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November 29, 2005 08:05 AM

Broken: Citibank account creation

David H. at 37signals asks, "Exactly how hard is everyday banking? If account creation is such a rocket surgery job perhaps they need to hire some rocket surgeons for it."

Link: Citibank Horrors: How hard is everyday banking?.


What is a rocket surgeon?

Posted by: Andrew Hoffman at November 29, 2005 08:51 AM

Why the heck is David H. still trying to give his money to Citibank? Tell them to cancel the account, give you your money back, and go find a bank that isn't such a bureaucratic nightmare, and which actually *wants* your business!

Posted by: Reed at November 29, 2005 09:04 AM

The 37signals blog thing puts text directly against the sides of the browser window (Firefox 1.0.7): no margins. I find that hard to read, how about you, I call "broken".

Posted by: browser at November 29, 2005 09:36 AM

I agree with Reed. Bank of America had this nailed 10 years ago.

Posted by: agree w/Reed at November 29, 2005 10:15 AM

Maybe a rocket surgeon is someone sooo skilled that they are both a rocket scientist and a brain surgeon.

Of course it could simply be a matter of the author getting two expressions mixed up.

Personally I prefer the first explanation.

Also, If his account is locked, he can't get his money back to take it elsewhere.

Posted by: Sean P at November 29, 2005 10:17 AM

This is most likely the case of one person's horrid experience with an otherwise good company, but it's still incredibly broken because the situation was allowed to get THIS BAD.

There is no reason that an account should be locked and completely inaccessible for any period of time. There must be someone, somewhere in the company that can remove that lock. If you're talking about a credit card, then it's not quite as bad because it just means the owner can't go shopping for a few days. If you're talking about checking/savings, then the company is TOTALLY screwing with that person's life and their ability to buy gas, food, pay bills, etc.

And yeah Sean P said it just right. How screwed up is that? You give them your money, they refuse to give it back.

Posted by: Manni at November 29, 2005 10:36 AM

The customer experience is most definitely broken here. I suspect the cause of all these problems may be the rapid growth strategy of Citibank which comprised of mergers and acquisitions in a semmingly never-ending stream.

Posted by: Carlos Gomez at November 29, 2005 11:03 AM

Horrific. Definitely broken.

And I thought my last banking experience was bad. I had to go through the entire process a new account holder would just to change my last name due to marriage. It took 30 minutes and 3 pieces of identification to fix something that should have taken about 12 keystrokes. I had the same account, same address, same everything else.

Posted by: Dawn N at November 29, 2005 11:09 AM

"Rocket surgeon" is a play on what rocket scientists and brain surgeons have to say about their fields:

Rocket Scientist: "It ain't brain surgery."

Brain Surgeon: "It ain't rocket science."

Posted by: Josh Z. at November 29, 2005 11:32 AM

Rocket surgeon...isn't it also from a commercial.

I worked for NationBank before it merged with BofA years back and they always took alot of time and energy to train their people. Gotta give Hugh McColl credit. When I left in 2000, they were starting to cut back on some of that.

Posted by: JAC at November 29, 2005 12:34 PM

click on the link at the top of the page for "New York Times Story on This is Broken" and you get an ad for...yes, Citibank.

Posted by: Erik at November 29, 2005 01:42 PM

Had a similar experience with Flagstar Bank here in Michigan. Had no trouble getting a $100,000 home loan through Flagstar here before we moved from another state.

Right after relocating, we again went to Flagstar to open a checking account - and had to jump through all sorts of hoops since we didn't yet have local Michigan IDs/Driver's Licenses (we had photo driver's licenses from our previous state).

We attempted to reason with the Flagstar person opening the checking account - and after much discussion and scrutinizing, allowed us to do further business through a checking account with the bank.

Its amazing that the different departments don't talk to each other and the checking account person couldn't simply bring up our records on her computer screen.

