, but it isn't good for anyone else.

Proof once again that neckties cut off the blood supply to the brain. Long live the MegaCorpCabalGov.

I'm sure that, as usual, there is more to this story than has been reported here. I'd love to know how Mr Kindrick dealt with the initial setback to his attempt to pay in a check. I wonder if he was abrasive, abusive or disrespectful? Banks don't just freeze out customers.

G: the GOP, not the Dems, own the banks. In fact, nary a democrat in sight when banks CEOs get together.

Uniform Commercial Code Section 3-109(c) "Pay to Bearer or to Order"

".....An instrument payable to an identified person may become payable to bearer if it is indorsed in blank pursuant to Section 3-205(b)."

I am sure this fine financial institution, oh so concerned about their public image, will be pleased to see this plastered all over Facebook.

When you endorse a check you surrender all rights to it to whomever you give it to. If you endorse it and lose it and the bank cashes it it is a civil matter between you and the person who signed the back after you, and then cashed it. If it is your signature the bank is off the hook.

If it comes back it gets charged back, that is what a hold is for.

I would imagine that anyone who has had to deal with clients that need to be "fired" most likely works for a business that abuses customers either through poor treatment or deceptive practices.

Two words: credit union.

Why are so many people taking this guy's side? It is a one-sided article but you should be able to fill in the blanks and figure out that this guy was in the wrong.

Banking privacy laws are hard to undestand I guess.

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No, not quite. Ever heard "Pay to the order of?"

Is it possible that the bank is not commenting because privacy regulations prohibit them from doing so? Can a bank discuss the details of a customer's transaction without that customer signing some kind of waiver? Nighthawke noted that the bank was "clamming up," but did the bank really have a choice? Does anyone know for sure?

If the wife endorses the check, he, or you, or I, can put it anywhere we want. That is what an endorsement is.

Sounds reasonable to me.

I work at a bank, and when it comes to endorsing checks, the customer is NOT always right. The problem with this transaction seems to be the way that it was handled by the bank staff. They should have explained the situation to him and shown them the policy, and it should have been in the disclosures that the customer received upon opening the account (which they should have as well). The teller that accepted the previous checks may know this guy, but if his wife ever were to go to the insurance company and tell them that she never endorsed the check and it was deposited into his account only, the bank would take a loss and that teller would be fired. Tellers and Personal Bankers can get fired for losses. Sometimes they do not pay attention to what they are doing, sometimes they think they know the customer, sometimes they do know them but the check is still endorsed incorrectly. Here is an example:

A customer came into the bank and deposited a check made to both husband and wife. She wanted cash back and it was over $10,000. She signed her husband's name and the banker she went to approved it for the tellers (not knowing it was forged) because she knew the customer personally and knew she was going through a bad divorce and needed money to pay her bills. The check was returned and charged back to her account after the husband told the maker he never endorsed it, thereby overdrawing her account, the customer could not pay the amount overdrawn and now owes both the bank and her ex.

This guy said that he was going to close out his account. What is going to happen when he goes to another bank where no one knows him, and they put a hold on his deposited checks during the first 30 days or whatever their policy is? Is he going to tell them that he is going to close THAT account too when they tell him he can't do something? I know that it is trendy to hate banks these days, and these employees did handle the situation wrong, but sometimes the customer is not right.

Having worked in financial services for years, I have been a part of the process of "firing" a client. It is a last resort taken when a client is abusive or threatening towards staff members ON MULTIPLE OCCASIONS. That is, a client can be abusive and/or threatening once, at which point they are warned to be civil. It is my guess that if we heard from the tellers, the branch manager, and the regional manager (the fact that the regional manager took the time to talk to the client seems to me an indication that this bank has excellent customer service), this guy said some abusive things and was told his business was not welcome.

I could be wrong. I just really doubt, based on my experience, that a bank would fire a customer for anything less.

Not quite, the bank is supposed to watch you sign it and show ID.

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Kudos to the bank. When you have an irritable customer who treats tellers with no respect the business should send him elsewhere. This should be common practice. You can complain without being a jerk. More businesses need to adopt this practice. It would send a message that you can't walk all over someone in the service industry.

I use First Citizens and have never had a problem with them. They have been polite and I haven't had any fees that were different from other banks I've used. Based on my experience I think Tim probably lost his temper and made a scene then got bitter when they tossed him out and ran to the paper.

