Why CIBC Has Missed the Boat With A New Generation

I was in a bad relationship with my bank for almost 20 years and I had no idea.

Like any unstable relationship, people tell you you should get out, they tell you things can be better but you don’t believe them. After all, when you have been with someone for as long as I had been with CIBC you can’t possibly fathom being with someone else. This is just the way things were.

Let me preface this but saying the only reason I was ever with CIBC is because my aunt was there. This meant, luckily, if I ever really needed anything – she could answer. But again, this is how I thought bank relationships worked. I thought in order to get anything done, you had to have family ties on the inside. I had no idea what kind of relationship I was really in.

Then she left. She went to TD.

In normal jobs, when an account manager leaves their role and someone else resumes the position, that new someone calls the account. They introduce themselves. Shocking! Really? No-it happens in every other industry. Considering I had 2 bank accounts, a line of credit, a mortgage and a credit card with CIBC, you would think someone would have called me to introduce themselves when this transition happened? They obviously didn’t. Like a good unhealthy relationship, they took advantage of the fact I had been with them so long and assumed, I’d stay forever.

I started to ask my aunt about her new role at TD. She told me about the people, how nice everyone was how great they were with customer service. I was floored. Other people had told me about these outside relationships with their banks but I thought they were just exaggerating. Certainly, it couldn’t be that different.

As fate would have it, there’s a TD at the bottom of my street. I started to pass by there on the weekends when I was grabbing a coffee. I would ask a question or two and they would give me a quick answer that didn’t require me calling a 1-866 number or waiting 5 days.  The staff was young, passionate and interested in actually working with me. I couldn’t believe it. Obviously, I liked these people but I couldn’t yet trust them. So I would repeat this pattern of popping in to ask a question many times. Finally, I opened an account.

As soon as I opened an account the floodgates were open. I loved that I could pop into the branch and people answered my questions! They problem solved when I had an issue. Their interface online was great. The customer service was amazing. I was hooked. I started to investigate how I could move all my banking over and slowly, I did.

I had been banking solely with TD for a while and had gotten used to this amazing service where people returned your call and solved your problems. Then the time came to move my mortgage from CIBC to TD. TD assured me everything would be fine. They explained everything, walked me through all paperwork. All was ready to go-then they had to work with CIBC. The poor poor guys.

Seeing as they worked at TD, they expected people at the CIBC branch to deal with issues. They thought account managers there actually worked with people. How wrong they were. They sent a fax to the branch to discharge my mortgage. Then they called. Then they sent another fax, then they called. You can see where this is going. Finally, TD called me to call CIBC. I did. CIBC let me know because we hadn’t sent it to the 1-866 fax number (which isn’t listed anywhere I might add), it wasn’t going to go through. Really? So the outward facing consumer is supposed to know CIBC’s internal number’s and processes to send this to the right department? Last I checked an account managers job was to take care of account issues ie: passing along paperwork to the right people internally. But I digress. Silly me, taking care of issues is what happens in healthy relationships…not the one I had been in for 20 years.

So I called the fax number, sent it to TD and they sent the fax off. And we waited.

And CIBC let go of the wrong mortgage. I actually don’t even know how this is possible. All I know is they let go of the wrong one.

Again, luckily, TD was watching my banking and they called CIBC to let them know they discharged the wrong mortgage. And CIBC confirmed they now needed to hold the correct one for 5 days. Seeing as they did it wrong the first time, they just wanted to make sure they rubbed a little salt in my wound.

So I called them and asked them to let go of the mortgage. Of course, again silly me I called the branch who referred me to head office who let me know TD hadn’t sent them the correct paperwork which I knew was wrong. The paperwork was again, sitting at the branch where no one was going to take care of it unless I called to get it faxed to the right number. Customer service at it’s finest eh?

As we sit here today, I doubt CIBC will do anything for another 5 days. It’s not in their nature-customer service is at the bottom of their list.

The best part about this whole thing is while other banks have caught onto social and digital media, CIBC hasn’t (not surprised are you?).  Check out there Twitter feed. It’s alot of one way tweets or tweets about things like the Olympics. They don’t actually build relationship online which shouldn’t shock anyone because they certainly don’t do it in person. While other banks have embraced a new generation of people by hosting Twitter parties or changing their banking hours, CIBC has remained in the dark again.

My favourite part about this post is it will go live today and we won’t hear a peep from CIBC:) Like a good unhealthy relationship, I assume they think if they keep on keepin’ on-things will be fine. What they have managed to miss, in the years they’ve been living under a rock – the world has changed. There’s a whole new customer out there who has net worth and is interested in banking but they want to work with people. They want to work with passionate people who answer their questions and solve problems. Shocking, but in a world that has become more and more digital, they want personalized customer service.

Well done TD. You’ve managed to get it right and I’m in as a customer for life.

This post was in no way sponsored or endorsed by TD or CIBC. These are strictly my own personal views and opinions. 

15 Comments on “Why CIBC Has Missed the Boat With A New Generation”

  1. Rant needs cursing. 😉

    On the real though, I’ve been on the fence about moving some of my accounts to TD (closer branch, better CS from what I’ve heard and now read). This post looks to be my push off the fence.