Posted by: Dan Kelley at November 29, 2005 06:46 PM

This doesn't surpise me, Citibank is retarded. My experience: I had a Citibank credit card for about a year. Then I get a "pre-approved" offer from them for a card with a 0% interest on balance transfers for one year. It so happens that I can use that (OK, my financial situation is broken!) so I call them regarding the offer, they tell me they can't give me the 0% on the Citibank card I _already_ have, but I can submit the application - for another card. So I do. A few weeks later I get the card with the 0% balance transfer option. Now I have two cards from Citibank, I just never use the first one. And I _continue_ to get mailings from Citibank with more 0% balance transfer offers if I request another card. Broken!

Posted by: G. W. Bridge at November 29, 2005 06:56 PM

i bank at citi (why?) it is broken i hate it!!! i sympathize with you!

Posted by: duallied at November 30, 2005 01:54 AM

I don't normally suggest this, but this case calls for exactly this: He should sue. They have taken his money and locked it away from him so he cannot use it. They owe it back to him so he can take it someplace competent.

Posted by: Glenn Lasher at November 30, 2005 06:59 AM

Opening a new bank account is a lot more complicated than you might think. I have been a banker for the last four years, and recent federal regulations (USA PATRIOT Act for example) have significantly increased the paperwork and documentation required.

That said, the customer experience described is clearly broken. There is no reason for an account to be frozen for this length of time, and it may be a violation of the Expidited Funds Availability Act (implemented by Regulation CC, if I remember right).

Posted by: cmadler at November 30, 2005 07:18 AM

We've had the experience of having a credit card "frozen" while staying at a hotel. We paid cash but they still froze a certain amount on the card, presumably to cover damages, phone calls, who knows. We weren't inconvenienced by not being able to "go shopping" but in fact, our auto payment for our car insurance and mortgage failed due to the hold. The car insurance was cancelled and the mortgage payment was late, incurring a late fee. What a mess to straighten after getting home from vacation and the fines for the cancelled car insurance came to over $160. Think the bank would reimburse us? Hhahahahahahah.

Posted by: Lady Jane at November 30, 2005 07:39 AM

Citibank is broken. End of story.

Posted by: Bob at November 30, 2005 10:34 AM

A rocket surgeon? Is that someone who can perform surgery while flying on a rocket?

Posted by: Loren Pechtel at November 30, 2005 10:55 AM

To "browser":

The blog looks okay to me on Firefox 1.0.7. Might be a configuration problem on your end.

Posted by: Steve at November 30, 2005 11:38 AM

I hate Citibank too! We had a checking & savings account ... we got robbed, so we wanted to change our account numbers ... they closed our old account and then refused to reopen the checking account! Of course the most frustrating part is having to deal with the inept customer "service" people. Great article though, very well illustrated.

Posted by: ben at November 30, 2005 01:51 PM

I agree with all. With respect to G.W. Bridge's point, I advocate taking advantage of credit card companies in every way, shape and form. You KNOW that THEY take advantage of consumers every chance they get. Keep your credit clean, use all the "teaser" zero interest offers and just switch the debt around so you have permanent use of their money. I still haven't really paid for the carpeting I had put in about four years ago.

Only thing to watch is, your credit score will get dinged if you have too many accounts open at once, so close the ones that you cannot continue to milk.

Posted by: Pat at November 30, 2005 02:53 PM

Of course there are Rocket surgeons. Just as sure as a bear is catholic.

Posted by: Steve at November 30, 2005 03:46 PM

It is fine in Firefox 1.5.

Posted by: hxgjdghj at December 1, 2005 06:17 PM

Citibank stole $500 from me!! I charged something for $500 on 12/11/05. I checked my account the next day and the money had been taken out and my account balance showed a $500 debit. Fine, that's done. I check my account today, NINE DAYS LATER, and it is overdrawn by -$293!! Why because I'm told some foolish excuse that the $500 was only authorized to make sure "it was there" on the 11th, then put back into the account to be debited "for real" nine days later. For obvious reasons this makes NO sense. Not to mention my account balance never showed a credit for the $500. To make matters worse proving it will be next to impossible since the Citibank website is now not showing any evidence of any of these transactions (not even the initial one) yet my account balance is still overdrawn. I have been robbed!!! Stay away from Citibank. If anyone knows who I can complain to, please post.

