M&I-BMO Harris changeover leaves some customers in lurch

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BMO Harris Bank’s expansion in Indianapolis and other markets via its acquisition of M&I Bank is off to a rocky start as many customers still are unable to access their online banking accounts.

BMO Harris parent Bank of Montreal bought Wisconsin-based Marshall & Ilsley Corp. for $4.1 billion in July 2011. It formally unveiled the rebranding to customers when branches opened Tuesday following the Columbus Day holiday.

BMO Harris warned customers they would not have access to M&I online and mobile banking services from Friday evening until Tuesday morning, when the switch to BMO Harris was complete.

But glitches caused by the transition extended into Wednesday, judging from the slew of negative comments BMO Harris customers posted on the company’s Facebook page.

“This change has been a terrible experience!” wrote one angry customer. “Better make it right or you’ll be losing customers.”

Alisha Valentine, who works at a market research firm in Carmel, said she’s already decided to leave the bank.

After trying to no avail Tuesday to reach customer service representatives online and by phone, and by visiting a branch in Carmel, Valentine left frustrated and opened a new account at Teachers Credit Union.

“[Tuesday] was supposed to be the day,” she said. “And nobody can do what they hoped to be able to do. It’s frustrating to not see what you’re accustomed to seeing.”

BMO Harris hopes to have the problems resolved “as quickly as possible,” spokesman Jim Kappel said in an e-mailed statement.

“During our systems conversion, some customers have encountered difficulties logging into online banking,” he said. “We apologize for the inconvenience and thank our customers for their understanding. We ask those customers experiencing problems to visit our branches or ATMs.”  

The problems seem to be widespread.

Another customer posted on BMO Harris’ Facebook page that, like Valentine, he spent more than an hour on the phone and made several trips to his local branch in an attempt to get answers.

“I will definitely be looking to take my business elsewhere,” he wrote.

Valentine said she’s been a customer of BMO Harris since its days as the locally owned First Indiana Bank.

M&I entered the Indianapolis market in 2008 when it acquired First Indiana Corp. for $529 million.

M&I had about 30 branches in the Indianapolis area and controlled about 6 percent of the market's bank deposits, according to the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. The bank had nearly $1.8 billion in local deposits before the acquisition and ranked sixth among area banks in terms of employment, with about 400 workers.

BMO Harris had 10 branches and 200 employees in Indianapolis before its purchase of M&I. It’s now the area’s third-largest bank in terms of employees.

Overall, M&I had about 350 offices in seven states, with more than half of those in Wisconsin.

When customers walked into the former M&I branches Tuesday, they saw new signage and “BMO blue” paint on refreshed bank lobbies signifying the shift.

Some patrons weren't impressed.

“It was truly ugly yesterday, as was my mood,” another BMO Harris customer posted. “It takes a long time to build a good customer, and but a few minutes to destroy the same. You have to do a large job of confidence building.”


