BBVA Compass Fails to Dispute, Much the Less Remedy, Retaliatory Swatting, Disclosure of Confidential Information, and Reckless Treatment of Elderly Customer

Readers may recall that a week and a half ago, we published letters by my now 92 year old mother, Marian Webber, objecting to the appalling conduct of her bank, BBVA Compass,1 which had called out a state agency on her on fabricated grounds.

Two phone calls by a junior BBVA Compass “client care analyst” Holly F failed to address the heavy-handed retaliation of the “Vice President and Branch Retail Executive” Jarred Edwards.2 Mrs. Webber asked me to participate both times and I itemized specific abuses on the second call. Note that the certified letters sent November 27 which precipitated these calls put the misconduct front and center.

Both calls were patronizing, demonstrated a lack of preparation and understanding of Mrs. Webber’s issues applicable law, and also included fundamental misrepresentations.

Also bear in mind that if a bank denies a customer’s written request, it is required to provide a written response citing specific provisions of statute, regulations, and/or customer contracts that demonstrate why the bank is unable to comply with the customer’s request. So by phoning instead of providing the overdue written response, BBVA Compass used a procedurally non-compliant approach to repeatedly push for take action that contradicts the advice of counsel. On top of that, that pressure represents injurious interference in a contract, as explained below.

By not making a serious investigation of Mr. Edwards’ conduct or distancing itself in any way from his actions, BBVA Compass is making itself legally liable for them. The concept in law is “adoptive admission”: when a party remains silent when it would be expected to make a denial if it didn’t engage in the conduct at issue. Even worse, BBVA Compass’ silence could be interpreted that it is the bank’s official policy to make false reports to government agencies against customers that ask for accommodations under the Americans With Disabilities Act.

As a result, Mrs. Webber has found it necessary to send yet another letter to BBVA Compass executives, and a scrubbed version is embedded at the end of the post. You can find the earlier letters here.

The BBVA Compass representative, Ms. F3 , presented her second call last Monday as a summary of a letter that the bank would be sending. If the letter were complete or near complete, which is the impression she conveyed, it should have arrived by now. So we will have a follow-up post if and when we receive this missive.

BBVA Compass Has Neither Disputed Nor Addressed Its Abusive and Reckless Conduct

Bear in mind that these actions were taken by a vice president, which in American banks means he has the authority to act on behalf of the bank. The key elements of the bank’s breathtaking abuses:

Filing a false report with a state protective agency as retaliation.. An officer with the Alabama Human Resources & Civil Rights Department, paid an unscheduled visit to Mrs. Webber, stating a report had been filed by her bank and involved a checking account. The visit was to assess her competence. The officer said after a short conversation that she would be closing the file. She also confirmed that her agency gets many false filings from people seeking revenge.

The report can only have come from Jarred Edwards, the manager of her local, two-teller branch.

In November, Mrs. Webber had had several heated discussions with the new manager Mr. Edwards on the phone about his ending her check-cashing arrangements and offering only recklessly incompetent alternatives (more on that shortly). She did succeed in pressuring him to cash a check one more time.

Mrs. Webber sent a certified letters, first giving written instructions and later documenting Mr. Edwards’ reckless advice. It appear that commemorating Mr. Edwards’ unprofessional conduct and appalling advice was what triggered his campaign to harass and intimidate Mrs. Webber.

Note that BBVA Compass has not denied that as an official act of the bank, it called the state out on Mrs. Webber on utterly fabricated grounds.4 Since the state official also said the examination was about Mrs. Webber checking account. Mr. Edwards also disclosed confidential customer information.

Making incompetent, reckless recommendations and browbeating the customer for correctly rejecting them. Mrs. Webber, who seldom leaves the house because she no longer drives, has great difficulty walking, and is a fall risk, had had home health care aides cash checks that she had made out to herself and then endorsed. Mr. Edwards ended that practice even though the home health care aide urged him to call Mrs. Webber if he was concerned about her authorization.5

Mr. Edwards made irresponsible suggestions, calling into question his competence:

Putting the home health care aide on Mrs. Webber’s bank account.

