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Flagstar CEO: Doing all it can, as fast as possible, to resolve issues

December 5, 2018

Flagstar Bank CEO Alessandro DiNello is in Fort Wayne today, reassuring new customers their money is safe and officials are doing everything they can, as fast as they can, to address lingering issues.

The transition of 150,000 former Wells Fargo customers to Flagstar last weekend went smoothly, he said, right up until Monday morning, when Flagstar’s website went down, cutting off access to online banking.

When they couldn’t access their accounts online, people called the Michigan-based bank’s customer service line, which swamped the beefed-up call center. Frustrated, some gave up and went directly to branches for help, he said.

“It’s a domino effect,” DiNello said of the process that led to local bank lobbies being crowded Monday with unhappy customers. “At headquarters, people are furiously trying to solve the problem. (Tuesday) was much better than the day before.”

Officials expect some problems with every bank acquisition, he said. Some customers neglect to notify their bank when they move, so they wouldn’t have received notices of the ownership change or new checks and debit cards.

About 2,000 mailings with checks and debit cards had been returned to Flagstar by the post office as of Saturday.

Other customers received mailings outlining the transition steps but didn’t realize the papers were important so didn’t read them. Those who did had ample time to plan ahead before they lost access to accounts last weekend, DiNello said.

“I’m very confident that we did everything possible to notify people,” he added.

DiNello estimated that 90 percent or more of the former Wells Fargo customers experienced no problems in the transition. His mission now is to focus on those who weren’t so fortunate.

“We’re sparing no effort and no expense in dealing with this,” he said. “I want to make sure people know their money is safe.”

Flagstar is waiving all fees for the new customers, including overdraft charges, until the bank returns to what DiNello described as “a normal state.” That could take until the end of this week, he said, although he was reluctant to put a time frame on the recovery.

For more on this story, see Thursday’s print edition of The Journal Gazette or visit www.journalgazette.net after 1 a.m. Thursday.

sslater@jg.net

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