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Bank transition hits some bumps

By Staff | Jul 3, 2009

The transition from Riverside Bank of the Gulf Coast to TIB Bank this week was bumpier than expected as numerous customers experienced temporary problems accessing some services.
About 8,000 internet banking customers and 9,200 debit card users were affected when they were unable to use those services as TIB transitioned the former Riverside accounts to their banking system, officials said Thursday.
TIB Bank assumed $317 million in deposits when it took over Riverside Bank of the Gulf Coast when it failed in February, but the transition of accounts to the TIB banking system did not occur until this week.
That transition is ongoing, and some former Riverside customers are still unable to use new debit and ATM cards, which were mailed out to customers three weeks ago.
The phone line set up to assist customers looking to activate their cards was not working Monday morning, and initial attempts to fix the problem were unsuccessful. Online banking customers were also not able to use that service earlier this week, but online services were up and running by late Wednesday afternoon.
“Things seem to be settling down a bit,” said Ed Crann, an executive vice president with TIB Bank. “We’re calling people who haven’t activated their cards or haven’t gotten their PIN numbers.
“We’re being very proactive,” he added.
TIB used another bank, which Crann declined to name, to aid in the transition. He said the third party bank handled the mailing of the letters containing the debit and ATM cards — which did not carry a TIB letterhead or return address — and the phone line activation for the cards.
While the other bank tried to fix the problem, TIB scrambled to explain the situation to its customers, contending with numerous customer service calls and long lines at its former Riverside branches in Cape Coral.
TIB customer Laurie Pesek said she wasn’t able to use the online banking service until Wednesday.
“I think they’re just inundated with phone calls. I think people are experiencing problems with the help number on the Web site,” Pesek said.
Crann said that even though the other bank is responsible for most of the transition errors, any late fees or surcharges resulting from problems with the switch will be taken care of by TIB.
“We’re going to be reversing any fees that come about because of the transition at the bank,” Crann said.
In the meantime, TIB will have a tete-a-tete with the unnamed bank over the situation.
“We’ve been under contract with them for four to five years. We’ve been in constant contact with them this whole time. We’ll have a very tough discussion with them,” Crann said.
Customers should receive letters of explanation from the bank by Monday. In addition, TIB has planned a cookout for customers at former Riverside branches on July 17.
TIB Bank, a subsidiary of TIB Financial Corp., was able to take over Riverside thanks largely to the $37 million its parent company received in Troubled Asset Relief Program, or TARP, funds from the federal government.
TIB branches will be closed today for the Fourth of July weekend holiday.