Having Mrs. Webber get a debit/ATM card and letting the home health care aide(s) use it. Not only would this expose Mrs. Webber to have her entire account drained, but Mr. Edwards was also violating BBVA Compass’ agreement with Visa. He may also have been trying to induce Mrs. Webber to breach the Visa rules to create a pretext for closing her account.

Having Mrs. Webber make checks out to the home health care aides. This is even more risky than having them cash endorsed checks, since the aide would have the legal right to the funds and could contest any claims of misappropriation. And as Mr. Edwards was repeatedly told, this would violate Mrs. Webber’s contract with home health care aide agency and create IRS issues.

Obtusely refusing to implement a simple and reasonable customer instruction. Mrs. Webber came up with a way to satisfy the bank’s stated concern, that they didn’t want to be handing out money to any Tom, Dick, and Harry (or Holly) that showed up with one of her endorsed checks. Per last week’s call with Ms. F, BBVA Compass has not considered this in a good faith manner, since Ms. F grossly misrepresented the instructions. In addition, it appears that BBVA Compass is unwilling or unable to meet its legal requirement of documenting why it cannot implement her instructions.

Other bankers that we and our readers have contacted about this situation are gobsmacked about the swatting by a manager, since it strongly suggests they have a rogue employee. They are also puzzled at BBVA Compass’ dogged refusal to implement Mrs. Webber’s instructions, since they agree that they are sound and would not be burdensome to implement in a small branch.

BBVA Compass Continues to Behave in an Incompetent and Irresponsible Manner

BBVA Compass swatted Mrs. Webber on Monday, November 25. Early in the morning of Wednesday, November 27, she e-mailed her latest letter about the swatting and Mr. Edwards’ other misdeeds to the head of PR, Ed Bilek, as the only e-mail address she had been able to locate. She alerted him she’d been unable to persuade me not to post on her letters, which went to Mr. Bilek and three other executives, including the general counsel. My post did go up that morning.

BBVA Compass has not covered itself in glory with its responses.

Ms. F called on behalf of the bank midday, the same day the post and e-mail went out. It would be impossible for anyone senior to have considered the case seriously in just a couple of hours.6

Mrs. Webber called by later in the day when I could participate. Ms. F represented herself as the most senior client escalation level at BBVA Compass. Not only is that not consistent with her title, Client Care Analyst, but I called her out on that. Anyone who has any sophistication knows that call center staffers are the first, not the last line of defense.

It was not even clear what Ms. F was attempting to accomplish on the call. She clearly had not read the letters, nor did she do an even remotely competent job of trying to find out what the problem was.7 She kept falling back on junior person blather: “I understand your frustration and we are working toward a resolution.”

She did not once address Edwards’ wide-ranging misconduct. She seemed to regard her job as to tell Mrs. Webber that she could not have endorsed checks cashed in the branch because it violated bank policy.

I told her the bank’s policy was not complaint with the Uniform Commercial Code, which governs because Alabama has adopted the Uniform Commercial Code and her bank is an Alabama state-chartered bank. The bank needed to demonstrate that there was a conflicting statute that overrode the Uniform Commercial Code. Ms. F was incapable of doing anything more than repeating the point that had already been refuted.

I said Mrs. Webber needed an accommodation under the Americans with Disabilities Act.

Ms. F said BBVA Compass couldn’t do that as if it were an operational issue.

I said that was nonsense, the branch had been cashing her checks as recently as last month (actually, earlier that month).

She more or less repeated that line.

I said I had worked with large banks all over the world, that banks make customer accommodations all the time.

Mrs. Webber got angry and said, “Why are you defending Jarred? I’m the customer. He’s stupid, rude, and incompetent. I want him fired.” I said it was obvious she had not read the letters Mrs. Webber had sent and that this was disrespectful.

Ms. F insisted she would call back Friday.

Mrs. Webber later left a message on Ms. F’s voicemail instructing her not to call back until she had obtained all the letters from the CEO for the Birmingham market, Andrea Smith, and had read them.

Mrs. Webber called back on Monday. Mrs. Webber returned the call on a recorded line and asked me to participate.

