I was unnaturally attached to Commerce Bank (TD predecessor) and would start conversations with friends about banking just to plug the bank.

  • It was the first bank in New York to open 7 days a week and have long hours.
  • They gave out dog biscuits and offer dog water bowls in the lobby.
  • They didn’t have giant walls of Plexiglas separating me from the tellers (in my mind I live in a small town—but unfortunately they’ve been held up more than any other bank in NY).
  • They had Penny Lane!—a free way to turn loose change into cash bills.

I was a little disappointed when they were bought by Canadian-owned Toronto Dominion Bank last year (I love Canada, but I’d prefer a local bank—invoking for me a little more small town comfort in these troubled times). In the brand transition, they’ve lost the open, local feel. The name TD? Sounds like a problem for a the university health clinic. The visual design? Blocky, closed, inelegant, unfriendly.

And now the operational differences are starting to show up. A few weeks ago, when visiting an ATM lobby to deposit a check, I noticed two things that are now prevalent in all the branches I’ve visited:

1) Out of an average of 3 ATMs per location, only ONE now accepts deposits. That is not acceptable for “America’s Most Convenient Bank.” Brand managers, we have a problem.

2) After waiting in a line to use that ONE machine, I enter in my deposit details and then get this mystery screen:

Why is this confusing? I have three accounts with TD: a personal account, a joint account and a business account. They each have official bank names, stuff like “Convenience Checking.” Because I can, I’ve changed all those corporate names in my online banking account so I can tell the difference between them. I use: Brian, Joint, Business. You know, clear labels. So when the ATM asks me where I’d like to deposit my check and gives me a THIRD naming system, naturally I’m confused. Which of the three accounts do I have are represented by these two choices? On a gut, I choose the first one (wanting the deposit to go into the Brian account). A later check online shows that I was right. But should banking be left to throwing darts? I’d prefer a little more rigor from my bank. Don’t make me guess about financial transactions.

Future post? The one thing that has been improved SLIGHLY with TD is the online banking site—it’s still absolutely awful (I can’t believe I forgave Commerce for putting me through that site) but it stinks and I’d love to redesign it. That may be the subject of a future post, but I’d have to set aside a few days to sufficiently identify all the issues in that spider’s nest).