Magazine article American Banker

How Can They Call This Convenient? Financial Sites Master the Runaround

Magazine article American Banker

How Can They Call This Convenient? Financial Sites Master the Runaround

Article excerpt

I am a greedy user of the Internet, and I feel this greed is good. What's bad are the glitches I constantly have to deal with.

When Wingspan.com was launched, the press coverage was extensive and the owners went overboard with expectations. I was skeptical of Internet banking by any name, even if they called it a rose, but I felt I had to try Wingspan.

After spending three or four minutes at a cumbersome Web site, I got a message that said, "This session cannot be completed; try again later."

I didn't, but I called customer service and they didn't have a clue. As it turned out, they made an entry in a trouble report, and I got the impression that they were used to filling out trouble reports.

A very large bank bought a catchy dot-com name and paid millions for it. Six months after the purchase I tried to use the site, because the buyer was my bank of record. The site wasn't ready for use, and the message did not sound encouraging as to when opening day would occur. Even the grammar was bad. It sounded like the jotting of an overworked techie who needed a nap and a hot meal. Clearly this was a work in process, but the doors were wide open to real customers and prospects.

My Internet brokerage company went full-bore electronic a few weeks ago. The first trade I made after the switch produced an e-mail telling me where to go to see the record. I was instructed to key in 148 characters after the www. When I called customer service to offer my standard "You gotta be kiddin'," the kid didn't believe me. He said, "Ignore it -- just go to eServices."

"But why do you throw all that stuff at us if it is to be ignored?" "I don't know." "What are other customers saying?" "I'm new here and yours is my very first call." "Have a nice career."

The intent to go electronic is good. …

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