Ms. F claimed she had read all the letters, and I failed to grill her specifically, but as you’ll see, she almost immediately made clear that that was false.

Ms. F also claimed the letters had been reviewed by BBVA Compass management and legal counsel. She then acted as if she was summarizing what BBVA would be saying formally and immediately misrepresented what Mrs. Webber’s letters to the bank clearly stated.

Ms. F said the bank was unwilling to let “individuals” cash checks that Mrs. Webber had made to herself and endorsed. I interjected, stating it was clear she hadn’t read the letters, that they instructed the bank to allow only one designated person to cash her checks who would present government ID with a photo and date of birth so the bank could verify the identity.

I then said:

The letters raised many other issues.

What are you going to do about the fact that Jarred Edwards swatted my mother, called a state agency on her on false pretenses?

What are you going to do about the fact that he gave advice that was reckless, of having her put home health care aides on her checking account?

What are you going to do about the fact that he proposed that they use her Visa card…her ATM card [BBVA Compass uses Visa debit cards as ATM cards], get an ATM card and let them use it, which would be a violation of your Visa agreement and let you cancel her account?

Are you going to do anything about that? She raised a number of issues in her letter.

Ms. F then claimed that BBVA management and legal counsel reviewed “all of this”. So they officially own Mr. Edwards’ appalling conduct and refuse to do anything about it.

The only justification she gave for her assertion that the bank was “not able” to cash the checks was that it represented too much risk to Mrs. Webber and the bank.

I said that was absurd, the bank had been cashing her checks, her proposal was less risky than the bank’s dangerous advice that she put home health care aides on her checking account, and that by giving the bank written instructions, she was clearly and knowingly assuming any risk, ending any exposure by the bank. Ms. F later tried invoking policy, and I said that didn’t cut it, banks had all sorts of policies that had been found to be illegal, like Wells Fargo charging impermissible fees to customers, which got it fined. The Uniform Commercial Code specifically allows for negotiable instruments to be endorsed and transferred. The bank needed to cite either provisions of law or its own Terms and Conditions. She completely ignored that and talked over me.

She then twice tried to press me to exercise the financial power of attorney Mrs. Webber has prepared in my name. I said neither of us was willing to do that. She is still clearly capable of managing her affairs. I am the executor of her estate and I do not want to be in the position of being able to be depicted as looting her assets, and my lawyer has advised me not to do so.

Ms. F kept talking past me. It was clear she had no intention of listening. Even though she’d been told “no” about the power of attorney, she kept nattering on about it. I cut her off, and told her the bank’s position was absurd, she was not “here to assist you” but taking a customer-hostile position, and it was insulting to have such a junior person calling after the bank had swatted Mrs. Webber. I told her we’d be taking this up in the press and with the head office in Spain and ended the call.

Also note that the bank pressing me to activate a power of attorney for its administrative convenience would be illegal in some jurisdictions. A district attorney is introducing me the elder abuse experts at the Department of Justice, so I should be able to find out how to nail down this question.

At a minimum, my attorney and another legal expert have confirmed that the BBVA’s pressure to exercise the power of attorney constitutes injurious interference in a contract.

Compass was once a decent bank. BBVA appears determined to run it into the ground by hiring incompetents (or worse, in the case of Edwards) and putting them in customer-facing positions where their poor skills are on display.

And if you argue that Mrs. Webber should leave BBVA Compass, theory and practice are two different things. I suggest you read Clive’s comment on captive customers. If more people don’t make a stink about this sort of appalling conduct, it’s going to become the new normal.


1 We are referring to the bank as “BBVA Compass” even though BBVA (the parent in Spain) announced its global rebranding of all local operations to “BBVA” because the bank is going about the BBVA Compass rebranding in a very half-hearted manner. Branches in the area still have “BBVA Compass” signs. The caller ID for the self-depicted-as-senior customer escalation representative, Ms. F, is merely “Compass”.

2 We have Mr. Edwards’ first name as “Jarred” as written by by a branch employee and spelled back letter by letter. If we have it wrong, it is because Mr. Edwards’ subordinates are not able to spell his name correctly.