Posted by: O. Foster at December 20, 2005 04:31 PM

Broken things I can deal with.Citigroup is way beyond broken.The customer reps I've talked to have been polite.They all seem to have the same answer to any problem.Citi is right and the customer is wrong.I'm not sure if the reps are trained to do this or they are subject to a pre employment lobotomy.After 2 bad experiences with this outfit I strongly suggest taking your buisness to an honest financial institution.

Posted by: Clay at December 23, 2005 06:55 PM



The letter I’ve include with this email is from a concern client of Citibank

My question is will the teller be fired and if not why not? This teller left out about $10,000.00 in the unlocked front drawer 2 different times with in a two week period and had two shortages in one year, one for $100.00 and the other for $450.00.

Where the cash drawer is concern two employees signed the vault book stating they witness her put the cash away, obviously not true.

One of these two employees had the bank pay for her daughters overdrafts and the manage was aware, against company policy.

This teller entered false referrals into the systems to make the banks numbers look better and this was done under the supervision and direction of the supervisor, when I brought this up to the manager none of the three tellers which input false referrals were written up, falsifying bank documents and no write up but I get written up for missing a Saturday, why? Unfair and unequal treatment by the manager. Where are the ethics?

As I’ve stated, the unethical employees still have jobs and I get fired after the manager receives my email on 12/13/05 at about 1:45 p.m., and he acknowledges receiving it, it clearing answers his question/comment that he was calling to see if I was coming. The email states that my doctor had called in and spoke to Kathleen: as well as faxing in my doctors note which the manager returned to me with my termination letter received two days after I had been fried with no check, with no break down explanation, no vacation pay, misleading information and so on, note clearly stating my disability time off. Did he read the doctors note? Did he let upper management know that my doctor had call and faxed information?

The manager called I returned his call but he was with a client.

I requested to communicate via email and I emailed him, Kathleen and Human Resource, so why was I fired sometime after he received my email and the end of the day if he was just calling to see if I was coming in and if not to contact HR? Unfair and unequal treatment.

It makes no sense. Why weren’t the labor codes followed? Did he get HR permission to fire me?

Why then wasn’t my check included with my letter of termination? Aren’t I to be fired at the location which I work? Were my rights violated when he had Kevin send me my termination letter, did he know I was getting fired prior to me receiving my letter?

March 25, 2006 Dear Ms. Deloney,

I would like to take a moment and thank you for responding to my comments regarding Damari and the manager. I am sure that you are a very busy and important person and I appreciate your time. Damari is truly missed at the bank, since her unfair termination by the manger, the atmosphere at the bank is boring to say the least. Damari added life and laughter and she enjoyed serving the customers. I feel deeply, that the manager made a huge mistake in dismissing her while she was ill. What kind of a manager would dismiss an employee while they are ill?

As I say this, I now have further concerns about another teller name Andrea. I was in the bank and was told that she has injured her knee and will be out of work for about six weeks. I’m sure that Andrea has a doctors note as Damari did, I hope that the manager doesn’t make the same mistake and decides to terminate her and mail her a letter before she returns as he did Damari when he terminated her instead of waiting for her to get well and return to work. Although I would understand if he were let her go as she spends most of her time at work doing her homework , reading and she isn’t available everyday. Andrea will move on, on her own to become a teacher, this is what she goes to school for two days a week. By her going to school, I feel this puts a strain on the staff. I understand that the rest of the tellers along with Kathleen are now having to work six days a week and Kathleen is running a window: she doesn’t have the charm or customer service skills which Damari offered the bank.

