I know the banking industry is in the crapper. And if I wondered why, it wouldn’t take that long to figure the mess out. Is that why it harder to bank now? I thought of opening a new account recently. The bank was named after some dude named Gary Ian Stephony.
They are new to my area, so they had a big push for free checking and said they offered “the best rates in town”. I expected that they would call themselves “Stephony Bank” since the guy’s full name is a mouthful. When I entered I heard welcome to GIS Bank. Now I know you are thinking, yea, so what?
The way is in how they pronounce it. You’d think GIS would have a hard “G” like Gary and rhyme with say, “miss” as though it were spelled Giss. They use a soft “G” and it rhymes with “his”. Welcome to “Giz” bank? Yes. I had gone through the looking glass and felt that I was on the set of an “R” rated or “X” rated movie. I should have run out screaming at this point, but first I had to stop laughing. The woman who turned out to be the branch manager was not amused. This is just a wild guess, but I think she has been met with my type of response previously. Ever the professional she whizzed us (sorry I had to say that) to her office.
Of course, I am assuming it’s her office. Bank offices are so sterile it really is hard to tell. She asked how she could help me. I explained that I had seen the TV ad that said they offered “free checking and the best rates in town”. “Let’s get the checking account started,” she suggested. I looked at her name on her bank’s identification pin. “Ms. Puzzi,” I began, “I am more interested in your long term CD rates right now.” She smiled, “it is 2.1%.” “Oh,” I began, “they are not the best rates in town.” She gave me a stern look, “What does your bank give you at present?” I responded, “2.76%.” “Which bank is it?” she asked. I was puzzled. “Why would you advertise that you had the best rates in town, if YOU don’t know what you competitors charge?” I asked. “Sir, I am not from the advertising department. So what bank is it?” I am beginning to question my own sanity at this point. “If I tell you would you give me the same rate?” I inquired. “I am not an officer of the bank, so I can’t make that type of decision.” Now I know she doesn’t do advertising and I am pretty sure she did not own the bank. “So I give you the info, and then what?” I am sounding a tad sarcastic by this point. “You can’t change the ads. You can’t change the rates. Other than that whole “Welcome to GIS”, what is it that you do here?”
“Can I be honest with you, sir?” she asked. “Better than lying, I guess. Sure,” I responded. “This bank sucks. And yes I know the irony of our name and what I just said. Our short term rates are 1.7%, as an example.” “And you didn’t tell me?” I was baffled, “Why not?” “The board wants you to commit longer and pay you less,” Ms. Puzzi whispered. “Surprisingly, I think I should stay at my present bank. Why don’t you change jobs?” She leaned closer, “My girlfriend recruited me. She said once I developed a taste of GIS, I’d never leave.” “Why would a friend do that to you?” Ms. Puzzi whispered even lower. “We sign contracts. If we leave voluntarily we have to recruit TWO people to replace us.”
“So your friend, where is she now?” I asked. “Back at City Federal. She took my old job.” “Until you seemed bright I was going to try to get you to work at GIS,” she offered. “I tell you what. If I ever run into someone that I immediately hate, I will send them to you.” “It was nice to see you at GIS,” she robotically answered. “Good luck with that recruiting thing…” I said as I got up and out of the bank. Connecticut City Bank looks great to me now!