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Hello, iGObanking…It’s Really Me Out Here In Cyberspace

Because we all have problems with individual banks, I don’t usually write about my own personal grievances.

But my problem with – the online arm of Flushing Bank – seems to be experienced by many others.

I’ve been an iGO customer since 2010.

I’ve opened three certificates of deposit, all held to maturity.

I also maintain an active savings account.

Yet, despite this history, every time I’ve applied online for an iGOcd, the bank has treated me like a complete stranger attempting to open an account with a wheelbarrow brimming with cash.

Here’s what happened when I recently applied for a 1.70% APY 36-month CD – the best nationally available deal for that term on Bankaholic’s CD Rates Leaderboard.

I logged in to the bank’s website and completed the online application.

The system recognized me and automatically entered my personal information.

The problem began after I entered funding instructions and signed out.

I got a bank email acknowledging my application and advising that “[a]n Internet Banking Specialist will be in contact with you shortly.”

“Shortly” was the following morning, when I received another email stating “your application is under review since our systems were unable to validate your … applicant’s information electronically.”

I thought: Huh? Didn’t iGO already supply that information itself in the online application?

Anyway, I immediately emailed back my driver’s license (front and back, per iGO’s request) and waited for formal approval.

I heard nothing for three days (one was Thanksgiving). No email, call or “trial deposit.”

On the morning of the fifth day, I emailed iGO that I was canceling my application, citing the delay.

The bank immediately confirmed the cancellation.

Based on reading blog postings and Internet message boards, I’m not the only person iGO treats this way.

It seems a widespread complaint that the bank is hung up on identity verification, even for existing online customers, perhaps following procedures it’s adopted under the Patriot Act.

All I’m really sure of is that no other institution at which I’m already a customer asks me to supply additional proof of identity after I successfully log in to complete an application.

They simply ask routine verification questions such as where I lived in 1965. They don’t need another copy of my driver’s license or a recent telephone bill!

And they don’t need five days. My new account is almost always approved on the spot.

I’m sure iGO is aware of the complaints about its overly-fastidious procedures – and just rejects them.

But I wish it would take another look at them, because it offers some really good CD deals.

The extra effort and delay, however, discourages customers from applying for them.

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