About Me

A blog wherein a literary agent will sometimes discuss his business, sometimes discuss the movies he sees, the tennis he watches, or the world around him. In which he will often wish he could say more, but will be obliged by business necessity and basic politeness and simple civility to hold his tongue. Rankings are done on a scale of one to five Slithy Toads, where a 0 is a complete waste of time, a 2 is a completely innocuous way to spend your time, and a 4 is intended as a geas compelling you to make the time.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

First, Kill All the Bankers

I incorporated my business to start the year, so now I can call myself President Bilmes.

But even though the business is today what it was a month ago, so much changes. The new business needs a new number with the IRS. Then it needs a new number with New York State. And it needs a new bank account. And because all of these numbers are changing, the payroll service has to be set up anew. All the people who send us money need to update their records with our new IRS # and/or the new bank account numbers. There are the little things that need to be changed, like getting workman's comp and the NYS disability insurance re-done with the corporation.

My new bank is the same as my old bank, but it's so intent on treating me like a new customer that I'm starting to think I should have gone to a new bank. At least that way, if I were getting all of the new customer hassles, I'd actually be a new customer.

The day I open the new accounts, one of the checks I have to deposit is a large 3-figure check for translation rights to a book. Yes, 3-figure check. It's from a bank in the foreign country, but it's in US dollars, payable through a US bank, and it has all of the US routing and account numbers that will allow it to be processed just like any other US check. The bank's computer system insists that this check be entered for collection. For those who aren't familiar, collection is a process where a bank prays over a foreign check for weeks before giving you the money, and charges you generously for its efforts in praying over your money. Oddly enough, when I ask the branch manager to try depositing the check into the old business account, the system accepts it as is. Yep, even though it's the same person with the same business as has been with this bank for fifteen years, because I have a new account it wants to screw me over on a large 3-figure check.

Small checks that would a month ago have been available to me the next day routinely, now I pop them in the ATM and it wants to be sure I take my receipt because the availability will be delayed. This isn't a big deal because I've put enough of my own money into the account to start with that I'm not going to go bouncing checks to anyone, but it's still annoying.

Of course there's no way to get any of the information from the old account to migrate to my new account. Which is proving to be a problem, because I can't add any payees to the online banking for the new account. Which takes multiple calls getting bounced from bank representative to bank representative, most of whom are at some level or another blaming me for the problem because I'm trying to do it too soon or I hit option 3 on the phone menu when of course I should have chosen option 1. Finally I'm connected with a representative who actually helps me, and determines that my profile has been set up in a different way than it maybe should have been and usually is, and he toggles some switch somewhere that fixes the problem.

Finally able to add vendors and clients, I begin paying some electronically. And then at 10AM on Saturday morning the security team calls to verify these small transactions, most to people whom I've been sending money to routinely and often in much larger amounts than these. So I have to start answering multiple choice questions generated from publically available information about aspects of my or my family's life. Which gets to be the final straw. The moment I'm off the phone I compose a letter to the President of my bank to say, and send it off by Express Mail.

Because like I said at the top of this column, if you're going to treat your customer of fifteen years like shit just because his business now has an Inc. instead of a dba in the name, shouldn't I really get that white glove treatment from a bank that really doesn't know who I am?

So I'll probably get a call in a few days from some presidential escalation customer service department who will tell me how this is All For My Own Good, just like the airport security that you all know how much I love.

1 comment:

Maria said...

I thought at the beginning your title might be a bit extreme...but I see I was wrong.

What bugs me is electronic "checks" and payments. We all know they take milliseconds. But if I move money from one account to the other--it's *instantly* gone from the bank I'm moving from. Yet, the receiving bank gets 3 to 5 business days to process it.

Process it??? There is no process. The computer does all the work and is apparently set not to allow access to the money for 3 to 5 business days.

Credit card payments? I have one bank that requires the electronic check be paid 5 business days before the due date to allow time for processing. Liars and cheats. They get the payment 5 days before it is due, and I am stuck playing their little game. They pretend their is a "mailing" time, when we all know better.

I have one banking entity that has "provided" a way that allows me to electronically transfer money to it--ie add money to the account. Somehow they forgot to implement the "electronically transfer money away from it to another account." How very annoying. It's my money, stop messing with me--or "First, Kill all the Bankers."