I'll wait to hear another side of the story.

This just got linked to "fark.com".. get ready for international exposure...

@Small towns, Small minds -- "From his photo, it doesn’t appears he would handle ââ?¬Å?bad news” very well."

HUH? Do you have some sort of power of divination that allows you to gaze upon a photo to divine their personality?

I am Canadian and after travelling in the US this summer, I found the banks that we had to stop at to get cash to be cold and unfriendly, and generally to have very bad customer service. The service was much more friendly from the cash machines, I kid you not. It seems all those commenting positively about the bank are either financial services employees (no real names), or gleeful because it's not just them being "stomped on" by a big bank.

I don't really have to wonder why most American consumers would take the man's side against the bank.

Oh no...you mean a customer threw a fit, screamed 'cancel my account' at somebody and they actually respected his wishes?

How do people like this cross the street alive?

You're military - bank with USAA.

Uniform Commercial Code Section 3-205(b)

(b) If an indorsement is made by the holder of an instrument and it is not a special indorsement, it is a "blank indorsement." When indorsed in blank, an instrument becomes payable to bearer and may be negotiated by transfer of possession alone until specially indorsed

Since this guy is retired from the Army, he should just move his money over to USAA. They rock! No ATM fees, rebates on debit card usage, and the best part is that you can deposit a check by just scanning it in from home.

How come people who never overdraw their account, don't spend more than they have, and keep track of their account balances never seem to have all these problems? Well, I'd tell you, but for 99% of the dumbed-down-entitled-attitude American public, that would just give away the surprise.

You couldn't pay me a billion dollars an hour to work in a bank. My tolerance for stupidity and BS only goes so far...

So get a new bank or better yet, a credit union. No one has to do business with someone else stop whining.

Uh, how exactly is he "fired".
This is stupid.
The bank has a right to take business from whomever they want.

If he'd deposited it in the ATM it would probably have posted with no problems...

the bank's motto must have been written by the same machine that produces them for the city

ââ?¬Å?We value relationships” = "Smart, Citizen-Focused Government"

If asked, I'm happy to send my goat in to make a few unique deposits of her own.

Banks are having the same problem every other business in America is having. Namely, the lack of good competent intelligent employees.

I feel...retaliated against. I didn't understand what I was told. And then they didn't have the time to talk me through it, and I felt worse and worse.
I demanded to talk to someone higher up, but that didn't make me feel better, either, so
I wanted to see some one even higher jump. But they didn't kiss up to me.
They made me feel, like they thought, that I didn't know what they said, so I felt as if, well,..Flabbergasted. Shocked.
I'll fell better at the Tea Party rally.

Thankyou for this article. I will add First Citizens to the name of banks with whom I will never do business.

1. Bank of America
2. First Citizens

Good to know.

Banks suck. A license to steal! All of them!

Thanks for the story. I have felt lately that the bank was treating me without respect also. I plan to move both of my accounts tomorrow.

I think Tim had every right to ask for a copy of the "policy". I think anyone in this situation would have wanted a copy. I am sure that in some office in that bank , someone had a copy at the time that he requested to look at this document. Why did it take 5 days for a manager to just give him a call? This is poor customer service on the managements part. I have known Tim for years and I don't think he acted any differently than anyone else in the same position. It is sad to hear that anyone would be treated in such a way. Good Luck with your next bank and I hope they give you the respect that you deserve.

If only I had an account there - I would close it immediately. First Citizen bank's attitude is all too typical and an example of the financial arrogance that got this country into a huge mess that we had to bailout. Regulate those ungrateful hypocrits into submission.

Makes me wish I had a account with them so i could close it. We have not heard the last of this they don't like bad publicity and more will come from them.

Are we sure Mr. Kindrick didn't degrade any of the tellers? Seems odd that a big bank would fire him for no reason.

A solid business knows that the customer isn't always right. We, as customers, sometimes think we can treat people in the service businesses like we own them.

