Bank mergers and acquisitions present customers with a dilemma of whether to stay or flee the new bank that gets possession of their accounts. Customers are smart to do some research into the new bank's fees, services, rates and policies before they decide whether to accept the new status quo or switch to another bank as Chris Morris reports in "Your bank's been acquired: Should you stay?" on Bankrate.com.
For many customers, as Morris notes, apathy may be the response. After all, it's a hassle to research a bank and make a switch, especially if you have multiple direct deposits and withdrawals or have personalized your online banking. (Banks are, of course, wise to the high switching costs of these particular services.)
But whether you decide to stay with the new bank or make a switch, you should be exceptionally diligent about monitoring your accounts during the transition from Bank A to Bank B.
I speak from experience, though my last encounter with an acquisition-driven bank switcheroo happened more than a decade ago. In that case, one of my accounts was transferred not once, but twice in less than a year as Bank A was bought by Bank B, which was then acquired by Bank C.
Bank B relocated my safe deposit box from one of Bank A's bank branches to one of its own branches. I was notified of this relocation by U.S. mail, but only after I'd stopped by Bank A and discovered it was closed and my supposedly safe-guarded documents were not there.
Bank C double-deposited a month's worth of paychecks, an error in my favor. Notified of their mistake, they offered to help me balance my checking account -- for a fee. I declined, and amazingly enough, they never reversed the error. (Free money!)
Although these goof-ups occurred a long time ago, they were traumatic at the time and quite memorable. And they serve well to illustrate the kinds of problems that can happen.
If your bank account was moved from Bank A to Bank B and perhaps then to Bank C, was the transition smooth or do you have a cautionary tale to share?