3 IHolly F attended Mesa Community College. She studied Clinical Nutrition/Nutrition. She does not list having attained any degree. However, she have a Certificate in Biblical Studies. Her only work experience is at BBVA Compass, which explains why she knows so little about banking. Her language skills are the worst I have encountered in any US-based financial services firm call center representative.

4 If Mrs. Webber is incompetent, so is Mr. Edwards, since she bested him in an argument. In addition, she also sent three well-written letters by certified mail, at least two of which had arrived before he swatted her.

5 Some readers, like Mr. Edwards and BBVA Compass, have jumped to conclusions and argued Mrs. Webber was taking undue risk with her old arrangement. They failed to make sufficient inquires:

1. Mrs. Webber keeps her checkbook under her control, so only a single check amount at a time is at issue

2. The home health care aides all are employed by an agency and are bonded

3. The aides bring the cash back the same day they receive the check to Mrs. Webber, who counts it when she gets it to make sure the amount and the mix of bills is correct (she also sends a note to the teller listing how much of each denomination she wants, since she uses a lot of $5s and $10s for tips the few times she does go out)

4. If Mrs. Webber were shortchanged, her first call would be to the police and the second to the agency. And Mountain Brook is tiny (this is the sort of place where the police shut most of the streets in one of the shopping areas and redirect traffic on Halloween for Trick or Treat). Rest assured the cops would be there is a half hour max, more likely ten minutes

6 Mind you, a low content-to-reassurance call early on would have been a smart move, making non-committal noises about understanding that these were serious concerns and BBVA Compass was looking into them. But this call was not that.

7 This is my professional opinion based on over 20 years of information-gathering as a consultant. Our best guess is that Mr. Edwards got wind that he was in hot water, either by the PR person or someone internally alerting him, and he is senior enough to get Ms. F on the case with a self-serving and incomplete brief.

00 BBVA Compass December 9 scrubbed
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  1. vlade

    This is gobsmacking.

    Did you record the calls (I recall you implying the US banks don’t record the calls, but also someone in the comments mentioning that Alabama is one-party consent state so you can do it legally)?

    I do wonder what they would do if you say’d “this call is being recorded”. If they drop it, they have no choice but contact you via post. If not, this would be a prime stuff for a civil case (breach of contract).

    That said, I believe your mother should seriously start looking at another bank. I realise the switch is very hard, but when you take a warpath with the branch, the unless you win totally (i.e. the guy is done for, and fired), they have tons of ways how to make your mother’s banking life miserable.

    1. Yves Smith Post author

      I did not want to belabor the point in an already long-ish point, but thanks for asking.

      Ms. F called and left a message. My mother called back on a recorded line and left a message. Ms. F called and was told my mother would call back on a recorded line.

      This is a indeed a “one party” state so we did not have to inform her.

      This is a two person branch and Birmingham (admittedly one of their biggest markets) has five hundred branches. An ex-BBVA Compass employee thought the manager must be a new college graduate (having seen him once, he’s older) but that indicates how junior you can be and run a small branch.

      This has to be resolved at a more senior level of the bank, and a branch manager could not override that.

  2. inode_buddha

    You have got to be kidding me. I’m so sorry anyone has to go thru this. I hope you end up owning the bank when this is done — with sufficient lawyer, it is possible.

    P.S. This is why my elderly dad and I share the same local credit union…. after 40 years, they are like another family to him.
    And I’m the executor.

    1. Clive

      I wish I could say that approach (which I also tried — moving my own account to where my mother-in-law banks) was especially effective. She is with HSBC, so I moved my account to them, just so I could get familiarity with how they operate (in order to help out with the inevitable problems you get with pretty much any bank these days).

      I made it very clear I would be taking a hands-on approach to watching out for my mother-in-law and that I knew the industry, and how it operates, like the back of my hand. This, unfortunately, did not stop the branch staff where my mother-in-law has her account, from stitching her up with a “financial review” with the Wealth Management salesman despite my insistence I be present for any such portfolio management meetings (they hoodwinked my mother-in-law, which unfortunately isn’t hard to do, once you win her trust, she’s from that sort of lost-innocence generation) and got her to move to a — what was clear to me from the moment I saw it — stuffee sinkhole of a product comprising absolute garbage (high-yield commercial paper with some dumb-ass hedging). It was completely unsuitable for her risk tolerance, but they got her to loosen up her declared risk aversion from “very risk averse” to a minor-sounding but crucial change to a “balanced approach” to investment risk.

