‘Our cards stopped working’: Northland bank buyout causes hiccups for customers

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KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- A bank buyout is causing some serious headaches for thousands in the Northland.

A greeting on Bank Liberty's former website welcomes customers to Central Bank of the Midwest, which recently acquired Bank Liberty. Some customers said it's been a bumpy switch-over.

"We found out about it in October. We didn't have any worries about it or concerns," customer Catie Mynatt said.

But that started to change this month. Mynatt and her husband were expecting to get new debit cards in the mail. When they never arrived, she called.

"I wanted to stay on top of things and just double check," she said.

Even without new cards, they were supposed to still have access to their Bank Liberty cards through midnight Sunday. But Mynatt's family learned the hard way that didn't happen either -- while standing at the grocery checkout line.

"Our cards stopped working ... We couldn't use the ATM either," Mynatt said.

Central Bank of the Midwest said there was a 4-hour outage during the switch-over this weekend, related to a spending cap on Bank Liberty cards, which was increased as soon as the problem was detected.

"We had no access to any of our money, even the online banking," Mynatt said.

When she went to a branch to get help Monday, there were very long lines, with dozens of customers waiting hours to get new debit cards printed and machines that broke down.

Central Bank said new printers were sent and wait times to get cards are now improving.

"It is very frustrating," Mynatt said.

Central Bank believes most online banking errors are related to customers using old Bank Liberty login information.

But Mynatt said transactions still aren't posting correctly to her account online, and she's concerned about her paycheck.

"I'm worried my direct deposit might not hit on Friday, and then what happens if it doesn't hit? Where does the check go? And it's Christmas time. So we're a little nervous," Mynatt said.

Central Bank of the Midwest said even with changes in routing numbers, everything should still transfer over automatically. The bank also apologized for the inconvenience and said it didn't anticipate the service interruptions that have occurred.

Customers just hope everything gets straightened out soon or they might consider switching banks.

Here's the full statement about the transition from Central Bank of the Midwest:

Declined Transactions

On Saturday, Bank Liberty’s old debit card vendor set a temporary limit on transactions during the small window of conversion weekend. This temporary limit may have caused some customer’s card to decline. As a courtesy to customers, Central Bank worked with the vendor and raised the limit for the remainder of the weekend.

Long Wait Times/Lines

Customers who experienced long wait times and/or lines were affected by two primary questions including their ability to login to online banking, and their ability to set their pin number for their debit card. The processes for both were explained in our primary communications booklets that were mailed 30 days and 15 days prior to our conversion weekend. Anyone who still has questions relating to either of these issues should refer to these earlier communications or visit any of our branches. Today, all branches are back to normal traffic and wait times should be at a minimum.

Card Printing

There have been isolated incidents where customers did not receive cards in the mail. In these cases customers can get a card printed instantly at one of our locations with an instant issue debit card printer. The process for printing new debit cards takes approximately five minutes per card, and resulted in some longer wait times on Monday.

Change in Routing Numbers

In a conversion, routing numbers do change however, all transactions will continue to process so there should not be an immediate impact on customers.  This information was also communicated in the 30 and 15 day notices.  If customers have further questions they should contact us or stop by a branch.

We apologize for any inconvenience this conversion may have caused and the isolated instances that we are aware of have been resolved throughout yesterday and today.  If customers have any issue or questions we have extra team members at each location ready to help.

We appreciate our customers’ patience during this time, and we are confident that we are staffed and ready to address any customer’s questions or concerns. Our team is working very hard to make sure that every customer receives the best experience possible.

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