  • Late Bills
    No one is responsible for your late bills except for you.
  • BMO is NO M&I I'm GONE
    Loved M&I... BMO is a joke. Closed all 4 accounts. I highly recommend not doing business's with these guys. They do not understand small business at all.
  • Its Not!! Sorry
    I hate to tell you, but history is NOT coming back. This from a former M&I employee.
  • Sad Days
    I too was a customer of First Indiana, then M&I and had great service, smiling faces, even a little line of credit. In comes BMO, they jerk away my LoC and start charging fees because I don't keep $1000 in my account. I've opened an account at Regions, but still have my health savings account at BMO and a small amount in checking to cover bills. As soon as I've made arrangements for the health savings account I'm outta here. Oh, and when I go to pay my bills online there's the line of credit with a zero balance. Rub my nose in it? I don't think so. Not for much longer. Happy New Year, BMO - go back to Canada!
  • flustrated
    I have never had such a bad experience. I got so I was a personal visitor with my branch and they were very patient. My biggest complaint now is half of my bills are late because you will not send a payment until the 11th. Still not sure I am not going to change banks.
    • Disappointed
      I totally agree. The people who have tried to work with us in our local location are great. It is not their fault that BMO pretty much screwed them over by changing everything they've ever known in their work experience. I really feel for them.
    • so disappointed with BMO
      I haven't read all the past comments...just a few. But I have to say that I joined First of Indiana straight out of high school, (1987) and have been with the same bank ever since. When I got married, my husband joined so we changed the account to a joint account. I have paid the bills our whole married life. The M&I change didn't effect my banking experience at all. I have been paying all of our bills for years. I started paying bills online several years ago. I pay all of our regular bills though the bank bill-pay and all of the variable bills on their individual sites. Anyway, BMO boutht the bank. I have to admit, I just assumed it would be the same as when M&I bought it, which didn't really cause any difference. But since that time, (the time BMO bought M&I), we have experienced nightmare after nightmare. We got our power turned off too. (That's just one thing that happened but I think there was someone else that had that happen.) and it wasn't becuase we didn't pay our bills. We are finally in a place where we have plenty of money, and we did not receive notice (that I know of) before it happened. I'm sorry that happened to anyone else. I called the electric company and took care of it the same day (within hours). BMO is a joke of a bank. I have been a loyal company of my bank since 1998. It has been nightmare after nightmare since BMO bought it...I could go on and on with the stories but what is the point? I gave it several months because they said it would get better and I wanted to give the bank I'd been with my whole adult life a chance. But no, when they accidentally paid an old mortgage account out of "bill pay", which made us totally overdraw and incure tons of "BMO" charges, that was the last straw. We are switching to PNC. This morning one of PNC bankers made an appointment with us and spent two hours going over how to use their online banking site as well as explaining how to band with them and how it all works. They don't charge us fees for tranfers between our own accounts (we always keep plenty of money in our savings) and they actually seem to know us as customers and make their bank easy-to-use and friendly, which is something that after over twenty years, I expected at the least from my bank, but did not receive. The opposite in fact. I cannot say how much I dislike BMO and how disappointed I am. I have never had another bank. Now I am changing, something I never thought I would do. But so far, PNC has been wonderful. I would totally recommend to anyone that is in our place, cut BMO loose and go somewhere else.
    • @Brandy commentators
      It doesn't matter if Brandy was behind in her bills or not that is NOT the issue. Her issue is she finally paid the bill and BMO did NOT send in the payment with bill pay. It is not fair nor called for that you guys pick on people for not having adequate funding to...live a decent life. Putting her down isn't going to get her bills paid or her account right with BMO. Learn someone's situation before you post.
    • ...and more money
      I agree with you because I have been with First Indiana, M&I and well for 12yrs. I am leaving to Teachers Credit Union. BMO is BS!!! They have raised prices and check your accounts because they are taking whatever you have left in it. They also charges me over $260 in fees and when you contact them they have no clue what was going on. Being it was their fault they should have waived the fees. It took an employee from the M&I side to refund me almost half of my money just so I can have some restitution. But the employees are upset as well because the BMO people lied to them as well so look for many to leave. One employe said maybe she will be ok after a vacation because the bs is becoming unbearable she said. I hate to leave after 12 yrs but I can't afford them. No loyalty!!!
    • Agreed
      NO2BMO is right, free checking is no longer free checking when BMO took over, rearrange a few words and its money out of your pocket.
    • bailout
      This institution did not receive TARP funds. Just an FYI
      This change of bank has been terrible. We can't use our credit card, ATM...They tell us we are putting in the wrong PIN number....hello? Extremely embarrassing when being denied and you have $10,000 in your account...use some of your tax payers bailout and fix this crap...BMO YOU SUCK
      • salon owner
        I began with First Indiana 17 ago through change to M&I and now BMO.There is no loyalty to their employees as they change em frequently and now to their customers Along with removal of a drive thru. Im out. They made breaking up easy.
        • Community Bank
          Take a look at The National Bank of Indianapolis. Locally owned and operated right in downtown Indy.
        • Class action
          Perhaps a class action suit is needed to help compensate customers for the time we have lost While our money is bring held hostage while BMO tries to get it right.
        • It's painful BMO
          I need my history in order to maintain mine,my husbands and my mom bills. Without out it I'm lost.When is history coming back? Possibly an ex BMO customer after 20 plus years with M&I.
          • FEES, FEES, and guess what? MORE FEES !
            My M&I accounts went from free and friendly and easily accessible to nothing more than a joke with FEES. READ THE FINE PRINT PEOPLE. I am closing my accounts as soon as I can get through to BMO’s so called "customer service"
            • OMG!!!
              Had a terrible experience with change over left me wiothout my paycheck . they were supposed to discontinue my line of credit and change that into a loan instead my direct deposit check went into the line of credit to pay it off (2,000.00) and I was left with no money and I was fired from my job of seven years on the same day!!!
            • help
              would appreciate help in logging in - am locked out - get no phone calls thru to BMO and tho my info for lock out enters ok - never get emails back in 15 minutes to go ahead
            • STILL Can't Get On
