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Sean Killeen

Just a guy trying to get better at writing bios.

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I wanted to let the world know about some great experiences I’ve had with SunTrust Bank lately. I only have an auto loan through them, but after these interactions, I’m considering moving all my business there. From what I can tell, you should, too.

Currently, I only have an auto loan account with SunTrust (which was set up when I bought my Ford Focus earlier this year.) I was in Washington, DC at the time of the purchase but have moved to Maryland and am in the process of transferring all the auto information (a real treat, let me tell you.) Part of this process involves needing the lienholder (bank) to send the title to the MVA so they can transfer it.

I envisioned hours on hold, tons of transfers, and lots of red tape. I called SunTrust (for the first time), and was surprised to be quickly connected to a person after entering a few options. I was at the MVA and didn’t have my account number. No problem; they looked it up with my name and SSN. The rep I talked to transferred me quickly to someone who could help. The call wasn’t dropped, and within a few minutes I had the correct fax number and was informed as to exactly how the process would work. Very easy.

Fast-forward a little bit. I re-visited the MVA a few weeks later, and they informed me that they still didn’t have the title. I figured there might have been a kink in the process, and the MVA was…well, let’s say less than helpful. Not to worry, I called up SunTrust. Again, within one transfer I was connected to someone who knew what the process was (and the initial rep made sure to wait until I was connected). The rep was able to inform me exactly when the title was sent, explain why it probably hadn’t gotten there yet, and give me all the information I needed.

But then they went one step further. I informed the rep that I was on sort of a deadline with the MVA (after a certain time, their fee goes from $100 to 6% of the vehicles value – obviously a huge increase). The SunTrust rep put me on a brief hold, and came back with a solution: SunTrust would send a custom, signed letter to my address indicating when they had kicked off the process on the earlier date. With this proof, I will now be within the time limit when dealing with the MVA. SunTrust didn’t have to do this, and I didn’t expect it.

Fast-forward to today. I use Mint.com to manage most of my personal finances (they’re great). Since I only have a loan with SunTrust, I don’t have access to an on-line account and thus can’t get my loan information to Mint. Their web site said you needed a credit or checking account, but I thought with all the success I’ve had, “why not?” So I called up SunTrust. First rep I talked to said “well, that is normally the case, but hold on, let me check with our on-line representative”. Put me on hold for two minutes. When he came back, he told me that they were custom-creating the account for me, and walked me through the setup process. I’ll be getting an e-mail tonight or tomorrow with the link to setup my account.

So just to recap, unlike with any other financial institutions I’ve used (Wachovia and Bank of America come to mind), my experience with SunTrust has always consisted of the following:

  • Quick access to an actual human being.
  • Representatives who understand my question the first time.
  • Maximum of two transfers to someone who can solve my problem.
  • Hold times are short and courteous
  • Problem has always been solved, including custom solutions that go above-and-beyond my expectations.

If all banks handled transactions this way, banking would have a much better name.

Though it’s a hassle, I’m considering moving all my accounts to SunTrust, because businesses who treat customers this way deserve more business.

Other thoughts stemming from this:

  • I hope SunTrust turns out to be the main partner for BankSimple (another site I’m excited about). It seems like they have similar mindsets.
  • Another thing that would be awesome? A company that functions as a “Google Voice” concept for your accounts. Which is to say, you set up an account, and pick the providers, but can swap them out. A company that automates the transfers to other organizations. You deal with them directly, but look at your information for them. This would be a great feature set for Mint, or an organization that works with them.

Update 12/21/2010: After receiving some thanks from the SunTrust Twitter account, I mentioned I hadn’t received the account creation e-mail yet. They re-sent it (ETA 15 minutes). More continued success and great service!

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