If Mr. Kindrick was causing problems at the bank, it's best for the bank and for Mr. Kindrick to part ways.

i work at a bank.... this whole problem was due to many issues but two stand out. 1) employees lack of consistency with following regulations which resulted in the teller who was doing his/her job to look like the bad guy. 2) its all in how you handle the situation and how you say it. BUT.... Unfortunetly customers also need to not twist things into "your accusing me", "your questioning me". Not to accuse this man but some people are really sensitive when it comes to banking. In banking the customer IS NOT ALWAYS RIGHT. Employees jobs are on the line. This situation would get the teller fired. Even if the customer does not complain, compliance partners will still act on this in a disciplinary matter. Yes, the only way to help the customer for this specific situation without sending him home was to call his wife. It is important to educate customers BUT own your mistakes as a manager. If the rest of the story is true the managers behavior was unacceptable! On the matter of "asking to see the policy", not everything will be on paper for customers, rather internal, but the most common questions/issues you will find on a "Depositors Agreement" (big package when you open your account) employees must provide this to customers. If you want it in writing sometimes we cant give you the answer right then and there and have to call corporate which can take up to five business days but this should be clearly communicated to you. Again, please communicate and also be understanding and don't take it personal. Working at a bank is seriously underestimated responsibility even for a teller where 1 wrong move gets you fired. Good luck, i hope you find a good banker.

Kindrick actually started the process by deciding to telling the bank he wanted to move his account to a new bank. He may have accelerated that process by stating his desire to move in less than professional language....

one last thing to add (a friendly FYI to everyone out there).... every customer experience in a bank no matter who helps you CAN and WILL be documented and very easily pulled up on the computer. An ill behaved customer will be documented IN DETAIL. Calling 800 number is also documented soo you cant fool anyone unless it wasn't documented. If you threaten to go to another branch to get what you want they will be notified as soon as you walk out. Remember RESPECT GOES BOTH WAYS. Again good luck :)

Hey, JK, I'll add First Citizens to my list of banks to avoid also:

1) Wahovia (Walkoveryou)

2) First Citizens

I was considering having this bank be a co-trustee of a trust account, but after reading this I'm reconsidering. Do others have any experience with this bank--good or bad--to report? Thanks.

B of A has always done right by me.

I suggest that he take his business to the UVa Credit Union. In my opinion, they are the best in this area. Their customer has continued to grow over the years.

Excuse the error in my comment. Corrected- Their customer base has continued to grow over the years...

Mr. Kindrick, thank you for your service first of all.

I can recommend Navy Federal Credit Union. It's open to all active and retired service members of any military branch and their families. A good organization in my experience. They treat their members with proper respect.

Corporate banks, in my experience, treat customers like a nuisance at best and, at worst, like dirt.

I like Sun Trust.

Mr. Kindrick does not understand his place in the greater scheme of things.

The bank is the master.

He is the servant.

Barack Obama, Tim Geithner and John Boehner will be happy to explain this to him in greater detail, if necessary.

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deal with a local bank! Virginia National Bank is a good one

I've dealt with BB&T for 8 years at several branches and have always been treated with the utmost respect.

There are long-standing banking policies and customs that address account holders, non-customer payees and required endorsements all based on the Uniform Commercial Code that covers all negotiable instruments.

The check as presented was not properly endorsed. The bank should not have accepted it. Phoning was not sufficient. If his wife did not have any relationship with the bank where they could verify her signature, the bank needed to verify her identity in person before accepting the check for deposit and even then they are under no obligation to accept a deposit that doesn't meet the conditions laid out in the account agreement. The insurance check was probably a draft, not a check, and that opens up a whole other can of worms.

How they handled delivering the "bad news" to the customer is another matter. From his photo, it doesn't appears he would handle "bad news" very well.

Here's a sample policy from a credit union:
If two payees are on the check and it is being deposited into a single ownership account where one payee matches the account ownership, the non-member payee must be present and must endorse the check "Pay to the order of (the member)" in the presence of the Commonwealth Credit Union employee (MSR). The MSR will verify a photo ID and signature of the non-member payee. The member payee would then endorse below the non-member endorsement so the deposit could be made.

That's a standard approach.

I don't agree with a lot of what is going on with the banks these days so not trying to defend them and customer service is down the tubes everywhere.

HOWEVER: The teller was correct. It was not endorsed properly. PERIOD. Once they called his wife and because the teller knew him they graciously (or maybe not so graciously) agreed to let him deposit that check. Had they allowed him to deposit without taking those steps and his wife protested later, the bank would have eatn that $2100 and the teller would have been responsible.

Thank you for your service, Mr. Kindrick but there are two sides to this story. Whatever happened after that could have been prevented and this never would have been news.

