Saturday, March 19, 2011

Et tu, PNC Bank?

For years, I've been on a crazy money withdrawal binge. Anytime I was short on cash and needed a refill, I was hitting up whatever ATM was closest. I hate using cash and try to keep it to a minimum, but as long as there are disgruntled cab drivers, food trucks and strippers, I've always needed a little bit to get by. So I'd find an ATM and get it, wherever, without worry. It didn't matter what the bank was, I was withdrawing from it. Bank of America? Chase? Even the random cash machines in shady delis and bars, I never thought twice.

Would I accept the ATM fees? Yes please!

PNC Bank gave me that power. And now they're taking it away.

PNC has had a policy to reimburse ATM fees incurred anywhere, at any machine, at any time. It's been a great time to be a PNC customer.

I still remember when I had the first conversation with a PNC representative informing me:

"So wait, any ATM, anywhere, you guys reimburse the money?"

"Yes."

"Even if its an ATM on Mars, whatever the fee, you guys will reimburse it?"

"Yes."

"Wow!"

It sounded like a PNC commercial, which is effectively what I've been for the last four years.

While living in Chicago, anyone who ever brought up ATM fees would hear a quick spiel from me on the values of PNC Bank. It was perfect for someone like me, and I was happy to recommend them to others.

But now, the party's over.

Link to WSJ Article

As the press reports it, banks are all scrambling to replace revenue lost due to new financial system regulations. An easy way to do that? Raise ATM fees, or in PNCs case, stop paying for them.

So because they've had to stop screwing over other customers on overdraft fees or whatever, its coming back on the customers like me.

It sucks, big time, and for someone like me who has pimped out PNC to all kinds of people over the years, it almost feels like a betrayal.

I know, that's a little serious for someone to feel that way thanks to a banking regulation change. And the financial burden probably isn't a huge thing (my estimate at ~$60/year assuming one withdrawal a month and $5 each way). But it just gets me so ticked off.

But still. Come on PNC!

I don't know why I'm appealing to a monolithic financial institution, as if in response their ATM screens will suddenly shed a little computerized tear, its grinch-like heart will swell, and it will burst forth from its brick encasing and run down the street handing out cash.

That seems like an unlikely scenario.

It's just a shame. I really enjoyed that policy. We had some great times together. Las Vegas casinos. A Costa Rican airport. Some weird Ecuadorian bank that one time.

And now it's over. Now I need a new bank.

1 comment:

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