Customers should not fear bank mergers
This is in response to the letter printed concerning the banking industry and how service has been sacrificed because of acquisitions.
I have been in the banking industry for 20 years and am currently the branch manager of a local office that had its humble beginnings in 1906. We still have our original museum-quality vault and a basement full of "giveaways" with four different bank names on them.
How does an acquisition affect us? Each time we buy a bank or are sold, we are subject to reapplying for our jobs. I have always worked for fair companies that have retained employees and respected skill and position. But we still have to relearn our jobs all over again -- new policies, new procedures, new computer systems. The list goes on and on.
Where does that leave the customers who are totally disgusted with their banks?
Buzz words such as "deregulation" and "acquisition" all mean one thing -- customer retention and customer service. The government has specific policies in place to ensure that the consumer is not at any risk of loss during an acquisition. A stockholder vote will not stop a corporate acquisition but will make customers aware that their bank is changing its name and joining forces with another.
The banking industry distributes information concerning the changes taking place. As a local branch manger, I simply ask you to read what you are sent in the mail. Customers tell me that they never read what was mailed to them or sent in their statements. The world of junk mail is intrusive, but try to take a second to read or become aware of all the hard work that so many banking departments go through to inform you of changes taking place.
A second suggestion is to seek out a banking specialist who will listen to your concerns and be happy to explain what is happening. We (I speak for myself and my peers) do have your best interests in mind and understand that change is not always easy. I'm proud to say that my organization supports an extensive training program for us to learn how to treat our customers as they deserve to be treated. We pride ourselves in being financial specialists.
A simple request for a refunded service charge may seem like a small victory, but I urge all bank customers to discuss changes with their branch personnel and to read information sheets. In our industry, like so many others, change is a constant. But we can all work together to ensure the best quality service.
BETH A. VALERIO
Drug use not wide openat Austintown Fitch
I feel it is my duty to clarify my statements recently printed in The Vindicator on Tuesday, May 2, regarding the arrest of several Austintown Fitch High School students on drug charges.
My statement that "the whole high school arena is wide open," and "there is a shopping list of drugs available" seems to portray that there is an open-air drug market at Fitch High School. That most certainly is not the case, nor was it my intent.
On the contrary, the investigation showed that students are reluctant to bring drugs into the school because of anti drug efforts by the police department and school administration. Those statements were to illustrate that the whole high school social setting is wide open, and that there no longer seem to be defined cliques of "stoners," "jocks" or "preps." As a result of this, those who engage in drug activity have a diverse group of contacts to draw from.
The "shopping list" comment was in reference to the wide variety of both licit and illicit drugs available in society as a whole as evidenced by recent investigations throughout the Mahoning Valley.
These statements were generalizations and were meant to educate parents that drug abuse is not limited to people with long hair and jean jackets and drugs of abuse are not limited to marijuana and cocaine.
I sincerely apologize for any confusion my statements have caused.
Ptl. JEFFREY SOLIC
X The writer is a member of the Problem Oriented Police Unit of the Austintown Township Police District