We should have learned to Never Trust Sun Trust Bank long ago, after our bank accounts at our neighborhood Mountain State Bank in North Georgia became Sun Trust accounts when our local bank was bought out by the banking giant. We went to Europe as usual that Summer, but before leaving were assured by those "good Sun Trust bankers" that our debit cards and all other Mountain State Bank account numbers would continue to work indefinitely. It wasn't until reaching Europe that we discovered that nothing left over from Mountain State still worked, and we were left without access to our funds. Sun Trust did a pretty good job of spoiling our Summer finances by lying to us -- on top of which, our new checks which we had arranged to be sent to our local bank, to be held for our return, were instead returned and then destroyed. It seems there was a "communications breakdown" within our former local bank, once it became a Sun Trust branch. Shame!
When Sun Trust failed to make amends for all of these lies and mistakes, we determined to close our accounts there. But wait, there's more: after picking up a small check for the balance of our checking account, the local Sun Trust staff demanded that I give them a "thumb print" to prove I was entitled to cash that check -- AS I WAS NO LONGER A CUSTOMER! That was thirty seconds after I had been a customer, having just closed my account -- and they knew me! I was so surprised that I did give them the thumb print, but after thinking about the indignity and impropriety of having to do that, I contacted the Sun Trust top corporate management demanding to know what was being done with my thumb print, and demanding confirmation that it was being deleted from their records and destroyed. There was no explanation forthcoming, nor any agreement to destroy my thumb print--guess that's just how former customers are treated at Sun Trust Bank. Shame, again!
But wait, there's even more: A couple of years later, one of my finance students asked me about the procedure for getting a loan modification of the student's Sun Trust mortgages, to make monthly loan costs more affordable. When I was shown the records, I discovered that this student did not know the two Sun Trust mortgage payments were interest-only -- and the actual loans would never be paid off! Apparently, the Sun Trust loan officer involved had not bothered to make that "little detail" clear. Not only that -- the mortgage interest rates involved were way over market rates. I urged my student to find another lender, as Sun Trust once more proved to be untrustworthy. Shame, once more!
Now, fast forward to the present: we were attending a local festival in our home town, resulting in tight parking, and our old (once Mountain State Bank) Sun Trust office was the only bank within convenient walking distance. So, it was convenient to make a small Sun Trust ATM withdrawal from one of our present banks, to use at the festival. But upon starting to make that ATM withdrawal, I got a screen telling me that Sun Trust was going to charge me $2.95 for the privilege of getting my money through their ATM. Of course, the transaction cost Sun Trust nothing, as it was fully automatic -- and, of course, this was the highest ATM fee I have ever, ever encountered, either in North America or in Europe. Sun Trust strikes again! I should have recalled that this greedy bank was among those trying to impose debit card usage fees on their own customers a couple of years ago, in order to gouge those customers unconscionably.
What next: will Sun Trust demand a thumb print in order to use their ATM, and then charge the user for providing it? Shame, one final time! America's great balladeer, Woody Guthrie, used to say that he did not know which was the greater crime: to rob a bank, or to own one. Sun Trust Bank of Georgia illustrates Woody's point very well.
Eugene Elander has been a progressive social and political activist for decades. As an author, he won the Young Poets Award at 16 from the Dayton Poets Guild for his poem, The Vision. He was chosen Poet Laureate of (more...)