My husband and I have been loyal USAA members for over 10 years.
While we have many products with USAA, our most recent experience has made us consider switching to a new bank and perhaps pursuing alternate auto, home, umbrella, and other insurance and financial products elsewhere over the course of 2019.
The situation: My husband and I recently established a revocable living trust and requested that our checking and savings accounts be changed into the name of the trust (re-titled to our names as the trustees of our trust). While this took a form and 5 minutes on our part and 3-5 business days to process at other applicable financial institutions (to include our county recorder for our home warranty deed), for USAA it involved the creation of completely new accounts rather than simply changing the name on our existing accounts, online document submittals that apparently went into a black hole, and several phone calls where we were transferred many times and needed to re-explain the situation to 3 people along the way. And let's not forget the abrupt chat sessions. After a month, the accounts were established though we are honestly not motivated to complete the remaining signature cards and W-9 forms (because who knows if those will take another month to process?). We're also uncertain as to whether or not they were set-up correctly and don't see a readily available method for obtaining any confirmations or assurances. The complete lack of communication and customer service on the part of USAA should quite frankly be embarrassing to your leadership. The priorities of leadership should have trust at the top of the list, so a failure by the teams they lead is their failure as they create and dictate the culture of their organization.
In response to your questions:
If you switched to a new bank, what made you do it: While we have not yet switched, if we do, it will be due to the extremely poor communication and customer service by USAA and the applicable departments involved.
What worked: Very little. The accounts would not exist had I not called and made very specific inquiries and requests. Why am I chasing you to take my business? No one contacted me personally during the entire process to inform me of any issues or further required documentation. The impersonal mailed form weeks after the process started which ambiguously referred to something which we had already provided via the online portal was outstanding (that was sarcasm).
What did you do the most/least: We pretty much do everything with USAA from a product and service standpoint, which is what makes this even more frustrating.
What did you like the most/least: What we liked the most about USAA was our understanding of your mission and your support for our men and women in uniform. Both my parents served in the military and that's why I've been a member since the age of 16. I'm no longer confident of your mission or values. My level of trust in your organization is under question right now. Are your values real or just lip service to increase your market share because you're afraid of GEICO? I'm willing to admit some things are my perception and not necessarily reality - maybe these issues have always existed with transactions of higher complexity and I simply was blind to them ... or maybe you are growing too fast and sacrificing service to try to be one of the big guys? What we have liked the least is the reduced quality of service and reduced core competencies displayed by USAA.
Advice: Revisit your trust services bank account process. Also revisit your troubleshooting and customer service resolution process to ensure a part of your retained workforce is capable of handling more complex issues that don't always go perfectly according to plan. You don't have a branch I can walk into to help me, so your online systems, processes and tools (such as internal secure email) need to improve greatly. Literally every other financial institution (AKA all your online bank competitors that also have 24/7 service, excellent secure messaging portals, and much higher interest rates - Capital One, AMEX, Barclays, HSBC, shall I go on?) can simply re-title existing accounts. If I have to move all my direct deposits, bill pay, EFTs, etc over to another account anyway, why not just open an account with another financial institution that also gives me better interest rates in checking and savings? You aren’t the least expensive in services and you aren’t the most competitive with rates, therefore community and loyalty are areas in which you should excel. Please be mindful of that fact in your future organizational planning.
My goal with this post was not to eviscerate any one person or department, but rather to shed light on some of the systemically broken tools and processes we discovered as part of this recent situational journey.
I am sorry you experienced with this process of converting your accounts to the trust. That is not the type of service that we strive to offer. We greatly appreciate the feedback and suggestions you have provided. We will review this further and take your feedback into further consideration. - Jesse
I strongly suggest doing even a cursory search on these forums about USAA banking. Not only has the customer service evaporated in banking and insurance, the financal models are horribly against all members. You can get cheaper insurance almost anywhere, and the banking rates are horrendous at USAA. I moved my money out and I'm very glad I did.
So sorry to hear your experience. We also have Trusts and USAA Trust management is currently in line to be trustee if we are not able to serve as our own trustee. After all I have read recently on this site, we will be changing that immediately. I'm not sure USAA could look after the best interest of our cat, let alone our dependant.
Sad demise of a once great company that put members first.
@2AF Vets, I am sorry to hear you are considering moving your accounts and would like the opportunity to address your concerns. Your post will be sent to the appropriate team for review. Thank you. - Rhonda
I read the post by KTP19 and it was like reliving my own situation. I completed the requested memorandum of trust form to set up my revocable living trust as my paid on death beneficiary and attached my certification of trust to the form. After signing the printed form, we scanned and uploaded the documents to USAA’s black hole “Upload Documents” site. Note that on this page we could not include any notes nor could we see what I had uploaded.
As the other member indicated, USAA does not communicate with its members regarding uploaded documents so it becomes the responsibility of the member to chase the status of these requests. After providing the first round of data, a week later I learned we had to complete a form called the amended signature card. USAA provided the document pre populated with information. We printed, signed, scanned, and uploaded the document as requested. No response. Upon follow-up by member, we learn that USAA put the “wrong” member number on the form so we would have to sign another form. I am not signing another form due to USAA’s error. And how do I know that the new form is accurate? How can I trust the process? Nor has any one of the 18 people I have spoken to been able to explain to me the entire process and why all of these forms are necessary and why all of these numbers are needed for a POD beneficiary.
To complicate matters, I now live overseas and USAA’s processes are so American-centric (call domestic number or chat within US hours). There is no such thing as calling collect from a mobile number. I don’t have easy access to a printer or scanner. USAA needs to rethink its processes. I would definitely leave the bank if I wasn’t currently living overseas. Customer service has severely gone downhill in this area (insurance is still fine) and technology is way behind the times.