Why do business with banks? We have a community credit union. And we do have a local bank in Charlottesville too.

If I had an account at First Citizens (I don't) I would immediately close it down based on this story.

Listen, first and foremost, i too work in banking. Obviously, higher up the food chain than yourself. The issues at hand are numerous. You did outline one, however in this area banking needs to be a hometown venture. Its clear that these folks knew Mr Kendrick as their neighbor and friend, at least one teller did. He should be treated as such. You cannot accomadate the mans request and then decide to simply shut it down. If the call needed to be made, (which it didnt) it should have been done immediately and not been told he couldnt make the deposit. The Managers behavior is inexcusable, she needs to be fired immediately. For there, lies the real problem. Uneducated employees acting as if they have control.....the area operations manager i can promise you will suffer severely from this as well. The finanical markets and industry are struggling, folks bank with you because they k now you. THey know you treat them well and can offer them peace of mind and friendly service. Not because of your policies. So, "Listen" please spare me the company jargon because i wrote that book. Instead, understand that the requirements for being a teller are basically breathing and that in the grand scheme of thins, as harsh as this sounds, the customer IS MORE IMPORTANT THAN YOU. (ps, the customer is also always right. You might not be able to reach agreements but they need to be treated with respect and their requests accomadated)

What's the big problem. Just take your business elsewhere. Plus, you can get a newspaper to run an article about it and get it posted on the web, like this. I suspect they'll soon be some job openings at First Citizens.

UVA Community Credit Union is the best!!

@listener and also "a banker"

Your spelling and grammar skills are atrocious (especially yours, Mr. Higher Up On The Food Chain). If you represent the general calibur of local bank employee/manager/whatever, we are all screwed.

Dear "a Banker" why the hostility for no reason. I think you clearly didn't understand what i said. if you are a banker than NO i am higher than you and respected in my district in this BIG Bank in a Management position. I have done every role in a bank including yours. Your message seems to imply that you probably have not. You arent thinking beyond your position as well as what happens to the deposit when it leaves the bank to be processed and possibly rejected. Good thing you are not a teller or a manager. But to get to the point. All customers are to be respected even if you know them or not, BUT no policy is to be broken because a customer is known. It is in bending and breaking these policies where the system breaks down in service and consistency falls apart. Again work with the customer to help them BUT educate them as well to avoid service breaks. Sometimes the customer will not get what they want hence the customer isn't always right. An excellent employee can give the bad news, educate and successfully have the customer leave happy even if they didnt get what they wanted. Every situation is different. And i stand for what i said before in the teller not accepting the deposit because of the endorsement until a manager approved it and did the right thing by confirming with his wife if he didn't want to go home. This simple problem could have been easily fixed if done right by the manager. There seems to be more to this story for such a drastic thing to happen to Mr. Kindrick or the manager should be seriously investigated. How it was handled unprofessionally, account shut down, and the rest is all downhill and too much to go into. Again good luck for those of you looking for banks and for Mr. Kindrick. For you "a banker" think the next time you make the decision revolving a regulation that was OBVIOUSLY created by someone HIGHER THAN YOU. Your disrespect of tellers as "simply breathing" is unacceptable. A tellers job is to be valued. They work with and see a lot of customers a day and are the face of that branch. The best employees will always be those well rounded that have gone up the "food chain". I got the day off. What are you doing on the internet at 8:30 when you should be preparing to open the branch at 9.
I recommend Wachovia... a little biased but also because i know how everything there works. i bank there and plan to even if i leave working there. :)
Its not the banks, its the employees that make your experience there great. When you do choose your new bank a good manager should and will introduce you to every employee. :)

What ever happened to customer friendly business practises. Reactions like, "We want your business. How can we resolve this complaint?". It seems businesses these days think there are an unlimited number of customers and this incident underscores that impression.

I understand banks need to protect their customers. I've gotten excellent services in this area recently from my bank. At the same time Mr. Kindrick reacted in an understandable way and no one at the bank cared enough about his business to give him the time to resolve his concerns.

That was all Mr. Kindrick likely wanted when he said he would look for a new bank. He had been told several times bank employees they didn't care about his concerns. We've all wondered at sometime if a business wanted our business. Maybe Mr. Kindrick thought they would show caring if he threatened to take away his business. The answer seems obvious. They wouldn't.

