Stephen D. Avila — Personal loan + service received
To Whom It May Concern, Thursday June 23, 2016
I am writing you to tell you about an incident that happened at my local branch and to see if you have a remedy. What happened and how I was treated has me very unhappy, upset and disillusioned, and thinking twice about our relationship. It started two days ago on June 21, 2016 at the Whitmore Ave Branch in Ceres, CA of Bank of West.
On that date, I had called to ask about a motorcycle loan. Your representative, Angie, said you do not offer motorcycle loans, but you do offer personal loans, and that we could get the application done over the phone in a matter of minutes. I asked her what interest rate for the loan, she replied specifically 5.5 to 6%. So I asked her, once she submitted the application how long would it take for the approval or disapproval (I had asked this question because I was exploring other options available to me, plus I knew that if I walked in to the dealership with cash in hand, I could negotiate a better deal for the item I was looking to purchase). She told me it would take 4-5 hours and then I could pick it up. Since it was in the morning during our phone conversation, I should have been able to sign the documents and taken the money before the close of the business day and then concluded my business with the dealership. I waited until the end of the day for her call, but it never came.
So, I called at 10 am Wednesday the 22nd to find out what was going on and make arrangements for me to come in to the branch and finalize the transaction. The woman who answered the phone was a little unclear, but I got the jist that Angie wasn't there but she would get somebody and could I hold for a bit. I told her I could. After ten minutes of waiting with nothing from the branch, I was wondering what was going on. In frustration I hung up and went about my day. The rest of the day I never heard back from them.
This morning just after 10 am I went to the branch and inquired about the loan. Once again I was told Angie was not there and would be gone at least the rest of the week. They had me wait. After waiting a few minutes the new manager came over to help me. From her desk she looked up the specifics. She said it was approved. Good so far. Since the way things have gone the last couple of days was on my mind, I asked to verify the rate on the loan. I also asked if there would be any difficulty if I raised the amount an extra $1, 000.00 to bring the loan to $8, 000.00. Where do I go from here about what happened next?
The manager told me the rate was 7.99%. I was very surprised to hear this. I told her what was told me, for which she had no answer. She called over a male member of the staff to confer with him. They started discussing X amount of products and that I would have to add 2 more “products” one of which was mobile banking. I already have a checking account and ATM/Master Card, and one Direct Deposit and another monthly transfer of $850.00 from another bank I do business with. They noticed my smart phone and said it doesn't cost anything for the mobile banking and how simple it was to add that “product”. They never did get around to the 2nd product I would need. It struck me as very odd to hear banking features and services referred to as products, but hey, if that is where the banking industry has headed, so be it. The bottom line was that if I did that, the rate would drop to 7%; a whole percentage point more than the highest I was told it would be.
By now, I wasn't very happy and my confidence in the bank was beginning to wane. Then I was told that it would take 4-5 hours from right then to print up the paper work. In other words a delay totaling 3 days from the same day conclusion I had been led to believe I could count on.
I've been exposed to some high pressure and gimmicks from car dealerships, but those guys had nothing on your team in this branch. Thinking over the whole experience, what comes to mind is the term “shady” when it comes to this incident. I am pretty intuitive, a tool I've learned over the years, and I came away feeling that things just were not right here. Whether it is indicative of a corporate philosophy, a branch outlook, or just the way the personnel there do business, I would rather not speculate on. Add to that, I think it is also odd that the person who processed the loan request (some one who must have had training in processing loans) just happens to now not be unavailable (which she made no mention of). I have never heard of doing business this way or treating a customer this way. I guess I'll find out what is going on based on a response from you. I certainly do not feel it is in my best interest to add more “products”, after my experience these past few days.
I am used to dealing with banks that offer the kind of services that I, as a consumer, look for when choosing a bank with which to do my banking. I have to say I am having real doubts about continuing our relationship since having this experience, and I don't like the fact I'm banking with someone who doesn't even offer services any more, just products. I will await with interest any reply that may be forthcoming from you. Contact me via email at: [protected]@gmail.com or [protected].
Stephen D. Avila