We go into the bank often and we rarely see that manager. I feel that it would be in the best interest of the bank to find a permanent manager as soon as possible, one whom appreciates competent employees as Damari. Frankly, I don’t understand how a temporary manager was given the authority to dismiss an employee such as Damari with her wonderful skills , talents and dedication to her job. Therefore my concerns are now for Andrea whom doesn‘t compare with the kind of service Damari offered your customers. As I stated before, the other tellers spend too much time speaking to customers about personal things and shopping on the computer instead of banking conversations. I frequently witness them reading and eating while at their windows: this is very unprofessional.

I feel it would be in the best interest to Citibank to launch a complete investigation on the manager, as you stated would be done and seriously consider removing him from Carmel. In my opinion since he arrived the atmosphere is tense and if I can sense it I am sure that other customers do. This manager has taken all the personal touch and charm out of the bank and I feel the employees fear for their jobs: no one should have to work under those conditions. Keeping this manager at this or any branch is sure to destroy you business. Again, thank you for your letter and taking the time to look into this situation.

Sincerely, Clifford Bagwell

In a letter dated 01/06/06,Citibank states, Pursuant to Section 1089 of the Ca. Unemployment insurance Code, regarding notification of changes in employment status, please be advised that your employment was terminated on 12/13/5 for failure to follow call in procedures

RE Section1089 and other codes which Citibank may have violated

Other codes they may have violated labor code section 208, 226, 226.3,201.25,2441, 2800,2802,2926,2927,6400,3602(6),3852,2922,civil code 47(c)

I was fired on 12/13/05,it states that each employer shall notify the employee immediately, yet I didn't find out until 12/15 as I received my notice of termination via UPS on12/15

When I was fired I was not supplied with "copies of printed statements or materials relating to claims for benefits by Citibank.

Citibank claims that I didn't follow the call-in procedure yet my doctor called on 12/12 & faxed in a notice which stated that I would be out from the 12th-16th.

Jeff claims that he called me to see if I was coming in on 12/13 at 10:25am,almost 2hrs after my shift started, he states that if I wasn't coming in that he wanted me to contact HR to inform them of my extended absence. How does one go from calling to see if I'm coming in & ask me to call HR to Jeff stating & deciding that I should be fired yet in my email to him at 1:45pm on 12/13 it states that the doctor had spoken to Kathleen & faxed in my doctors note which he returns to me w/letter of termination.

How does he justify terminating me? I was out on work related stress and my blood pressure, my doctor called for me to keep my stress & blood pressure down, as far as not calling in I had my doctor call: the call was made for me to protect my health. Why wasn't it stated in my termination letter that I failed to follow the call in procedure. Why does Citibank state to the DFEH that I called in on 11/15 & said that I would be out the rest of the week yet I worked on the that day & the supervisor approved my timecard on 11/22. What else are they not being honest about?

Why are the employees which falsify bank documents & break policy still have jobs?

Reply to Damari Stratford 1291 Ord Grove Ave, Seaside 93955 831-583-9077



Dear Governor, First Lady and staff,

I have been awake since 1:05 a.m. I was having a difficult time sleeping again due to my conversation with Ann Lueckeman from the DFEH. Ann and I spoke on 3/08/06, Citibank apparently faxed in their reply on 3/07/06. Ann read to me some of the statements that Citibank made on their reply Citibank states: that I called in on 11/15/05 and that I stated that I would be out the rest of the week, this is a lie!!! I happen to have my time card for the week ending 11/19/05 and it clearly shows that I worked the 15th, I was off the 16th and I worked the 17th and that I was out sick on the 18th and 19th and that the manager approved my time. Citibank states that I refused to work on Saturdays but they don't mention that I, unlike them, was willing to meet them half way. Citibank is not telling the truth. To further support that I was at work on the 15th and 17th I have my journal notes with specific times of things that occurred on those two days. How does an honest and ethical person fight against unethical people who lie? How can I protect myself if I can't afford an attorney and I can't find one to work on a contingency basis? The other night, on TV, my husband and I heard that the government spends 4 million to train wasp and I can't get help from The White House or our Senators or Congress, to defend myself against a corporation which is taking advantage and lying about this situation? The only one that has offered to help is the Governors office and although I appreciate the letter and the call from the Governors office this does not get me an attorney. I have diligently search for assistance to no avail. I am now begging for help, I can't continue to loose sleep and live on anxiety medication; this situation is wearing on me. Again, please, is there anything more that you or our government can do to help my family and I, for this wrongful termination? Why is Citibank lying? I feel like I am going to have another panic attack and I had to resign to taking medication to calm down. This is totally and completely unfair, unjust, wrong and no one should have to go through what Citibank has put my family and I through. I only wonder how many other wrongful termination's Citibank has gotten away with because people are afraid to go up against them or just don't have the money to fight and protect them selves? My husband and daughter are worried about me and so am I.

