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Sunday, November 15, 2009

Post #48 - Fifth Third: The Improper Bank 4/30/2009

Dear Fifth Third Bank,

For some time, I’ve been looking for a new financial institution to handle the Herman thousands.

The prior institutions that I dealt with, let’s just say, were “Nincompoops”. Nickel and dime charges for silly things like “inactivity.” I could avoid a penalty by, once every 6 months, deducting one penny. That is idiotic, and moronic, considering that the people paying me to let them watch my money are paying someone else even more to do the same thing.

I have to admit, I’ve been reluctant to begin a financial relationship with your bank. For me, it comes down to one thing: your name. Fifth third is an improper fraction. It is not proper. I vividly remember my 5th grade math teacher administering timed tests—“convert these improper fractions to mixed fractions.”

How can I trust a bank who takes shortcuts with something as important as their name? If you’re already skipping steps before I walk in the front door, how do I know you’re not going “phone it in” on my balance?

“Whoops, sir, looks like we rounded down on that one.”

“Well, it was Seis de Mayo. I was hung over, must have missed that zero.”

“Did I quote you 5 and 3/8ths, Mr. Herman? I really meant 5 and 3/4ths. That’s close enough.”

Can you understand my concern? Can you consider changing your name? Banks change their names all the time anyway.

How about “1 and 2/3rds”? Or, save some paint. Make it 1.7, with the repeat bar over the 7” Let me know what you plan on doing. I have all the application forms, but I’m going to wait until I hear from you.


Response Note from Ben N. at Fifth Third, sent 5/1/2009

Dear Jerry,

Thank you for choosing Fifth Third Bank. In response to your inquiry, we have forwarded your email to our Management Team for further review.

Fifth Third Bank traces its origins to the Bank of the Ohio Valley, which opened its doors in Cincinnati in 1858. In 1871 the Third National Bank purchased that bank. With the turn of the century came the union of the Fifth National Bank and the Third National Bank, and eventually the organization became known as "Fifth Third Bank."

This information and more is available on our website by selecting the "About Fifth Third" tab located in the green toolbar at the top of the page. On the bottom of the page, select the "Arrow" in the "Our History" box.

On behalf of the Bank, please accept my sincere apology for any inconvenience or concern this situation may have caused you.

Fifth Third Bank values your business and appreciates you as a customer. If you need further assistance, please email us 24 hours a day or call a Fifth Third Bank Customer Service Professional at 1-800-972-3030.

Member FDIC, Equal Housing Lender

Thank you,

Ben N.
Fifth Third Internet Banking
May 2, 2009
Dear Ben,

Thank you for your prompt response. I appreciate your sincere apology, and the history of your name.

However, you thanked me for choosing your bank. I think we’re getting ahead of ourselves. Maybe I wasn’t clear—I’m hesitant to join the 5/3rd Flock.

Who were the geniuses that decided to superglue the two names together to create a mathematically incorrect title? More importantly, are these the members of your management team, to whom you are forwarding my note?

Your name implies skipping a step. Skipping a step could mean leaving my safety deposit box unlocked. Skipping a step could mean forgetting to turn on your surveillance cameras on a day when four dudes wearing Golden Girls masks decide to hit your bank. Skipping a step could mean forgetting to give my kids a balloon, adding the quarterly interest to my balance, or refrigerating the mayo used in the egg salad sandwiches on “Egg Salad Sandwich Day”.

All that I am asking is for your management team to consider correcting your name. Make it into a marketing strategy. “One-And-Two-Thirds Bank: It takes a big bank to admit we were wrong, and we still work over 66 percent harder for our customers than the other guy.”

I’m still holding my application until I see progress.


Jerry Herman

May 26, 2009

Dear Fifth Third Ben,

You never responded to my previous inquiries regarding your bank and its name. While you provided a fascinating glimpse into the world of bank mergers and uninspired name changes, I had asked very specific questions. Mainly, as someone looking for a secure place to stash my money, how can I feel safe trusting a bank whose name is the equivalent of a mathematical slang? Fifth Third is an improper fraction, which needs to be converted to a mixed fraction--1 and 2/3rd's. Again, to recap, I stated that your bank's title implies that "it's okay to skip steps." Apparently one of those skipped steps was a response to my concerns.

Much has happened on my end, since my last note. In my job as a minor league umpire, I was unable to call strikes due to a strained muscle in my ribcage. Consequently, I was fired for "walking" everybody. This led me into a very deep depression. As I lined my pockets with raw meat and climbed the wall at the local zoo lion cage, a piece of paper flew past me. I wasn't fully on board with the lion-maul-thing anyway, so I chased the paper, which adhered itself to a boy’s shoe. He walked all around the zoo and stopped for ice cream, where it fell off. The piece of paper was a lottery ticket, which turned out to be a winner. I'm $6.5 million dollars wealthier than I was a week ago.

At this point, my plan is to cash my check at the party store that sold the winning ticket, and give that owner a large gratuity. I intend to write a check to the boy’s parents, to pay for his college. I will make a sizable donation to the zoo, and have the lion’s den named after me. I will then store the money in the safest institution that I know of--my mattress. I'm sure you're over there licking your chops, wondering how you can get me to deposit at 1 and 2/3's, and how you can assess some cool fees and penalties. Well forget all that--YOU showed ME little interest. To quote my high school Spanish teacher, “it takes two to tango, Babycakes”. Two can play that game!

I may reconsider my position, if you decide to change your mind and get off your duffs and answer my questions. Your “Management Team” has been kicking this one around long enough.


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