I opened my email this morning to find 24 messages from USAA with the ominous heading of BANK ACCOUNT RESTRICTED PENDING INFORMATION. The letters covered all my accounts, more than one identical letter for each account (I don't have 24 accounts). I was told that the restrictions on my accounts included my ability to use my ATM card, online purchases and my debit card and would remain in effect until I provided information about my citizenship, sources of income, net worth, and annual income. The letter actually said if I didn't provide the information within 10 days my accounts would be closed, credit cards cancelled and a check for the balance mailed to the residence on file.
I have been with USAA since the 1970's. I am not in the process of getting a loan or credit. I have never been asked for this information before from any bank (except when applying for a mortgage). This was just out of the blue. I thought is was some scam at first and logged on to my account, but no... those letters were all there in my official USAA message box.
I was instructed to log on to my USAA account and click on the arrow next to my name, choose "Checking/Savings" and add the information. There is no such menu item.
I called USAA, listened to several minutes of apology messeges and tried to get the automated operater to connect me to a representative. The bot was not going to understand this problem. I told it "banking", listened to more messages about how helpful the online experience could be and finally was allowed to speak to a person. Established I was really me, explained my problem, was put on hold, was disconnected. Twice.
The third time I explained the problem I refused to go on hold and requested the agent just look into the issue and call me back. She did not have that capability. I asked for management. I talked to a nice lady who was absolutely no help. She didn't think it was odd that USAA had restricted my accounts for no reason and sent me a multitude of identical letters. She didn't think that asking me to give her my net worth and annual income when I was not applying for a loan was unusual or intrusive. She didn't understand the issue with the missing menu item. I finally hung up.
After doing some other stuff at my desk (and trying not to simmer) I noticed a new email and a new USAA message, but this one had a different phone number. I called it. It was some obscure (by their own admission) office of compliance or something like that. They were auditing accounts and filling in the blanks, sending out messages for information. She didn't think is was odd that my accounts had been suddenly restricted and threateded with closure. I told her about the missing menu item and suggested that if they were doing this to all USAA accounts there would be a problem. She agreed and apologized, but it wasn't her fault. She offered to take the missing information on the phone. The questions had to do with how much did I plan to deposit and withdraw monthly, would I wire money, how much, how often, where to, where from - from each of my accounts. All I could do is guess about some of them. At no point was I asked about my citizenship, net worth or annual income. The "source of funds" question was to choose salary or inheritance.
I thought the whole thing was strange. Why all the different letters for one issue? Why can't we bypass the answering machine bot when we know it cannot answer our question no matter how many layers of irrelevant choices we make. Why immediately, without notice restricting the accounts? Why describe the information wanted in such intrusive terms when that really wasn't what they wanted? Why roll out this program which will potentially affect thousands of members without vetting your web page to see if your recommended course of action is actually possible? Why is the letter so unnecessarily punitive and threatening? Why is the number listed to call on the initial messages just the general USAA switchboard number instead of the office that wants the information? Why do the support people know nothing about this when we call? Why does everone at USAA apologize so much for stuff that is not their fault? Are they all from Canada? Can we make every executive at USAA spend an hour a day listening to their annoying "dum-dum-dum-daddadum U S A A" jingle while on hold?
I still love USAA insurance, but banking? Come on - get it together. Five stars for insurance, no stars for banking.
I'm sorry to hear of the difficulty you've experienced with the gathering of the additional information that's needed, @Only Letters Numbers. This certainly isn't intended to be hard or intrusive, but simply to comply with the US Patriot Act's regulations. I will be sure to forward your feedback on this process to the business team that handles this area. We are always looking for ways to improve our service, and this feedback will definitely assist us with that. I hope that future business dealings will restore your confidence in us. - Cathleen
Read the letter. You sent a punitive and threatening letter. 24 of them. If you do not intend to send a threatening letter don't send a letter with threats in it. That seems incredibly simple. And don't take punitive action without notice. Don't say it wasn't your "intention". Intention be damned - it was what you actually did.
@USAA - Just out of curiousity is all of the information that USAA is asking for absolutely REQUIRED by the Patriot Act? Our family has opened accounts recently at other financial institutions and we have met the Patriot Act requirements. We have not had to answer the instrusive questions that members are mentioning that they are supposed to be answering for USAA. Perhaps USAA could distinguish what information is absolutely required for the Patriot Act and what information is just informational for the benefit of USAA only.
THIS GETS EVEN STRANGER: The 24 messages in my web mailbox were dated 15 June. Today, 22 June, I received ten letters in the mail. All dated 15 June as well. There are five identical letters for my savings account and five more identical letters for the checking account. In these letters USAA asks for some missing information on my accounts even though I have had those accounts since the 1970's. The letters were sent to a prior address even though our new address is the one in my profile. Then, THE SAME DAY, they posted the 24 electronic messages described above in my mailbox telling me that since I had not responded to their request for information, which they sent by regular postage that day, my accounts were frozen and if I had not responded by the 28th of June the accounts would be closed and the balance mailed to me.
Just to be clear... USAA sent me some letters by regular mail asking for information and then that same day froze my accounts because I had not responded... to letters that had been mailed that day.
I would really like to hear an explanation. The "sorry for your inconvenience" boilerplate doesn't cut it. What the heck is going on? Has anyone else had this problem? We are trusting you with our savings and finances. Can you set my mind at ease that the bank is being run by real people?
@Only Letters Numbers, I can see that something is not happening as it should with the notifications. We have previously forwarded the details of your post and I will do the same. When we forward your post for review, it is reviewed as a complaint and escalated. Reaching out to us in this channel was the right call. The original post in regards to service received and the experience of calling will all be noted. Thank you for using the Member Community to bring this to our awareness. ~ Suzy
Finally heard back. Form letter for each account (only one letter each). Mistakes were made. We aren't going to shut your account down. Oops. Sorry.
Still it's worrysome. I mean, they have my savings.