Special characters barred former People customers from accessing online bank accounts, M&T says

A few days after M&T Bank transferred former People’s United Bank customers to its systems, some people were still having trouble accessing their accounts, in part due to a technical glitch resulting from the use of special characters in account names.

The New York-based bank, which acquired People’s earlier this year in an $8.3 billion purchase, notified customers this summer in letters and emails of the change, which included a Labor Day weekend where customers would not have access to online or mobile banking as the company converted People’s accounts.

But as of Tuesday, some people still haven’t been able to access their online accounts, even after following the steps outlined in M&T’s numerous communications.

Michael Purcaro, the city administrator of Vernon, contacted the bank on Tuesday after receiving error messages when he tried to log into his personal bank account online. He was unable to reach a customer service employee until that night, he said.

“They said, ‘We see what’s wrong with your account. You and many other people who had a special character in your username are having issues like you and we don’t know how to fix it, and we don’t know when it will be fixed,” Purcaro said.

On Thursday, he said he visited an M&T branch in Ellington, where a bank teller told him M&T did not know when it would fix the problem. He said he authorized the bank to re-enroll him as a new customer, deleting his transaction history and statements with People’s.

The bank had also posted a link on social media explaining how to access the accounts, but only if customers did not have a special character in their account name.

Max Reiss, a spokesman for M&T, acknowledged the issue with the special characters, but said the issue was resolved on Friday.

“Our digital team was able to go into the system and kind of recalibrate what was an acceptable character,” Reiss said. “It’s a different login system than People’s customers use with different coding.”

Even so, Reiss said it’s “quite possible” that some customers may need to create a new profile.

This week’s transition has resulted in long wait times for customer calls, which Mike Keegan, executive vice president and head of community banking at M&T Bank, called unacceptable.

“It’s not the level of customer service we want to have or will have, but we’re getting there,” Keegan said earlier this week. “It’s just unprecedented volume because changes are happening and people want to make sure they’re comfortable with what’s going on.”

An online thread posted Tuesday about restoring the service had generated more than 800 customer comments.

Earlier in the week, Keegan said more than 40% of People customers had accessed their new M&T accounts online. He said some customers tried to log into accounts multiple times, which restricted them. Other customers have described issues with new credit and debit cards, he said, but those cases include one customer mistakenly using an old credit card and another providing an outdated address for a new card. of debt.

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