      They then bounced her into signing up.

      By pure luck, this was in 2008, the central banks moved collectively to put a floor under just this kind of junk. The salesman (and the bank’s product designers) had no way of knowing this — the product was clearly intended to dump a load of crap on unsuspecting retail customers, as was the sales technique employed. So my mother-in-law avoided a catastrophic capital loss. But as I say, this was down to a set of circumstances which no-one could have foretold. It could just as easily gone the other way. The product was in no way suitable for her nor any retail customer.

      See below for why, in my situation (and my mother-in-law’s), changing to another financial services provider is just not that easy. Plus, in her location (outside a large conurbation, she lives in a small town) the nearest credit union is a 20 mile drive away. For a lady who thinks driving 5 miles to a shopping mall is a fairly big deal, this is never going to work.

      The conclusion I’d like to make is that, when you’re dealing with older people, it’s very hard to define hard-and-fast solutions that are valid for everyone. I wish things were different, but wishing doesn’t change people who have reached a time of life where change doesn’t come easy.

      1. inode_buddha

        So far, its working out well for myself and my dad, but his arrangement is a bit different to yours. He began with Vanguard index funds back in the 1980’s to manage his retirement — hasn’t changed it since. They deposit into his checking at the credit union every month. He has no other paper extant, nor loans; he does have his Amex
        Gold card which he pays off religiously every month. The only other plastic he uses is the debit card from the credit union, for incidentals. Otherwise, everything is via check, with carbon copies. Being he is on a first-name basis with the credit union has helped immensely since he has been going there since 1980. If there is any dispute regarding bill payment, the credit union goes to bat for him. And so far, they have held to their terms and conditions, exactly as stated. I am happy with it.

  3. Jesper

    If I were to guess then BBVA finds dealing with cheques costly and therefore corporate has probably encouraged branches to encourage customers to stop using cheques (make it difficult/impractical to use cheques). The branch manager stepped out of line, what I expect might happen is that they’ll do what huge businesses do when small customers complain – nothing and wait until the customer either goes to the regulator (who might not want to do anything and then the regulator has to be chased) or gives up and goes to another supplier.

    I have the impression that prestige is now involved so I doubt that the bank and its representatives will change behaviour before the regulator has stepped in and even then there is no certainty that they’ll do much.
    I’ve asked the Irish regulator for help once, the regulator did nothing until I chased them. The end result for me was that after I chased the regulator then the regulator chased the company only then did the company in the wrong fix the problem and told me: We’re sorry that you feel you’re being inconvenienced.
    It was among the worst ‘apologies’ that I’ve ever heard but after six months then I had used a lot of time and energy, the problem was fixed and I decided that continuing the fight was not worth it.

    In this case then it might be worth considering what is least bad:
    1. Fight, win and get the wished for outcome
    2. Go through the hassle of changing banks (if possible)
    It is not for me (or anyone else) to say which is the best option. Both options look to be both time and energy consuming, neither is guaranteed success as other banks might, in this zero-interest world of huge oligarchic banks, not be willing to provide the requested service.

    1. Yves Smith Post author

      No, there is no evidence the bank is trying to discourage the use of checks. And I don’t see how you can, most business is conducted by check. You’d lose lucrative business customers.

      This looks to be entirely about a new branch manager deciding to exercise what little authority he has. Every time the home health care aide (who is an accurate reporter), my mother, or I dealt with him, we all found him to be exceptionally aggressive and “speedy” even by New York standards. He grilled both the home health care aide and me on who cashed my mother’s checks, which was out of line. When the home health care aide said one was a black woman, he said, “That was Monica. She no longer works here.” The impression she came away with was that he had fired her and took pleasure in that.

      1. inode_buddha

        I am willing to bet there is a little “Naploeon complex” going on here, and its his first big “real job”. Gone straight to his head. Unfortunately I’ve had a few of those types in my line of work also; they basically make everyone but their flunkies miserable., creating little kingdoms and silos all over the place.

