If you ask Sue Cook, the merger between First Midwest and Old National Bank is anything but smooth.
The merger was completed in February, but Cook said she received no information about steps to maintain the account. Cook is a joint-member with her 81-year-old mother. When she moved to Oklahoma to live with her daughter, Cook, she kept the account at First Midwest.
Kathy Schoettlin, the communications officer for Old National, said the conversion of accounts took place the week of July 8-10. It involved moving account information for more than 300,000 clients and re-branding 103 banks.
“The data conversion was a smooth and successful process. All client account information was successfully transferred to the new Old National system with no data integrity issues or operating system concerns,” she said in a statement.
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Tuesday, Cook spent nearly three hours on hold while she waited to speak with customer service. The day before, she received an email saying her mother’s debit card would be null and void the next day. Cook said she never received a new card or any prior notice of this.
In her statement, Schoettlin said customers received their new debit cards, “in the weeks prior to the conversion. But, a hitch in the merger still happened on July 9 when clients were trying to activate their new cards.
“The debit card provider was having technical issues, which resulted in a spike in calls,” Schoettlin said. “While we continue to experience some intermittent issues related to debit card activation, our provider has assured us that the underlying problem has been resolved, and our call volume continues to decrease.”
Once Cook’s call was answered, a representative with Old National Bank told her to check the email on the account, but Cook said she didn’t receive anything. This only heightened her concerns.
Her mother does not use email, or the internet in general. She would have no way of knowing what was going on, or how to fix it, Cook said. Older folks who do not use the internet or don’t have the option of waiting on the phone for hours are those who are affected the most, she said.
Cook said she sent a message to the Old National Bank Facebook account, and received a reply in 30 minutes. On the phone, the representative told her 80,000 customers had called that day, and there was a line out the door for those trying to handle their financial business in person.
In Oklahoma, it was 107 degrees Tuesday. Standing outside to wait for a chance to speak to someone in person who is not manageable, she said. In Davenport, the high for the day was 91.
“It just seems like Old National should have had a better plan to work this out,” she said.
A glance through the Old National Bank’s Facebook page shows Cook is not alone in her frustration. A post outlining that mobile banking would be down for maintenance garnered nearly 700 comments by Tuesday afternoon. Most of them were customers upset about the wait time and lack of information from Old National.
However, Schoettlin said the situation is on its way to be resolved.
“Our core promise at Old National is to exceed the expectations of our clients in every interaction, and we want to apologize to every client who was inconvenienced or felt frustrated in any way during this process,” she said.