    1. Please-cursing is not always necessary! I have to say the Customer service at TD is unparalleled. If you can move your accounts, do it!

  2. As a former TD employee, I stand by there being strong reasons why CIBC has held the #5 spot in the top 5 Canadian banks year after year after year. Never advancing, just staying stagnant. I have friends who are former employees, and all they did was complain about how archaic the processes there, and how happy they are to not be there anymore.

    Now that I’m no longer a banker, I miss the client interaction. I was encouraged to build relationships with my clients — I’m working on a post about how my success at TD Canada Trust didn’t come from chasing sales opportunities or being ruthless; it was through building trust with my clientele and actually caring about what they needed!

    TD’s won customer service awards for many years, and it’ll continue to do so. Their focus on capturing a new generation of clientele with incentives, tech savvy and authenticity is going to go a long way.

    Glad to hear that you were able to move out of an abusive banking relationship 😀

    1. Hi Casey- It doesn’t surprise me that you were a TD employee. Engaging, interested in helping other people and good at relationship building. What I don’t understand is how does a bank even operate in this world with bad customer service? I suppose they think they have enough clients but if they’re not attracting any new ones-what are they going to do in future!

  3. Hey Tiffany,
    I’m sorry to hear about your CIBC banking woes. We had similar issues with Bob’s credit cards at Royal.

    I am so glad (and so is he), that we moved everything over to TD. Love them large.

    Christine

    1. Thanks Christine but no apologies necessary. I just couldn’t believe how different the service was when I went to TD. New customer for LIFE!

  4. I wish I had the patience to rehash my horror story at TD. To me RBC was the rescuer and I can’t say enough good things about them.

  5. Your story makes me a feel a little better about my experience.

    I’m an Australian citizen, but I opened a CIBC account when I lived in Canada for a working holiday. Now that I have returned to Australia and received all my tax refunds from the CRA, I am trying to process a wire transfer to CurrencyFair (via Bank of America NA Canada), so I can bring my money home.

    But CIBC is stonewalling me with their rigid policies and poor service. I find it bemusing that I am authorised to login to my account with a single password and send Interac transfers and “pay bills”, but despite phonecalls to the branch manager (with identity test questions) they still can’t authorise a transfer to a separate bank account under my name.

    If they were to call, they would see the credentials on these accounts match and therefore understand that there is no security breach.

    Instead they want to send me international snail mail for me to sign, and have it witnessed by a doctor/judge etc., then snail mail it back. I have not received this for 6 weeks, but when I email to question they just reply back with “so sorry, this is the only way to protect all parties”.

    In the meantime my account leaks account-keeping fees and exchange rates are changing.

    Is there some kind of Ombudsman you recommend I contact to get things moving on this matter? Until reading this I considered going to Twitter or Facebook to publicly document the problems but they are too dinosaur for this it seems.

    1. Andy, I’m so sorry you’re going through this but unfortunately, they really are a dinosaur in communication. I’ll see if I can find a point person for you!

    1. Thanks Tiffany and Firenza!

      Just found out the Ombudsman rep for CIBC – Kimberley McVittie. Let’s see what happens!

  6. I’ve been using the TD for years but recently had reason to open a CIBC account. I was unpleasantly surprised about some things about email transfers which, after calling them about it, I learned are for my own good:

    (1) If I want to use a security question like, “what was the name of your childhood dog”, this won’t work unless the dog’s name was 6 characters long. For example, “rover” won’t work (for your own protection).

    Yet, you can say “what was the name of your childhood dog with ’12” at the end” although I don’t think it will take a question this long.

    To this I say “sigh – with extreme prejudice”.

    (2) You can’t assign a security question/answer to a recipient but, instead, have to enter it over and over again each time you do a transfer.

    Why? Well the lady at CIBC online said that it is dangerous to use the same question/answer over and over again.

    Once again “sigh – with extreme prejudice”.

    The TD, of course, is OK with #1 and #2 but, obviously, they don’t care about our security.

  7. I had $250,000 under management at CIBC. Twice, not once, twice I had gone to the branch to make changes and there was no record of me. I was disconnected completely from my loot. The first time, I was displeased. The second time I was really ticked.
    The staff made me feel like I was a criminal. I kept asking about my accounts and it began to look like they were going to call the police. They said I had to wait till the manager got back from vacation. BOTH times. W.T.H.
    Finally, I decided we had to go. TD could only assume so much of the cost. CIBC was charging us fees out the wazoo. Then a year after it was all moved, suddenly, there was still one of the smaller accounts still there. The idiots wanted $300 to move $2500. Whole Lee MOzus.

    So, I had to send my wife in to withdraw the amount in cash, minus the taxes. We tried to deal with it on the phone, to set things up so that there would be less hassle at the bank. But no. The idiot on the phone treats the husband like a criminal. Always a criminal.
    So, I complained in chat with CIBC. I said that she was coming to the branch and she didn’t want to be told about how she’s going to loose RRSP contribution room. She doesn’t want to hear about yet another stupid product. She just want’s cash. I hope to heck that message got through to the thick skulls at CIBC.

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