              I have no idea if my mortgage payment went through or not. No idea if my credit card payments have been made. No idea if my routing and account numbers are still the same or not. I followed all of the instructions sent out and STILL cannot access my account. Going to my local branch after work and if they can't help me I'm getting my money and going somewhere else. This is seriously the worst merger I've ever seen. To qualify that statement, I was employed by Nextel during the Sprint merger and also employed by a company that had to deal with the Alltel and AT&T merger. Both nightmares that don't even come close to the BMO/M&I debacle.
            • Terrible
              You're electricity wasn't cut off because of a BMO/M&I failure, it was cut off because you didn't pay your bill on time. Think before you post please.
            • sorry for your troubles
              @Brandy who's electric was turned off. I'm very sorry that happened. I'm sure you must be very upset by that, but they don't turn electric off after just a few days of a missed payment. They have been sending several warning notices. Perhaps you missed them along with the BMO/Harris notices that also notified you of the impending change and to keep up with your bill pay. Please don't blame the bank for your own troubles. We have enough of our own right now.
              • Totally Messed up :-(
                As a M&I customer, this is the worst transition I ever seen. 3 days after transition, I can't log in. Customer service is not reachable - disconnected. Automatic lines - Automatically disconnects.. Totally messed up. Going to complain, if not resolved soon
              • Communication with customers was clear
                I have to agree. I got info via snail mail, email and phone about this. It shouldn't have been a surprise.
              • They feed me.
                I placed $4,000 each into a pair of 13-month CDs, with a 1.1% APR as an IRA account last year about two months apart. After I missed the maturity date on the first one, and they didn't remind me of it, it was automatically renewed with 0.4% APR. When the other CD matured, I asked to transfer the balance to another bank that offers 0.8% interest in a simple savings account. They charged me a $50 fee to close the account, more than erasing than $47 of interest I had earned over 13 months. Since they refused to waive the fee, I decided to close all my accounts. Because they decided that each CD is a separate account, they will again charge the $50 fee to transfer the balance of my other CD, which will have earned $65 after 26 months. Why must all banks continually be bought be other banks ensuring that the number of banks dwindles and the size of all banks increases, making them less and less likely to provide real customer service and value to society? I guess our government is not concerned about the "Too Big to Fail" issue because they bought and controlled by these banks.
              • patience wearing thin now...
                ...carefully followed all the instructions regarding the transition, and even paid some bills a bit ahead of schedule just in case this sort of thing might happen... and lo & behold my low expectations were not low enough...its BMOs worst-case scenario here. After being exceptionally patient and attentive, its tterly dissapointing to see how this transition was handled.
              • BMO = FAIL!
                after not being able to log in at all yesterday, today bill pay does not exist. what were they thinking? was thinking actually involved?
              • Relax Everyone
                They provided a lot of information preparing for this. If you read their information, you wouldn't be surprised or upset. I did have some issues but saw messages online explaining the delays, so I waited. I logged in today and everything appears to be fine to me. People have no patience.
                • PS
                  I still can't get anyone to answer the 800 #. It's making me sick. I have no idea what has cleared the bank or what is still pending. I Everytime I get transferred to a "call representative" I get disconnected. I am sick over this.
                • Terrible
                  My electricity was shut off yesterday and because I couldn't access my online bill payments and the individuals at the local branch couldn't tell me when/if the payment was actually sent, I had to pay the company an additional $437 dollars to have the electricity turned BACK on! I am appauled by the lack of customer service and the fact that I STILL have no idea what is in my account. I've been with this bank since it was First Indiana and have NEVER in my life experienced anything like this.
                  • Quick question
                    is the IBJ owned by the same people as the National Bank of Indianapolis?
                  • Am I right?
                    Probably a Carmel teacher :)
                  • Worked for me
                    I logged in today with no problems. My only complaint is that I can only see part of my transactions (page says transactions from 9.10-10.9 and there are only a few, not an entire month). Not sure why we couldn't keep the m/i interface with the online banking it was much easier to use.
                  • Remember When
                    Remember when people made decisions locally. Remember when you could talk to the people who made those decisions. I feel sorry for some of the good concerned employees of these large banks who have very little control to help there customers.
                  • TCU
                    My bank has never left me in a jam. Oh wait that would be because I use Teachers Credit Union. If I don't have to use a bank again I never will. Go TCU!
                    • Community Banking
                      It used to be that the banks headquartered in Indianapolis would leave the state. Apparently, banks are now leaving the country. I think it makes a ton of sense to begin again and start banking really local.
                    • BMO Harris
                      On Friday, I made sure I had print-outs of all my accounts (6 accounts), verified all my information - like they asked us to do. On Tuesday, a little after 9 a.m. I logged on, answered the security questions and all is well. I am sorry others had problems, because some will (that is the nature of switching over systems). Please be patience and I am sure they will take care of all the problems (No, I don't work for BMO or any bank).
                    • Kinda Silly
                      I have been a M&I customer for over 12 years. Started with First Indiana then went to M&I and now BMO. I have always recieved excellent service from the local branch all the way up to the call center when someone stole my debit card number. It seems like so many have no patience even though customers were amply notified about the change taking place. I wasn't able to get on Tuesday but this morning no problem all is working well. I just made sure any bills that needed paid online I did before the Friday cutoff and my debit card worked fine over the weekend and Monday and Tuesday as well no issues. It's always easy to take the frusrations out on the call center or the branch employees who like most of us are only getting the information they give out from people way above them and trying their best to help. A little slack and patience and understanding goes a long way.
                      • whatever
                        I didn't log in until today, but my M&I BMO online account works just fine...people seem to get very easily frustrated these days...
                      • My bank
                        My banks online banking is working just fine. Maybe it is time to try a smaller Community Bank.

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