      2. run75441


        Most of my transactions are done by check. I like paper and I can track paper far easier than electronics. I still keep a ledger. The court still like paper more so than verbal or other transactions. I still use green-carding.

        When a relation was having issues with MBNA, I was able to find the names of the board of directors, took the time to write each of the a personal letter, with each being different than the other, and presented the issue at hand. I did win the day the.

        Companies always pride themselves in the goals they set forth in how to treat customers. I think I would start with the annual report and see where they align themselves in the treatment of customers. This may help although I am confident you may have already looked here: BBVA Compass sets a new standard in customer experience

        It sounds like you are still at the lower management level. Embarrass them and take it higher.

        1. Oregoncharles

          They’re setting a “new standard,” all right. Only they picked on the wrong old lady.

          I have minimal advice – I use a CU that’s never given me trouble. When I had an issue with Chase Manhattan over my student loan (the last installment puzzled me; when I asked questions, they sent it to collection), I wrote to the president that they were blocking me from finishing off the loan and got two apologetic letters. Then they sent me a pitch for business. Not a chance.

          Conclusion: go straight to the top, if you can. But BBVA is even bigger and farther away. And I’m sure Yves already knows this.

  4. smoker

    Very sorry your mother and you are experiencing this. The filing of the false report with the state protective agency was particularly vile. I suspect there should be more regulations to prevent and punish such vicious , traumatizing, should be considered a crime, acts.

    1. inode_buddha

      I suspect there already are regulations and laws existing, they just need to be enforced. As the saying goes, “The future is already here, it’s just unevenly distributed.”

      1. smoker

        There’s that also, in increasing abundance. Along with the astonishing levels of corruption and malfeasance at the top levels of such Law Enforcement, it’s also horriying to increasingly witness the utter lack of required legal knowledge many who work at regulatory agencies have.

    1. Yves Smith Post author

      Please see Clive’s earlier comment on captive customers, which I linked to at the end of the post and you can find here. I know you mean to be helpful but this is not suitable advice.

    2. Clive

      And, moreover, it’s easy to not be aware just how difficult it is for the not-young to sometimes find modern over-to-you (“you” being the customer) approaches to customer service are. Even fairly customer-centric outfits like a credit union will need the customer to do a lot of the legwork in providing the required documentation, understanding the forms, arranging the closure of the account with the previous institution and so on.

      My own mother-in-law, who, at 72 is twenty years younger than Yves’ mother, lacks confidence when dealing with authority, or those she perceives as authority. She (my mother-in-law) is not stupid, not lacking in mental capacity and manages a quite complex set of investments. But she requires fairly intensive reassurance and finds it difficult to commit to making even what (to me, with the benefit of 30+ years’ of hands-on knowledge in the field) are trivial evaluations of small details. However, I cannot instil in her the ability to handle proficiently and without causing stress and anxiety interactions with people in her bank (and this extends to the tax authority, the various insurers she has policies with and so on).

      If you don’t have any trouble in managing this type of everyday paper and officialdom, it’s incredibly easy to respond with pull-yourself-together kinds of advice. This, in my experience, is completely counterproductive — it merely makes the older person who does struggle with this even more uncomfortable and prone to doubting their skills and competency to deal with them successfully.

      Suffice to say, providing this kind of support (and I’m not being patronising to seniors, it just seems to be something that happens to some, as the brain ages) is a huge timesink for me. Not to mention the worry it causes me, because of the responsibility I have to assume. Put it this way, I’d welcome trying to move my own mother-in-law’s bank account to a credit union (however nice the credit union itself was) in the same way I’d welcome a root canal filling.

      1. The Historian

        Perhaps you should send a tape recorder with your mother-in-law the next time she has to deal with Authority alone. You might find out why she hates to do this.

