The writing was on the wall.  After General Robles retired, USAA started its downhill trajectory.  Under the incompetent leadership of Stuart Parker and, unfortunately, continuing under the leadership of Wayne Peacock, USAA (Federal) Savings Bank is nothing for the military community to be proud of any longer.  The banking leadership at USAA should be ashamed of themselves.

 

It started going downhill years ago.  USAA used to have a dedicated number for deployed members avoiding hold times and the annoying phone menu.  USAA nerfed that and now calling from overseas results in paying international long distance rates and extended hold times.  Regarding hold times, for decades I had never experienced a hold longer than a few minutes.  After the website update fiasco, hold times extended to almost 4 hours and even today can be longer than an hour.  

 

USAA, supposedly dedicated to our nation's military personnel, decided in around 2019 to defraud at least 550 deployed military personnel of their legal rights under the Military Lending Act and the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act.  Yes, USAA was treating US military personnel in an active combat zone like they were worthless.  That's when the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency entered the picture and fined USAA $85 million.  Imagine the irony of defrauding deployed USAA military members and then using their own money to pay the $85 million fine for defrauding them.  

 

Yes, then the website fiasco.  About a month ago USAA decided to "improve" the USAA banking website.  The result was another fiasco showing extreme incompetence on almost every conceivable level.  I'm not sure what other problems the website upgrade caused, but one was the disappearance of the ability to add, manage or delete external accounts.  When calling to inquire, hold times approached 4 hours.  If you did ultimately reach a representative, they themselves couldn't find the proper option to manage external accounts.  Oh, and did I mention that if you were deployed / stationed overseas that 4-hour hold time was at international direct dial rates?

 

Fortuntely after a week or so they did finally fix the website.  Now hold times are *only* about an hour and a half. 

 

Another reason why USAA had to pay the OCC $85 million was because USAA FSB filed to maintain an adequate compliance risk management program.  So how did USAA remedy this deficiency?  Instead of following the letter ad spirit of the law while treating USAA members with fairness and respect, USAA decided on the Gestapo approach.  They went from one extreme to the other.  Many have seen the banking "survey" when you log into your USAA accounts.  You are forced to either answer the survey or get locked out of online access.  

 

To be fair, some of the questions are relevant and in line with what other banks ask their customers.  After asking for your income, USAA then asks for your net worth.  No other bank does that over a deposit account.  Also, net worth is a useless concept and means virtually nothing.  Many people can have an extremely high net worth and have barely food money in their bank account.  A more realistic piece of information would be *liquid* net worth.  And even that isn't necessary.  

 

So what does USAA do when your income is a matter of public record and you have a high net worth?  They give you under two weeks to comply with demands for tax records or face account closure.  I chose the latter.  

 

USAA will lie and state that they need this data to comply with Anti-Money Laundering and Know Your Customer laws.  They do not need it.  If they suspect you are laundering money, they can simply report your actions to FinCEN.  It really is that simple.  FinCEN, subsequently, already has access to your ta and income records and they will determine what problems there are.  USAA, though, wants the information for themselves.  Not only do they want this highly intrusive data, but in the end they will remain it and probably lose it in a data leak sooner or later.  They will probably also use this data for marketing purposes.  

 

Until USAA once again gets leadership like we had with General Robles, I see no hope.  The best option is to give USAA what they deserve -- a Dishonorale Discharge. 

 

 

10 REPLIES

Interesting perspective. I agree, it does seem like the focus is more on the bottom-line vise serving members. Granted, USAA has to stay in the black. But, members should be top priority. Yet, our Country seems to be on a similar path. So, should our society reflect anything different?

USAA takes things to an extreme.

 

I have yet to experience a 4-hour hold when calling any government agency.  If USAA is going to follow government, at least answer the phones promptly.  

I agree. The current wait time is much longer than anything that I have experienced in the past. I am wondering if our COVID-19 response is having an impact? Presently, our Government seems to be striving to increase unemployment instead or reducing it.

You must be confused.

 

Was COVID-19 a factor in USAA seriously abusing 600 deployed military personnel in combat zones by ignoring their rights under the SCRA?  Was the $85,000,000 fine they paid to the OCC for what the OCC themselves termed "serous illegal acts" a COVID-19 fine?

 

Why does COVID-19 impact USAA resulting in 4-hour hold times when Navy Federal Credit Union -- with almost as many members as USAA -- still answer their phones in under 5 minutes?  And they do this 24 hours a day, unlike USAA who nerfed 24/7 phone access.  

 

COVID-19 isn't the issue.  The only issue is exceptionally poor leadership.

I used to sing the praises of USAA but like you stated it has become just another bank. We went with Usaa for a couple mortgages but each time they sold them to incompetent mortgage managers who made life miserable. I used to trust Usaa implicitly but each time they come up with a service it gets sold off. Like some have said we understand the institution must remain solvent but we don’t come here because of low rates it is a trust issue. The trust is all but gone. After 20 years we are bank shopping again. It really hurts to loose trust in an organization that for years we praised and looked to for all our banking needs. Everything we had was with them now just checking, savings and a car loan. It is very depressing.

@mastergunner86, this makes us very sad.  This is not how we want any of our members to feel.  We will be happy to have the appropriate are review your concerns. We appreciate you letting us know what happened.  ~JD

My husband (38 year member) and I started the process of leaving USAA last year once it became clear that the CEO, Wayne Peacock, was taking USAA down the path of so many elitist globalist corporations: embracing "wokeness" and all the intolerance and anit-Americanism organic to that movement, if you want to call it that. Though that was our proximate reason for divesting from USAA, we've been very pleased to discover quite a nice world outside of USAA: better insurance rates (in our case GEICO for home and auto), a return on savings LITERALLY 50 times higher than USAA (USAA 0.01%, Ally Bank 0.5%), and a basic checking account at a local bank. It's so nice, in the rare instance we need to ask them something, an actual person answers the phone after a few rings and actually knows what they are talking about. No more awful computer menus, 20-30 minute wait times while listening to the hideous USAA theme song, feckless customer service reps, and all the failings that have engulfed USAA. They have truly gone from unquestioned honor and integrity to pure shamelessness and greed.

Hello, @pkh. Thank you for your membership. This is very troubling to read. Please, bear with me as I engage the appropriate area for further review and support.  ~ Steven

Engage away.  NOTHING WILL CHANGE.