I also had problems with First Citizens. My problems were more of an annoying nature. I opened up a savings account and then forgot about it for years. Then one year, when I got my yearly statement, I saw they were charging me for having my savings account. So at the end of that year I had less money than when I started! Evidently their policy had changed and oddly enough, I didn't get that memo. I did try to talk to someone but I found the bank tellers totally disinterested. This was also at the Forest Lakes Branch. I simply moved my money to UVa Credit Union where I have had a happy relationship!

This bank didnt come to your house and ask you to be a member, you chose it, so you kind of have to play by their rules. Rules which are put into place to protect customers. If this had gone the other way and they had let the check be cashed and then found out you werent who you said you were, you would have been upset. The facts are that they handled business the way it was supposed to be handle, by the book so to speak. Its not the tellers fault, they were merely following rules put in place by higher ups. If you think that an article on the hook will hurt First Citizens in any way with all its branchs in all its towns with all its customers you are mistaken. It todays economy/business environment 10-15 unhappy customers doesnt matter at all, its sad but true. There are plenty of banks in the area pick another...

Jackie, if you are forgotten that you have a bank account, then you probably have many more challenges ahead in your life...

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@billmarshall, how do you know he talked to the wife? I'm sure you won't answer this question. I guess the answer is he made a video call to her and compared her face to her driver's liscense.
P.S., you certainly seem to need a lot of special attention.

@Jackie, why would you talk to bank tellers about bank policy?
@Small town, small minds, your name says most of it.
@listen, you are right in most things, however, how do you know it was the wife that answered the phone and not a girl friend who had locked her up in a trunk downstairs and was waiting to escape with her lover using his wife's money? How did the teller that "knew" him know that her wasn't stockpiling his wife's money into his personal account so he could eventually leave her destitue? There are reasons why banks have policies and I think the manager should take the knowing-teller aside and let him know his not following this policy to the letter in the first place precipitated these events in the first place. Also, the teller should not allow himself to bullied by a customer into bending the rules or regulations and he should have alerted the manager the first time it happened. Yes, I suspect there's a bully in this story and I also suspect that somebody's b ehavior was so obnoxious to the employees and other customers that the manager thought it was best that he not return to that bank. I witnessed that type of incident years ago and thought that the manager should have called the police.

I know the Kindricks. They are good people and not prone to exaggeration. If this story has made it this far it's because of the abysmal way the bank handled this. The fact that it had never been a problem before and now all of a sudden it was impossible, what's a customer to think? I think the bank manager had it wrong. It was a privilege to have the Kindrick's business, not their right. I recommend UVA Credit Union or Virginia National...both local, both great to work with.

BTW First Citizens, enjoy the loads of bad publicity you're getting!

@Crikey, I agree with you.

The statement that "bending the rules to accomodate the customer is the problem" is EXACTLY why people hate banks (or any business for that matter)The manager did the right thingby calling the wife and bending the rules. She could have also placed a hold on the funds to make sure and that would have been reasonable. This is not about the rule itself, this is about the banks treatment of a customer. This is like the auto shop who says "we are closed" at 5:31pm when your car just needs a wiper blade in the rain and you have spent thousands in repairs over the years. This is about the restaurant that won't allow you to substitute a different side (regardless of the cost) when you are there with an entire family and the check will surely be over 150 bucks. Banks don't get it. People need to hold them accountable and I am glad that this article was written so that first citizens (and other banks who are wiping their brow as they read the article)can maybe try and be a little more customer friendly next time.

@cville eye. I agree, there are a lot of what if's out there thats why regulations are in place. There are alway steps to help the customer. Like you said @cville eye we forget the wife... a check that is half hers goes into an account that is his and once there she does not have access to it at all. IF, and thats a risk the manager takes, they can have the power to approve decisions with there name (job) on it. For this specific scenario where customer claims to be known and possibly the wife: Hopefully this manager knows that they are doing :) and every bank is different to a degree. The wife can only be called by the phone number on the system. NOT from customer, NOT from phone book, NOT from a cell phone. Manger will then ask specific questions and get her permission. If any are wrong then sorry, tough luck. These questions are certainly not the typical SS, birthdate, address... these are questions only the customer would know. I would certainly also verify the wife's signature on the system by comparing it to images of her signature on older documents. When the manager does this they also should explain that the processing team can overrule it and reject the deposit, which is great because they are not biased they just see the document presented.
I also agree that threats of closing accounts and bullying to get what you want will not get you anywhere. People are also hypocritical, complain of the security procedures but when they are wronged they complain the bank didn't protect them.
Keep in mind Managers do not have to do this and are not obligated even upon threat. Customers must clearly understand this a ONE TIME exception that will be documented. Also many simply don't ever make exceptions. Its a decision each manager has to make. This is also an opportunity to review endorsement policy with the entire team to make sure everyone is consistent.

