The manager at my local Wainwright branch called today. Since I happened to be in the neighborhood (ironically making a deposit in my new checking account down the block), I went in to talk with her in person.
Maria was extremely polite and apologetic. She refunded my fees, and offered to help me set up a line of credit to protect against future overdrafts if I would keep banking with them. But she also defended the banks’ actions in processing my debits out of order as a) unavoidable – “that’s just how the system is set up” – and b) legitimate because they were legal.
Their actions were legal, but still wrong. One set of reforms has been approved to curtail this, and another is in the works. Why is a bank that prides itself on progressive values not on the side of reform in this issue?
I’m glad they’re working with me on this, and am genuinely grateful for the warm treatment I received today. I believe the staff at this branch to be basically good people. Rio was at this meeting and remembered a time Maria gave her a band-aid and a lollipop when she slammed her finger in the door.
It’s not enough to make it better for me, though. I repeated to Maria my main point: that an accounting system that deliberately processes bank transactions out of order to create additional overdrafts, is a corrupt and exploitative system. It may be the way the system is set up, but it doesn’t have to be that way. Wainwright should be a leader in changing it.
I want to see Wainwright treat all their customers fairly, not just the squeaky wheels.
In the meantime, I am off to buy $92.97 worth of badly needed groceries.
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