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My complaints with the Royal Bank

I've been a customer of the Royal Bank of Canada for 14 years now and have several complaints...

They treat me like a fraud.

During the spring of 2001 I started to work for an American company and as a result my pay cheque was in US dollars. As a result I opened a USD chequing account with Royal. When I went to deposit my first pay cheque which was a company cheque I was informed that the funds would be held for 14 business days (I had talked her down from 25). Obviously this was not an acceptable solution so all subsequent pay cheques were in the form of USD money orders. For four months I was able to desposit this with relatively little difficulty and no holds. Following September 11 a marginal amount of extra effort was required on my part to take them into not placing a 25 business day hold on these money orders. Now all of a sudden beginning in December 2001 I encountered tremendous difficulties cashing these money orders. All the tellers I went to deposit my money with treated me like a fraud. They questioned the instrument, they questioned my use of the funds, they questioned the source of the funds, they even questioned why I would need the funds in under 25 business days.

I tried pointing out my long standing history with the bank; my 14 years of business for not only my personal accounts, but also my business' accounts as well as my brokerage accounts. I tried to point out that for the past 8 months I had deposited numerous money orders without incident yet still they questioned and wouldn't accept my money. What I found most odd was that for 4 months I was making these deposit at the Erb & Westmount branch and these was the branch that was giving me static. When I pointed out how odd it was that they had accepted my money for 4 months the teller wanted to know who I had dealt with. Unable to point to any of the current tellers on the floor she doubted that I had dealth with that branch before! I pointed out that the computer would confirm my transactional history but she would have none of it.

I resolved the situation by meeting with a personal banker referred by a friend at a different branch who opened for me a second USD account which she added a very explicit message that funds were not to be held. While I'm happy I have resolved the issue I continue to wonder why the Royal Bank's banking system relies so heavily upon the relationship between customer and teller. Had the tellers I attempted to deposit with 'known' me then there wouldn't have any problems. In this computerized day and age I find this very outdated. Their computers should be able to tell any teller that while I'm depositing into an account that is only 8 months I've had accounts with them for 14 years and that during those 14 years I've never ever passed a bad money order. I also find it painfully insulting that they'd assume that a long standing customer is a fraud till convinced otherwise.

I need two client cards

The Royal Bank appears to have two computer networks. An eastern one, and a western one. Growing up in Winnipeg my accounts and client card were on the western network. When I opened a credit line with a Waterloo branch it was on the eastern network. I quickly discovered that my western client card was unable to access my credit line which meant I was unable to withdraw money from an ATM with it or transfer money between my credit line and my western accounts online. To remedy the situation I opened another account on the eastern network and obtained another card. The odd thing is that while tellers and the people you call for telephone banking assistance can transfer money between accounts which are on two separate networks I can't do so via Royal's internet banking which is a pain. I also recently discovered that my brokerage accounts are also tied to the western system and I've subequently had to open one on the eastern system and attempt to transfer my securities between the two just so that I can deposit money into my brokerage account over the Internet.

Again, in this day and age the Internet has rendered the concept of regional networks obselete. Quite making your cusomters jump through hoops and maintain one system accessed by one card.

They closed my account without notice

As mentioned above I have a student credit line. Recently the Royal Bank decided I was no longer a student and closed the account with no warning. They maintain that they've mailed me asking to confirm my full time status but I honestly can't recall having received that mail but having moved 3 times in the past year it is probable I never received it. I will admit that I at this present moment am not a full time student but I hardly believe that gives them the right to close an account (which had outstanding cheques written against it) without at least picking up the phone and calling me.

Can't pay USD bills online.

While it appears that you can specify the currency with which you pay bills with Royal's online banking interface you can't actually pay USD bills with USD. Which means I had to order cheques for my USD account and will now have to each month deposit a cheque in the mail to the provider of my USD credit card (a major inconvenience).

© Copyright 2005 Matt Goyer.
Last update: 4/11/2005; 11:12:15 PM.