If the two commenting above really are bank employees, I hope they are more skilled in math than they are in the use of the English language.

@ C'ville Eye, you occasionally seem to have special needs yourself, so careful with the rocks.

I hate banks, insurance companies, and all the crooked lawyers that work for them both. So there.

How did Mr. Kendrick's story even make it to this newspaper??

Are you that hard up for "news"??

If the bank doesn't want to do business with you, get your money out of there!

Customer's aren't "entitled" to do business with anyone. It's just normally not a problem.

@Cville eye, "small town, small minds" is actually a dig at this area, not an indication of my level of expertise. I actually prefer larger markets. This is the smallest place I have ever lived. That said, the rules are the rules. Problems occur when exceptions are made and treatment is inconsistent. Delivering "bad news" to a customer can be a challenge. A customer isn't always right, but a customer is always the customer and they are free to go somewhere else. Telling him to take his business elsewhere was way over the top.

My personal observations have revealed a "Cville Syndrome" where employees here are not as skilled in/trained for/interested or whatever in delivering high quality customer service. Cville is NOT customer-driven. Take any national chain and see how you're treated here. Go to a larger market and see how you're treated in the same store there. Big Difference. Compare the stores. The Cville version is dirtier, less organized and the service is below par.

I don't know if it's arrogance, laziness or exactly what causes customer service to be below par here, but it is, with very few exceptions, and yes, there are some pleasant exceptions. I think the lack of competition is one contributing factor. Another is the labor pool and how difficult it is for "regular" folks to live here and earn a decent living. They're not "happy campers" and it shows in how they treat customers.

In general, banking isn't what it used to be. Knowing your customer and establishing a relationship has been replaced by transaction-based treatment with an eye on the bottom line. Just part of the increasing coarseness of our society, even in Cville.

@confused, same to you, hence the name.

@Small town, small minds I didn't think you were describing yourself. Actually I thought you were talking to people commenting on this blog. The idea that that a bank manager would follow the directives of someone he can not identify over the phone mystifies me. I find it strange that most people on this blog seem to believe that the teller should have just deposited the check makes me wonder about the future. I suspect ost of them do not have bank accounts. Naive at best, stupid probably.

My family has been a long time customer and we've had nothing but the most wonderful customer service available! I usually have a youngster with me and so get distracted easily with his wanderings but the tellers are always so patient with my transaction. I love going to the Forrest Lakes Branch and wouldn't bank anywhere else. Sorry to hear about someone else's dealings but I can't praise their customer service enough with us. And I'm in the customer service industry.

"crikey"--exactly. Many years ago I worked as a teller at First Union (later Wachovia); there is a great deal more skill required than simply breathing. Far too often I found myself in this teller's position--compelled to follow company policy because it was the right thing to do, and because I was not about to lose my job trying to accommodate someone who could have graciously and politely returned with his wife, instead of making a mountain out of a molehill. What's particularly infuriating about this kind of situation is that, had Mr. Kindrick's account been compromised in any way by a teller who did NOT follow procedure, he most likely would have complained that the proper precautions weren't taken. I'm still confused as to why Mr. Kindrick feels he was treated so disrespectfully; with rampant identity theft in this country, Mr. Kindrick should be ecstatic that an underpaid teller respected him and his money enough to question the deposit. I commend the teller for not allowing him or herself to be steamrolled. Customers should educate themselves on the terms and conditions that are given to them whenever they open a financial account, they might be surprised that "please the customer at all costs regardless of damage to our institution or reputation" is not a condition of the agreement.

A lot of stealing is going on between spouces, soon to be ex spouces. Cleaning out joint accounts, taking out all the equity out of a joint credit line on a house etc. They are right to have their own single accounts but they may want a joint household account also. Was one side or the other rude to the other side? I'll hold my popcorn/opinion for the video to come out. (which a bank wouldn't do of course)

What is a 'spouce'?

