DeWitt (WSYR-TV) -- It’s been a banking mess for some Central New Yorkers this week, as HSBC Banks became a part of First Niagara.
While customers were assured a seamless transition, some say it’s been far from it. Some customers have reported issues with getting new debit cards to accessing online banking and long wait times.
First Niagara says, overall, this massive transition went incredibly smoothly, considering half a million customers were switched over from HSBC to First Niagara. First Niagara also acknowledges that there are some things that could have been done better.
After getting letter after letter in the mail assuring a smooth transition, bank customer Lisa Stelmack was surprised on Monday when she couldn’t access her online bill pay account through First Niagara.
“I picked up the phone and tried to call them and after a bit of a wait I got through to talk to someone and they told me maybe it will be available tomorrow,” Stelmack said.
After several more phone calls -- every day this week -- all Stelmack got were people reading from a script with little answers. Her emails to First Niagara and even a trip to the Camillus branch to leave her phone number for help were ignored.
"The bill pay is convenient. It's what we expect nowadays to be able to pay our credit cards, our utility bills and the end of the month is coming up when I like to get on and get everything squared away,” Stelmack said. "For them to just ignore us…it doesn't seem like they care about the customer."
First Niagara says their online banking system went down on Monday. They also say new customers looking to make sure their money made it over crowded their branches and phone lines – all as they were trying to acclimate 1,200 new employees brought over from HSBC.
“We had some wait times that were not to our standards. We pride ourselves on being fair and easy and simple for our customers and we’re really looking forward to getting back to our business as usual,” said a representative with First Niagara.
After NewsChannel 9 spoke with Stelmack, she was able to get in touch with someone from First Niagara who is addressing her problems. First Niagara tells us they have resolved their online banking issues and 99 percent of their customers should be able to log on.