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New M&T Bank customers experience stressful transition

A person uses the teller machine at an M&T Bank branch.
Julio Cortez
A person uses the teller machine at an M&T Bank branch.

Over half of People’s United Bank customers in Connecticut have been able to access their online bank accounts following the transition to M&T Bank. However, many customers experienced a myriad of stressful issues, including not being able to access their account.

Earlier this year, People’s United Bank was acquired by New York-based M&T Bank for $8.3 billion. Every People’s United Bank was slated to transition to M&T by Labor Day weekend along with the online services.

During the transition, customers would not be able to access their accounts online or through mobile applications for the weekend as M&T moved their accounts into their system.

For about 50% of customers, this transition went smoothly. At the time, most customer’s tried contacting M&T for assistance but due to the high volume of calls and emails to their contact center, most customers were left on hold for hours. Some customers have never used their online accounts.

Vernon’s town administrator Michael Purcaro was one of those customers who, after being put on hold for hours, finally reached an M&T associate. Purcaro restated to Hearst Connecticut Media what the associate told him, “‘We see what’s wrong with your account. You and many others who had a special character in your username are having problems just like you’re having. we don’t know how to fix it and we don’t know when it’s going to be fixed.”

Officials said one reason why customers were having issues was due to having a special character, like a hyphen, period or underscore, in their old login information that M&T’s system did not recognize.

Instructions were sent out to help customers access their accounts but after following these new guidelines, many were still unable to access their accounts. Many customers had to create entirely new bank accounts for M&T. Some were even restricted from their accounts due to numerous attempts to log in.

On Sept. 9, M&T spokesperson Max Reiss announced that the issue regarding the unrecognizable character was resolved. “Our digital team was able to kind of go into our system and recalibrate what was an acceptable special character,” Reiss said.

Eric Warner is a news fellow at WSHU.