Sam is right, joint accounts are a big hassle for everyone. Best thing to do is keep separate accounts, and decide who pays for what. Also, Stellar One is the best bank we have ever done business with. Everyone is very pleasant, they know us on a first name basis, and will do anything to help us solve any problem. I can only speak for our particular local branch of course, but we try to do as much banking business with them as possible because we are always treated so well.

I recommend Union Bank, especially the Forest Lakes Branch. They are great to work with!

The fact that Mr. Kendrick told the reporter he was a 20 year veteran and the balance of his account just shows his sense of entitlement. I appreciate your service but it doesn't mean you can't steal. Sorry to tell Mr. Kendrick but $20k isn't that much money. Bank employees see a lot of zeros on the end of numbers. If you think you are a high roller, think again. Wealthy people do not do their banking where you and I do. Granted I think the length someone is customer should make a difference but 3 years? I'm 30 and I've been banking at the same place for 14 years. Three years is nothing.

He was depositing a check that didn't belong to him in his account. The check belonged to him and his wife. Tellers are usually fired for policy violations that total more than $2000. If this check had come back on her, she would be fired.

This teller was doing her job, following policy, and ten to one this guy threw a fit. Can't you see it? "I've been banking here for 3 years. I have a lot of money with this bank." If you have ever said these things to a bank employee, you my friend, think too highly of yourself.

I've never heard of a "make payable to" endorsement before. The wife signed the check, doesn't it stand to reason that she wanted it cashed/deposited?

Banks have some weird rules and procedures. If I deposit a check into my bank at 9 AM the money isn't actually in my account until sometime during the middle of the night. But I could instead cash the check and walk away with the cash right then. Does that make sense? I've been wanting to cash a check and then turn around and deposit the cash immediately, would it show up in my account right away?

After several years dealing with different banks because of my job, I learned which banks had the best customer service. If a bank treats a non-account holder in a friendly and respectful manner-- even if that person doesn't appear to be wealthy-- then it's a safe bet they treat their account holders well. Best customer service by far (at all branches) came from VA National and UVA Credit Union. Worst was Union Bank @ Pantops and any B of A branch. I'm now a very happy VA National customer.

Regarding Mr Kindrick, I think the teller handled things appropriately in protecting Mrs Kindrick's interests. However, I think the manager should have been willing to work to keep the account there-- barring any yelling and screaming behavior on Kindrick's part, that is.

Wow, a lot of ego flyin around in these comments. o_O

Admittedly though Randy's comment made me chuckle, because it was kind of spot on. "Sorry to tell Mr. Kendrick but $20k isn’t that much money. Bank employees see a lot of zeros on the end of numbers. If you think you are a high roller, think again." :D :D

I see a lot of information here from people who seem to be in or know the banking industry so could you please clarify for me how the endorsement is incorrect.

By Virginia State Law specifically VA Code 8.3A-205(b), The signature alone is considered a blank endorsement and the instrument (i.e. check) becomes payable to bearer.

How does the Bank become responsible when their policy states the account holder is responsible for all endorsements as well as any loss or expense the bank may incur to include in some cases attorney fees (pg 11-12 First Citizens Policy Booklet).

This check was payable to one account holder and one non-account holder. That's the rub! It's a payee issue even before it gets to be an endorsement issue.

If a check is payable to two people, both names should be on the account for the item to be negotiated or the bank really needs to be diligent in positively identifying the non-account holder in person. Otherwise, the bank could be on the hook if the non-account holder later claimed they did not intend for the account holder to deposit the check. Don't know what the statute of limitations is on endorsements, but I don't imagine the account holder would appreciate having a "hold" on his account for the amount of the check for what ever that specified period of time is.

As for the account holder being on the hook for all prior endorsers, what happens if the account holder deposits the check, closes the account and the check is subsequently bounced back to the bank for some endorsement problem? Who's on the hook then?

That's what banks follow the Uniform Commercial Code.

While I agree that it was probably handled poorly by the bank, the teller was likely doing her job correctly. Next time, Mr. Kindrick should thank the teller for doing his/her job right and protecting their acount(s). Being a 20-year veteran does not qualify anyone for special privelegs. All he had to do was to get his wife to add the 'statement' required by the bank - a minor incovenience. My guess is the ohter teller may end up in trouble for not following bank procedure.

