Pittsburgh-based PNC Bank bought BBVA’s American banking business in June. PNC said at the time that BBVA customers would still be able to access their money throughout and after the transition. But since the transition was completed earlier this week, many customers have complained that they haven’t been able to access their money.
Preston Pannek owns the Lash Loft in Dallas, a salon that focuses solely on eyelash extensions, which also has a school. He also runs the art company House of Pannek with his wife. He said he has nine employees he needs to pay this week, but can’t get to his money.
“It’s just the worst situation possible,” Pannek said. “I cannot withdraw my money. They will not let me do anything with my bank accounts until I talk with a branch manager. However, branch managers are not taking meetings. So, pretty much sit and wait.”
And he wasn’t the only one having this problem. Former BBVA customers, who are now PNC customers, took to social media to complain about the merger and not being able to access their money.
Between Aug. 8 and 12, some 2.6 million customers, 9,000 employees and nearly 600 branches across seven states were transferred from BBVA USA to PNC Bank.
In a press release the day the banks reopened, PNC chairman, president and CEO William S. Demchak said, “Beginning today, we move forward together as PNC Bank, extending our Main Street model by offering our innovative products and services to even more clients and customers across the country, supporting our new and expanded communities, and ultimately, building and growing strong relationships.”
They’re off to a rocky start. During the transition, BBVA debit and credit cards were meant to be deactivated and replaced with new PNC cards. But the new cards don’t work.
One customer named Dustin Stanger posted on Twitter: “@PNCBank_Help my BBVA card stopped working this morning so I activated my PNC card and it doesn’t work either. So whose genius idea was this? You now have millions of ‘forced’ customers without access to their bank accounts for 4 days!! Fix it!!!”
PNC has sent a stock reply to most people facing the same problem: “Hello there, and thank you for your feedback. We understand the value in having access to your account. If you attempted to use your BBVA USA or PNC debit card earlier today and were declined, please try again.”
“It’s just the worst situation possible.” – Preston Pannek, business owner
Stagner said the card has since started working, but he and other customers were initially told their BBVA cards would continue working through January 2022. But they were deactivated around 8 a.m. on Oct. 8.
Panneck said no one from the bank ever told him about the acquisition or any potential disruptions. He only heard about it when his father received a notification by phone. “I never got an email. I never got a letter. I never got a message on my phone about it,” Pannek said. “Then Friday, Saturday, Sunday, Monday we had no access to anything. Nobody did.”
It was only after one of the bank employees adjusted Pannek’s phone settings that he received the notification the same notification that had been sent to his father.
He went to a branch in Dallas, where about 15 other upset customers stood in the lobby trying to speak with the branch manager. “I was like, ‘Is everybody here looking to get their money out?’” Pannek explained. “Everybody’s like, ‘Yeah. Nobody has access to their money.’”
Pannek says he urged the branch manager to try to understand why the customers were upset and have a meeting with them.
According to Pannek, the manger replied, “Y’all just need to get out of here. I can’t deal with this right now.”
When Pannek threatened to speak to the press, he was asked to leave.
“I’m looking at nine checks I need to write tomorrow for payroll for girls who need their money, too,” Pannek said. “They’re salon technicians. They need to pay their rent and their car payments. It would be different if I could just go to the bank and pull out cash and pay them, but I can’t do that either.”
Marcey Zwiebel, senior vice president and director of corporate public relations for PNC, told the Observer that a significant portion of the customers who were recently transferred are actively using their products and services.
“We apologize for any inconvenience that some customers may be experiencing, and we truly appreciate their patience as we work to provide them with the access and support they expect from us,” Zwiebel said. “We will continue to work directly with our customers to address any concerns they may have as we move forward together.”