In April of 2007, my son joined the Army. During the process of joining, his recruiter took him a Kroger grocery store in Arlington, TX, and instructed my son to open an account with 1st Convenience Bank. The bank opened an account with the last nickel my son had in his pocket, and set him up for direct deposit.
Days later, my son was sent to Basic Combat Training at Fort Jackson, SC. His bank statements from 1st Convenience Bank came to our home. My son never received an ATM/Debit Card, checks -- he had no way to access his funds.
Upon graduation from Basic Combat Training, my son asked for my help to access his hard earned money. We carefully looked over all of his LES' and bank statements. Imagine my surprise to see that on the 1st and 15th of each month, he was charged a $2.00 fee for his direct deposits. Each time he tried to talk to someone about accessing his account, he was charged 50 cents for the phone call. It was outrageous!!!
I tried to help, but could not accomplish anything with the employees of this financial institution. Customer Service is certainly not of interest to them.
Upon graduation from Advanced Individual Training, my son decided to close the account with 1st Convenience Bank and transfer his funds to a credit union. He called the bank armed with all necessary information to have his funds wire transferred, and expected to be charged $15.00 for the transfer.
After speaking with many customer representatives, being hung up on, calling back, waiting on hold, being transferred, he was finally told that the bank did not perform wire transfers. He was transferred to the Western Union Department of the bank. For a fee of $129.00, my son's funds were wire transferred via Western Union.
My son was told he could go to any Western Union office in our hometown to pick up his funds, and all he needed for verification was his military ID. When he tried to pick up his funds, the clerk at the Western Union office asked for the confirmation code, which my son didn't have -- so he proceeded to call the bank. Once again, he was transferred to multiple Customer Service Reps, placed on hold, hung up on, etc. After about an hour of dialing and waiting, the Western Union Clerk recognized the logo on my son's bank statement and told us there happened to be a new branch that had opened in the Wal Mart 20 miles away.
We immediately went to the branch, my son tried to close his account, but could not. He was promptly issued an ATM/Debit Mastercard (with a charge of $12.95 plus $1.00 per month fee! -- on top of the $1.50 charge each time the card is used) , and checks were ordered.
This bank preys on our young niave soldiers. They made thousands of dollars while holding my son's money hostage for 4 months. Although I realize all banks charge for just about everything under the sun, this banking facility goes the extra mile by charging for every time they have to perform any kind of service for the customers who entrust their hard earned money with them.
1st Convenience Bank never intended to allow my son access to his funds. They were counting on the cunning of their crafty Customer Representatives to keep his funds under their control for as long as possible, hoping that my son would soon be deployed to Iraq, whereupon he would not have access to his funds for at least 15 months.
I intend to report the practices of this banking facility with Consumer Affairs, and will not stop proclaiming their theivery until this bank is stopped and or closed. I also believe criminal charges should be filed with each and every employee -- especially since this banking facility is employee owned!!!
I also intend to speak with an attorney about starting proceedings for a class action suit against this banking facility. Their outrageous conduct cannot continue -- our brave soldiers have much more to worry about than all the ways this bank steals them blind.