Well, there are so many comments, this seems irrelevant, but this is kind of bad journalism. We only have one side of the story, since the bank could not comment, and usually when a business cannot accommodate a customer and asks a customer to leave, it's because that customer was so unpleasant, nobody really wants his business.

I think the bank is right in this case, and the tellers who were letting him deposit two-party checks into his single owner account before because they knew him...they were the ones in error. Why isn't his wife's name on this account??

Who cares what the bank's story is? If I'd been "fired" from one, I'd be exploring potential litigation. I have accounts at three different banks, nationwide not local ones, and their personnel are the same across the board. These *%#$^%$!s deal with *our* money like we owe *them* for the favor, charge us every chance they can for the "privilege", pay us utterly no interest on the money we save at their wretched institutions, and treat us like something they'd scrape off the bottom of their shoes. Trash seems to be everywhere, and employed! Just cut a hole in a mattress, people.

This article was cross-posted on The Consumerist (www.consumerist.com.)

The argument's going 60/40, but with the bank clamming up, makes it difficult for any kind of defense to be brought up to aid them.

"a banker" is correct in several areas; First the tellers didn't maintain corporate CSR standards, or made the effort to aid their (Former) client in resolving this (minor) problem. The branch manager compounded it by playing hardball with him, terminating the accounts with little or no due reason behind it. Was there any phone calls made to his spouse? Was there any contact at all made with her before the previous action was taken? The article didn't say, but I'm going to go on the assumption that there was no effort made by the bank to contact her. I feel that the branch really didn't play "by the book" in this matter, only hardcore measures were seen being used.

Hate to say it, but I can see their regional director coming by to "say hi" and to have a nice talk over coffee with the branch manager on this matter.

It ain't over yet folks.

Loonesta, what exactly would you be suing for? Nobody HAS to do business with you, it's your choice of where to bank and it's the banks choice whether to do business with you. I think attitudes like that are the reason that lawyers and insurance companies are so expensive and prolific.

Anyone stupid enough to use a "shareholder focused" bank instead of a non-profit credit union deserves what they get. Where do you think the banks get the money for all of the shareholder payouts and stadium naming rights?

All this side taking is irrelevent when one does the research into the true nature of money and the banking system. Most people don't have a clue what the deal is with money, or where the origins of the banking system lies. The system has people trapped like gerbils in a wheel so they really couldn't care less anyway. They're so busy trying to keep their heads above water they don't have time to learn, nor to do anything about it all even if they did learn. And that's just how the system wants it.

My advise? Live below your means. Learn what "minimalist lifestyle" means, and learn to accomodate yourself to that. Get rid of all credit cards and any superfluous ways that you're tied to The System financially. And only use a bank account as a means to gain access to your "money" that exists only in theory in a computer. ie, use the account as a means to cash checks made out to you, and/or to *immediately* extract money that gets deposited in there via electronic means. Keep only the bare bones minimum in your account that's required to keep the account open. Get your money in paper format and stash it someplace else outside of the bank. And even better, depending on how much of it you have, turn it into gold and silver or something with actual tangible worth. This way when everything goes down - and it will - you will A) Have some extra money handy because you researched what "minimalist lifestyle" means and therefore managed to save something up as a result, and B) Have access to all of your money in a physical way, ideally gold and silver, and NOT locked up as digital numbers in a computer.

People have these overcomplicated lifestyles nowadays and it's going to come back and bite them in the butt when it all goes down, and they have nothing to show for the gerbil in a wheel madness that has been their life all these years. Nothing at all. They'll be empty handed, and the banks' computers couldn't care less when they get wiped. It's coming.

@a banker: There is no way you work in any sort of public-facing business. Anyone who does would NEVER say "the customer is always right," because they know that is the biggest lie in business.

Take all of your money out of commercial banks because they survive by taking money from you by all means, fair or foul.

Join a Credit Union, you won't be "just a customer", you'll be an owner!

Charter One closed my account with them earlier this year, because I was "not profitable enough".

This isn't even news. Here's a news flash, some spouses don't get along, some are estranged and may try to swipe each other's money. He's lucky they gave him the courtesy of calling her up to verify even though they had no way of knowing it was really her. I live in the Carribean and the bank here made me bring my spouse in to deposit a check made out to both of us. This guy sounds like a petty vindictive toolbox and a bully.