        Since I retired, I cannot tell you how difficult Authority is to deal with on my own, and of course, all of this under the guise of “protecting” me. I handle all my banking and investment accounts myself, but I can’t count all the times I’ve been called dear or how many times people have told me not to worry, that they will take care of me – like I haven’t been taking care of myself all these years. If I object to this type of condescending and patronizing attitude, then I hear people murmuring “Alzheimer’s”. Obviously since I am old, I can no longer hear either. And then they always have these forms they want me to sign, for my own benefit, of course, for things I don’t want or need. I honestly would prefer a root canal to dealing with these people.

        1. Clive

          Be assured you are not alone. My mother-in-law constantly frets about appearing to be in the process of Alzheimer’s disease.

          She isn’t. She’s just a 72 year old lady who lost her husband and who’s only family lives either on the other side of the world or an hour’s drive away with busy work commitments to juggle — in a society which barely tolerates anything which causes it to have to make the slightest adjustment such as allowing a bit more time to read a long, complex form or to not speak at a fast rate of knots using jargon and buzzwords. Oh, and foists flaky, poorly designed tech on someone who didn’t use a PC until they were in their fifties.

          Heck, that all would make me get befuddled and feel constantly out of my depth!

          I don’t know, either, like you, how she puts up with the patronisation and the constant microaggressions. This is where I am pretty sure women have it much worse than men do. The endless “now, my dear” ‘s. The rolling of the eyes and the pained expressions. The fob-offs and the attempts to bamboozle and blind with science.

          I know she feels bad relying on outside help (my mother-in-law is very independent minded and quite resilient) but simply cannot cope with bullying. Nor, unfortunately, differentiate between genuine assistance and exploitation dressed up as sensitivity.

          But as you say, what I see and what I hear (inadvertently) is probably only 10% of how bad it really is.

          1. Oregoncharles

            At 74, I can confirm that I, at least, don’t get patronized like that. There’s probably an assumption that I understand things I may not. I don’t know how much difference it makes that I’m political and used to dealing with power structures. Probably it helps.

            Or maybe my CU is better run than most – I have trouble with the other one, mostly their lousy website.

          2. flora

            … with the patronisation and the constant microaggressions.

            Ah, yes. The insidious combination of ageism and sexism. I can imagine Elizabeth Warren getting this treatment from time to time, but I doubt Joe Biden ever does. (And which one seems the more fuddled?)

      2. MichaelSF

        I spent my career at a large Federal agency (SSA) and one of the last things I want to do is to deal with someone else’s bureaucracy while I’m sitting on the wrong side of the desk.

        Bureaucracies can be found in both government and business organizations. When you get stuck with the wrong person, especially when it starts to seem they have even less of a clue of how things should proceed than you do, you are probably lucky if it doesn’t get any worse than moderately frustrating. If you aren’t lucky, welcome to the movie “Brazil”.

      3. Yves Smith Post author

        I don’t think it is brain aging per se. I personally detest doing forms with the passion of one thousand suns. First, as you can see, I am a terrible typist and so even though I have always done well in math, I have great difficulty with computational accuracy due to my input errors. And you can see I don’t have much aptitude for proofreading (it turns out this is an aptitude separate from math skills).

        Second, in many cases, the labels on these forms and (if there are any) instructions were designed by monkeys. They are too often ambiguous or require specialist knowledge to understand what they want.

  5. Ignacio

    I filled a complaint about this (# RecPRIV20191127215515668) as a BBVA costumer and their answer was that although BBVA Compass belongs to the same banking group it has its own legal identity and is subject to regulations that apply in the US so I should go to other office to make the claim.

  6. flora

    You have made every effort to correct this at the local level. My guess is BBVA is regulated/supervised as a national charter. The one suggestion I have is to make a direct complaint to the OCC – Office of the Comptroller of the Currency.

    A foreign owned bank might be more responsive to complaints made at the federal level than complaints made at only the local level.

    This post would be an excellent complaint: time-lined, detailed, and complete. My 2¢.

      1. flora

        Then , what is the supervising agency for Alabama’s state chartered banks? If you know anyone who works at a state chartered bank (not BBVA) they could tell you. That’s the next step in filing a formal complaint, escalating the issue, imo. I expect Mr. Edwards expected to bully with impunity, never imagined he’d have to answer questions from regulating agencies. oh, was he wrong….

