Usually when someone says the word "bank robbery" you think of a person stealing money from the bank. I'm sure when the police got my call, they didn't expect that the crime in question was a bank stealing money from a person.
I have been banking with HSBC for 14 years. For the first few it was Marine Midland, but they changed the name when they switched operations from Hong Kong to the UK. The funny thing is I really wanted to keep banking with HSBC; it just seems that they didn't want to keep banking with me.
My account was sold to First Niagara. The nearest branch is so far away that I don't even know where the nearest branch is. Everything within my reach is and will remain an HSBC bank. I called to keep my account. I emailed. I sent a letter. I even visited a branch office--the latter was where I finally apparently went through the "proper" process to keep my account. I confirmed it via phone call that my account would stay with HSBC after receiving literature in the mail to the contrary.
Yesterday, I got a very, very disturbing piece of mail. A pin number. MY pin number. HSBC had given my pin number out to someone else. This isn't a very secure or trustworthy procedure for a bank, so I was concerned. I called them up. I was put on hold.
I realized I wasn't so far from an HSBC branch, so I walked in. I didn't wait in line; I just went to an open cube and demanded to know why they felt like sharing my private account information with someone else. It appears despite our conversations and their assurances, my account was sold anyway.
I was (of course) angry. This is my money. I worked hard for it. I demanded they close my account. I asked for my money back.
They threatened to call security. I told them I'd call the cops.
The conversation with dispatch was interesting. They asked me what crime I wanted to report. I asked, "bank fraud? The bank won't give me my money; I really don't know who else to call." I had actually tried calling the SEC and FTC first--both weren't open yet. They were treating this as though the bank stole money from me, which is (in essence) what they were doing. They said they'd send an officer.
A funny thing happened after making this call; the bank actually started to work. Before it was "we can't do that; we don't control your account anymore." Suddenly, they were more accommodating. After calling the police, the mood changed. They were now able to magically start the process of closing my account (something they claimed they weren't able to do just before I called).
The police arrived. I raised my hand that I was the one who called them. They asked if everything was alright. I told them things changed when I called the police; that they were now willing to give me my money. I thanked them immensely for coming. I'm not sure they understood how helpful they actually were. It wasn't the fact that they actually came that was helpful; it was the fact that they were even willing to come.
I suddenly didn't feel like a helpless 99%er against the 1% banking industry. It felt nice to have the NYPD treat this as they would any other time a robbery happens. It's probably only the second time I have felt the NYPD motto "courtesy, professionalism, respect" come through loud and clear. I felt like with all the wrong-headed stuff that the NYPD have been involved in, that this was an instance of doing something right. So I offer my thanks to the NYPD.