Worst Bank Merger Ever – M&T Bank and People’s United – Nothing Works, and You Can’t Reach a Bank Rep

Customers of People’s United Bank are furious over the horrendous outcome of their merger with M&T Bank.  It’s not like the banks didn’t have enough time to plan the merger.  M&T Bank completed the acquisition of People’s United on April 1, 2022 – a full six months ago.

Vermont Biz


M&T Bank Corporation (NYSE: MTB) announced Saturday the successful completion of M&T’s acquisition of People’s United Financial, Inc. (NASDAQ: PBCT) valued at $8.3 billion. The combined company employs more than 22,000 people and has a network of over 1,000 branches and 2,200 ATMs that span 12 states from Maine to Virginia and Washington, DC.  People’s United common stock no longer trades on the NASDAQ after Friday, April 1, 2022.

The combined banks have assets of around $200 billion which puts them in the mid-size systematically unimportant category in the banking industry.

Whoever was responsible for the integration of systems between the two banks should be promptly fired.  The disaster that People’s United customers are enduring has to make customers wonder if they should just move their business to a new bank.

The problems have been so profound that the local news media has made it headline news.

Former People’s customers face long wait for service as M&T Bank takes over accounts

Luis Malave, 30, of Bridgeport, stopped by an M&T branch on Boston Avenue Wednesday to clear up an online banking issue with a deposit, only to encounter long lines of customers.

Malave ended up using an ATM inside the branch “just to save myself some time.”

“Today it’s really long,” Malave said, estimating that there were 15 people in line ahead of him.

Mike Keegan, M&T Bank’s executive vice president and head of community banking, said the company prepared almost 800 employees to answer questions from consumers. He said he is aware of customers experiencing long call wait times, which he called unacceptable.

“It’s not the customer service level we want to have or will have, but we’re getting there,” Keegan said. “It’s just unprecedented volume because change is happening, and people want to make sure that they’re comfortable with what’s going on.”

Note to Mike Keegan – the 800 employees were obviously not enough and it’s not that people are “uncomfortable” with the merger – it’s the fact that People’s customers can’t access their accounts.  M&T Bank sent People’s United customers numerous letters about the coming bank merger – the stack that I received was over an inch thick and I only have two accounts at People’s.  The messaging was overkill and totally confusing.  The M&T online and mobile web sites are obtuse and uniquely user unfriendly.

Most of the so-called help lines M&T set up have banking hours – sorry don’t call us past 5PM.  On September13, a full seven days after this misfire merger, the wait time for customer service is still two to three hours.  Is it just me or is it idiotic not to be able to leave a number and have a rep call back at their own convenience??

Naugatuck resident Mark Gillis, 66, told Hearst Connecticut Media that he is unable to log into his new personal and business M&T accounts. When he tried to log into his personal account, the system said that the username he typed didn’t match the Social Security number for his account, he said.

“I called the number that they had listed as if you’re having a problem with the personal accounts,” Gillis said. “I was told that it was a wait time of 25 minutes, or I could hold or I could ask for a callback, which I did.”

Over 30 hours later, he still hadn’t received that callback as of Wednesday evening.

The staff at People’s seemed equally frustrated.  Two days after the merger was completed a bank rep was unable to give me any information about my mortgage.  This is totally unacceptable and there is obviously a very serious problem with the inept and poorly done systems integration between the two banks.

This from the Hartford Courant.

M&T Bank after tumultuous first week since People’s United account merger: ‘We know we have some work to do’

“We want to make sure any disenfranchised customer gets a full acknowledgement of what we put them through, and get back on track and that we have a long-term relationship with them,” Mike Keegan, executive vice president and head of M&T’s community markets, said.

“I want people to know that when we don’t get it right, we will get it right,” Keegan said. “We know we have some work to do, and we will get it right.”

Note to banker Keegan – time is money as you may know.  Your reps get paid to talk to us, but customers are losing millions of hours of time and frustration is not good for anyone’s health.  At a minimum every People’s United customer should be compensated with a “goodwill” check for at least $1,000 or something else of equal value.  In addition, it is ridiculous not to “get it right” the first time – you are dealing with money entrusted to you by longtime customers.  I would not be surprised to see a massive exodus of customers from People’s United which was once a bank with distinguished customer service and a long history in Connecticut and other states.

In any banking merger, the combination of accounts — and how it unfolds — can leave a powerful first impression.

The day after the holiday weekend, social media lit up with complaints and lines formed in branches with customers, many of them not able to get into their accounts.

“Some of these things are just not obvious when you’re doing the [planning] even when you are doing mock conversions,” Keegan said.

Wait times for questions on digital banking on M&T’s customer service line were averaging about 2 hours Tuesday, down from 3-plus hours a week ago, according to a bank spokesman.

Note to Banker Keegan – all of the numerous issues and screw ups customers have had to endure should have been obvious.  You act like you never ran a bank before the merger.  Mergers are complicated but you had many months to get it right – the results exude a level of incomprehensible incompetence.  We want results not dumb excuses.

Not only are things a complete mess almost two weeks after the merger but all People’s customers were cut off from online and branch services from September 2 to September 6.  For the many people who do all of their banking online this was a major problem compounded by the ensuing mountain of issues arising after the transition to one bank.

Just a small list of issues customers have been facing:

  • Passwords that don’t work
  • Online bill payments nonfunctional – “you are not authorized to make payments” but no explanation as to why or how to fix it
  • Mobile banking app is in unreadable micro print on IOS and extremely user unfriendly and confusing
  • Customer service still ridiculous – I have been on the phone now for over two hours! (UPDATE – I FINALLY GOT TO A REP AFTER WAITING 4 HOUR AND 15 MINUTES.  I casually mentioned to the rep that I did not think the merger and system update was going smoothly and she told me in a hostile tone that the merger was “going very smoothly” Wow – at least own your problems when you cause them!) “Thank your for your patience.  Our representatives are helping other customers.”  M&T has 22,000 employees! Where are they? – it should be all hands-on deck and 24-hour service, not banking hours.
  • Excessive monthly fees including a huge $25 monthly “maintenance charge” to have a checking account unless you keep $7,500 in the bank collecting zero interest.  This type of fee basically tells low income or financially stressed people to get lost.
  • Bill payment history has been deleted so you no longer have a record of how much or when you made payments to your credit card company, mortgage, etc etc.

M&T has given former People’s United customers powerful and numerous reasons to take their business elsewhere and I have no doubt customers will leave in droves.  The relevant banking regulators should take a close look at this merger mess and levy appropriate penalties under the law of common sense.