        1. Yves Smith Post author

          State agencies don’t get involved in what they consider to be internal personnel matters. And in the unlikely event the agency were to say something like, “This sounds extreme, what is up here?”, BBVA could tell the agency they were investigating the matter blah blah blah

          It takes more than one complaint to get an agency to saddle up.

  7. Fíréan

    Wishing both you and your Mother every success resolving this situation.
    And hope that it does not detract from having a Merry Christmas.

    Would it hinder or help your case to go to the local news outlet ,least there are other residents experiencing the same situation with this bank ? ( excuse me if you have covered this elsewhere already )

  8. Angie Neer

    I’m familiar with the term “swatting” to mean a false report that leads to dispatching of a militarized police unit, carrying substantial risk of sudden violent death for the victim (and possibly other). Is “swatting” now used to mean a false report of any kind?

    1. Yves Smith Post author

      You appear not to understand the power of state protective services. They can and do send in the cops. My mother would have risked arrest had she refused the visit of the protective services agent. I have not inspected Alabama’s law, but as you know, this state is not progressive. As reader Danny said,

      Remember that building and health inspectors, among other public officials, have “arrest” powers, which mean they can legally stop you from doing things, under penalty of law should you resist. In some states, it is a felony from preventing any public official from discharging their duties.

      And you cam imagine how shocking and intrusive it was to be on the receiving end of such a visit.

      Knowledgeable readers called this swatting. I was not the one who first thought to call it that but upon reflection, it seems apt. Lambert agreed.

  9. Tom Stone

    Yves has enumerated several causes of action.
    Elder abuse is not looked upon kindly by most…
    BBVA has doubled down on acting stupidly, not unusual for big corporations…
    An expensive mistake this time, one hopes.

  10. inode_buddha

    Even though they are chartered in Alabama*, aren’t they still subject to federal regs, and therefore the feds can deal with it?

    *(You know what else happened in Alabama? Deliverance — the movie.)

  11. grayslady

    I recommend paying a visit (not a phone call) to the admin. aide of your State Representative, David Faulkner (formerly a practicing attorney with a wide range of legal interests). Since you and your mom have done everything correctly from a legal perspective, his office should be able to back you up.

    I have used my State Senator’s office to achieve incredible results every time I’ve asked for help. I recommend the disabled-elderly-female-who-needs-Rep. Faulkner’s-help approach. Alabama has an amazing array of services designed to assist seniors and seems proud of that fact. Most people in public service really do want to be helpful if you appeal to their better angels rather than expressing (legitimate) outrage. Everyone has an elderly mother or grandmother, and politely reminding them how frustrated they would feel if this happened to their relative often works to get them on your side.

  12. Susan the Other

    The Peter Principle. Jared sounds like he isn’t reliable enough to be a teller. So they put him in a position to make personal assessments of the customers.

  13. Screwed over in Austin

    In your first article you asked “If any readers know of cases of malicious filings with local or state protective services, please pipe up in comments.”

    Early in our divorce proceedings here in Austin TX, my ex-wife’s lawyer told the [female] judge that I was “physically abusive” etc etc. Without batting an eye or investigating the least bit, said judge immediately ordered me into a lengthy, expensive [and worthless joke of a] “counseling program.”

    I had never so much as laid a finger on my wife during our ten years of marriage. When I asked her later why she had lied about that, she said: “Oh, I never claimed you did! My lawyer said that was just her normal way of doing things, that she did that in every case.”

    So here you have not an angry spouse or neighbor or coworker making false and malicious allegations to state authorities, but an officer of the court routinely abusing the system — and never being investigated or called to account for such appalling behavior!

    It’s not just the US political system that’s corrupt and rotten to the core — the entire social system at all levels is rancid and putrid beyond saving.

  14. The Rev Kev

    If this sort of thing is allowed to continue, it is only a matter of time before bank managers start ‘swatting’ customers on the grounds that their customers ‘threatened’ them. Now that is one way for a bank to externalize their costs.

  15. vidimi

    wow, this is appalling. good luck with the legal battle and i hope you achieve the desired outcome. really glad i don’t live in the united states.

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