Letters to Corporate: A Big Bank

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When I see injustice in the world, I point it out.  Today, I took on a financial institution.  Do I expect an underdog victory here?  Absolutely not.  

Change matters.
Hey Bank, change matters.

Here’s to change:

Ms. [CEO of a publicly traded bank]:

This weekend I visited the new branch at [address].  I was impressed with the sleek design, smiling staff and on-site parking.  Upon entering the building, a greeter acknowledged me and guided me to a teller.

I placed my jar of change on the counter for deposit.  I was informed that this branch didn’t have a coin counting machine.  Although, I consider manual change counting tedious and error prone, I saw no other alternative to complete my deposit.  I learned that this state-of-the-art location does not accept deposits in the form of change.  After gasping at the thought of our currency being rejected by a bank with its profits directly correlated to monetary transactions, I regained my composure.  Fortunately, your manager had a solution.  He instructed me to take my change to the local, privately owned rinky-dink grocery store, which purportedly had a change-counting machine.  I considered my options:

  • Withdraw all of my money from your bank to see if the grocery store would accommodate me in opening a banking account.
  • Organize a community rally in the name of coins. Given that most of the country carries change in their pocket along with consideration of the demographics of my neighborhood, I would anticipate a large, sign-carrying turnout in front of the branch demanding equal treatment for coins and paper money.
  • Accumulate a pile of pennies large enough to pay my monthly mortgage payment. According to the US Department of Treasury, Title 31, Subtitle IV, Chapter 51, Subchapter I, Section 5103 “United States coins and currency are legal tender for all debts, public charges, taxes, and dues”.  In my estimation, it would take six five-gallon buckets, each weighing approximately 260 pounds, to make my next mortgage payment in pennies.  For this lone transaction, it might make sense for your obtuse institution to acquire a change machine instead of depending on a hand count.

I am no Luddite.  I do the Facebook, text the chats, and even dial-in to check the latest news and sports stories on the internet.  I also appreciate [Bank]’s avant-garde approach to encourage paper and electronic forms of currency over the traditional methods of coins.  However, to remove coin counting machines, and essentially issue an edict to reduce the significance of coins in our monetary system, seems like a despotic move for [Bank].  Coins are not an anachronism in 2016 and a $XX billion market capitalized mega bank should know this to be true.

I wish to continue my twenty-year relationship with your bank, but if you continue to abandon rudimentary services such as change counting, I will look elsewhere for my banking needs.


[Skiing In Jeans]

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4 thoughts on “Letters to Corporate: A Big Bank

  1. Dear Skiing in Jeans – This is a great article. I’d encourage you to change your bank to the #1 Private Bank in the US (6 years and running), as determined by the Financial Times Group. Not only does Northern Trust have best in class investment, trust and banking services – but they have excellent client service and will bend over backwards for even the most basic of needs.

    Their corporate headquarters even has a change counting machine. If you happen to work near 50 S LaSalle St, you’ll find it conveniently located only a few blocks away from you. While I could be mistaken, I believe you don’t even need to be a client to use the change machine. You simply drop in your coins (which is much more fun than having someone else do it) and it prints out a receipt. You can then take this receipt to the tellers and they will promptly deposit it to your account or provide you with cash.

    To use this machine, you have to be a bit “in the know.” Enter Northern Trust through the 50 S LaSalle entrance. Walk straight and look for the reception desk down the hall. Before you get to the reception desk, notice three turnstiles for employees to enter. Do not walk through these, but just to the right…notice a hidden elevator to your right. If you do not see it, simply ask one of our kind security guards where you can find the elevator to take you down to the vault.

    Take the elevator down. You will see three or four desks sitting outside of our lockbox vault, which is original from 1903. If you need a lockbox, you’ll find they are quite reasonable at $30 a year or so. If you don’t want one, but still want to check it out, ask one of the individuals at the desk if Paul Larson is available. Paul loves to talk Northern Trust history and will tell you about the vault and other interesting facts. Tell him Deiken sent you.

    If you’re more interested in your change, take an immediate right when facing the desks/vault. You will see the change counting machine along the back wall. Count your change, obtain your ticket and take the elevator back upstairs. Walk back towards the main entrance and you’ll see tellers off to your left. Take your receipt to them and they will supply you with cash money.

    This may seem like a lot of work, versus having the tellers count it for you. However, makes change counting an enjoyable adventure. Please note that teller windows start to shut down around 4:00 – 4:15. Be sure to count your change before 3:45 so you have plenty of time to get back upstairs.

    While many say they don’t want to move their banking to Northern Trust due to the lack of branches and ATMs – I say…why not? Your branch doesn’t even count change anymore! How often do you really need cash? Sure, maybe keep an account open with a mega bank with a few thousand dollars in there for transaction needs. Otherwise, move your money to the #1 Private Bank in the US, which happens to be down the street…and will count your change.

  2. What an incredible response! Well thought out, well written, and actually on point with the topic at hand. These bots are getting some excellent AI these days. All it is missing is a plug for a jerseys made in China or some pill that I can order that will make my penis bigger.

    Regarding the change aspect, is it good to know that there is still a big bank that cares about people. In time change will go the way of the spittoon and french rolled jeans, but until then it is something that we need to do with.

    Thanks for writing.

  3. Well said! I feel your pain!

    I had this same problem at my bank, where I have had an account for 20+ years. Upon leaving with my jar of coins (and a handful of coin sleeves – really?) I considered buying a coin counting apparatus that puts them into the sleeves but decided I shouldn’t have to do that much work to get paper money for my coins. I looked into the machines at the grocery store and if you want cash, you pay a percentage but if you get your $$ put onto a gift card (many to choose from) it’s free. I have not tried it yet (my jar of coins is still sitting on a shelf) but it’s something to consider.

    And since banks have made it so difficult to rid myself of coins, I’ve started counting out change from my wallet when I make a purchase. Oh, yeah, I’m “that person” holding up the line so that I get rid of some of my change since my damn bank won’t take it.

  4. Sounds like need to see Paul Larson at Northern Trust (see Deiken Maloney’s comment). The problem with the sleeves is that the bank has to unwrap each one to make sure you’re not just jamming scrap metal in the wrapping to shortchange the bank.

    One time for a Xmas grab bag gift, I gave 2,000 pennies for the $20 gift. It weighed about 15 lbs and was wanted by everyone, because no one really wants an oil and vinegar set or a second-hand picture frame. My point is that change is still very much needed in our world.

    Over two years into this blog, and I received two comments on one article. Amazing.

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