Tuesday, June 22, 2004

Bank Coup 

Well, last week, clear up to Saturday, our bank of choice was working with us on the loans.

Sunday, the bank sprouted a new banner heralding a name change.

Monday, the loan officer we were working with disappeared. She'd been laid off. Her replacement said they no longer offered start-up loans.

Today, we had it confirmed that our bank has, indeed, been taken over by a different bank based in another state. That bank does not do small business loans, and they definitely don't do start-up loans, so all the work we've done with our bank is wasted effort and will have to be repeated at a different bank.

I have to say I am extremely unhappy with the way this bank change occured. I've been banking with them for 20 years, through 2 previous name changes and bank ownerships. Each of the previous times, the bank sent out announcements in the bank statements, with information on the ownership change and procedural differences so we, the customers, would know what was happening.

Employees knew in advance if they would retain their positions, and if not were given sifficient notice to find other employment.

It was all very civil and civilized.

This bank ownership change happened without most employees knowing about it, the branch manager to whom we spoke today had no idea their loan policies had changed so much. It was a matter of immense surprise to all the customers.

I've now browsed through their website (many pages are "to be announced" and "under construction"), and I'm not pleased with the reduction in services this new bank owner offers. Nor am I happy that it is an out-of-state bank. One of the things we are striving to do with the Cracked Cauldron is to use local resources as much as possible, from our suppliers on up.

On the plus side, we've spoken with the loan officer of another (locally owned) bank, and have received a positive impression of them. Manager has to take care of a hospitalized ferret this afternoon, but there should be plenty of time for her to meet with the loan officer and fill out the loan information.

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