PLEASE HELP US. I don’t know what else to do and I don’t want to give up.


Damari Stratford

A BETTER EXPLANATION Mother fired by Citibank for no good reason

I am searching for an Employment Attorney willing to work on a contingency basis. I was fired while I was out sick, the managers states in a note added to my personnel file that he had called me to see if I would be coming into work on Dec. 13th but yet with my letter of termination he returned to me the faxed in doctors note, faxed in at 3:44p.m. on 12/12/05 by my doctor, which clearly stated that I would be out from 12/12-12/16/05. He sent me my letter of termination thru UPS, which arrive on 12/15/05. The manager knew that I was out on work related stress and I had a workers comp case pending. The manager states that I was fired for not complying with my warning and I asked how I could comply if I wasn't there to comply so then I get a letter from HR stating that I was fired for failure to follow the call in process but my doctor had called in for me on the 12th due to my stress level and blood pressure. The doctor had spoken to the supervisor on the 12th so they were aware that I wouldn't be in on the 13th and my doctor has the notes on my file that she had made a call in for me. Citibank did not follow their own procedures when they fired me. The EEOC has given me the right to sue and the letter arrived on 2/17/06 so my 90 days have started. The DFEH has also launched their own investigation which Citibank received notice on 1/23/06 and should be responding to the notice any day now, (as of 3/8/06they haven’t responded). I had an outstanding performance history with the bank; I had worked there for 4 years 2 months 6 days. I was the head teller one of the notary and the only Spanish-speaking teller. I have at least 40 letters of support from Citibank clients and I can prove that the manager was not equal with all the employees and although he was aware of the teller cooking the books under the direction of the supervisor none of them were put on corrective action yet I was written up for missing my first Saturday and then again when I missed my 2nd Saturday although I had a doctors note to be out of work due to my blood pressure and stress brought on by the manage and the unfairness in treatment. I had been threaten with job abandonment but at that time I hadn't missed any work long enough to be accused for this. Citibank violated code 132A of the worker comp law and I do have an attorney for that but they are unable to deal with all the other issues. I have a strong feeling that the manager never told HR that my doctor had called in for me nor did he share my doctors note with them, he is to get approval from HR before firing me yet fired me by 4:30 pm or so, I had also emailed him that day at 1:45 pm and explained that my doctor had spoken to the supervisor and faxed in a note, again he was aware that I wouldn’t be in. The manager had called my cell phone and left a message at about 10:25 am, he states that he called because I hadn’t called in a half an hour prior to my shift, which started at 8:30 a.m., why did it take him 2 hours before calling me? And I would bet that the supervisor had made arrangements to have a teller there to cover my shift since my doctor called her. Please help my family and I.

Sincerely, Damari Stratford

Home 831-583-9077 all calls to this number are screen due to telemarketing calls and my current situation so once you hear my voice saying that all calls are screened please leave a message, once I hear who is calling I pick up the phone.

Cell phone 831-236-0112 this is the best number to leave a message

Again please help us

Posted by: DAMARI STRATFORD at April 18, 2006 11:56 AM

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