Posted by: winteridge | September 17, 2011

Money First

Ever since I first started bringing home a paycheck, which was hmmmmm years back, I have been a customer of Marine Midland Bank in Syracuse, which later was taken over by HSBC worldwide bank.  They have done the job for 40-some years, no major complaints.

Last year, I suddenly started receiving mailings from a First Niagara Bank, which I found was based in Buffalo, NY.  They never tried to solicit my business…just impersonal mailings as if I were a long-time and valued customer, but I had never done business with this bank, never even heard of them.  I later found they were building a bank in my area, but they are one of many.  Seems it is a good business.

But I was puzzled by their correspondence: No offers of free checking, free toasters, amazing interest rates, or any of those financial attention-getters, just a casual “Hi, friend” type of letter.  No account numbers or other identifiers.  Did they have me confused with someone else?  Did I have a lost inheritance with their bank, earning huge interest dividends unknown to me?  Was I concerned enough to contact 1st Niagara?  Well, no.

Then one day came the announcement that First Niagara was making their move for greatness: purchasing all the HSBC banks in New York State.  Hmmmm.  Were they laying groundwork for keeping me as a customer?  Where did they get my personal info?  From HSBC’s files?  Isn’t that illegal?  But still, they never did ask me to become their customer and friend.  At least not yet.  An HSBC employee told me that they could not do that.  Strange doings.  I guess I just have to wait and see what transpires.  Maybe talk with a local credit union in the meantime…there is one in our neighborhood that accepts teachers and everyone else.



  1. For years the credit cards I hold have been splitting and merging back and forth until it is impossible to tell who owns what. Now I have one which has no name at all on it. Also the banks themselves keep changing their names. Before I retired I had the same account through the years at the same bank. It was, successively, First American, First Union, First Federal, Crestar, and finally Sun Trust. I may have left a few out. I stopped keeping savings and checking in the same bank when I found out they could transfer my funds from one account to the other without my consent. Can they do that? Is it legal? My friend, they can do anything they like.

  2. Have you noticed they always incorporate terms like trust, fidelity, and guaranty in their titles, then provide none of those? What’s in a name?

  3. I decided I am holding out for a free toaster from FN. Nothing less…unless they do something crazy like offering to pay interest on my savings. lol.

  4. It is interesting to note that we recently moved to a new home, and 1st Niagara’s mailings to me as a non-customer have followed me to my new address. However, important mailings to me from 1st Niagara as a new customer/former HSBC customer…such as my ATM card and info packets…are mailed to my old address and never got to me. A sign of the future with First Niagara?

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