John Ciempa is one of hundreds of Vermonters who faced challenges this week posed by his bank account.
"I went into the branch to deposit some money and was notified by the teller your account might not be updated, your balance might not be updated for 24 hours," he said.
Ciempa has been a TD Bank customer for 10 years and says this was a bad time to have a problem with his account.
"Being at the end of the month there's a lot of bills being paid," he said. "And especially for me, I have an increase because I'm in the process of moving to a larger place so my checks are a little larger than normal. So not having my bank accounts updated, I was really worrying. It was frustrating because I didn't know which checks would be all right and which ones might not be."
TD BankNorth recently merged with Commerce Bank to create TD Bank, with a thousand branches on the East Coast. It says a problem integrating the banks' computer systems led to delays this week in updating certain account transactions.
"It would have been nice to have a little pre-warning about the potential of this IT switch," Ciempa said.
"To have a systems problem at the first of the month is a real issue," said Joe Patrissi, the Deputy Commissioner for the Vt. Agency of Human Services.
The agency also encountered problems because of the glitch. Patrissi estimated about 800 TD Bank customers on state assistance did not have immediate access to money they were supposed to. That includes low-income Vermonters on the Reach Up cash assistance program and those who receive food stamp benefits known as Three Squares as a direct deposit.
"That particular deposit, in food stamps, Three Squares, only goes to elderly and disabled," Patrissi said. "So they're on fixed incomes. They rely on that money for food so I'm sure there was a lot of anxiety and concern."
Callers to the agency's call center got this message: "This is a special announcement. Please be advised if you have a direct deposit account for your benefits with TD Bank, your direct deposit may have been delayed. TD Bank is working to resolve the problem."
But there wasn't any more the agency itself could do.
TD Bank was not available to locally to comment on the problem, but a message on its website says it is making progress on fixing the delays. "All hands are on deck to resolve these issues and get back to business as usual," the statement reads.
The bank says customers will not be held responsible for any overdraft fees or penalties for paying bills late that are imposed because of the delays. If customers continue to have problems, they should call or visit their own branch.
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