Pen Air Outstanding Online/Phone Service
I'm writing to praise the customer service reps who answer the phone at PenAir. Despite some very negative comments in other places on this blog, I have had outstanding service this week while opening a 2-year CD at 1.60 APY. I was waiting for an existing CD at another bank to mature, and wanted to be ready to jump on opening the PenAir CD as soon as the money became available, to get the good rate before it might go down.
You need to do your research beforehand so you know what you want and have questions lined up. I took the precaution of beginning an online application just to see what was needed. I saw that I would need to scan my driver license, and 2 recent bills or bank statements to prove my current address, to be prepared to upload them. Aside from that, the application also looked confusing. They do have a toll-free number, so I phoned for information. Along the way the CSR said that if they change the rate it is done on Wednesdays. And they give a 15 calendar-day rate lock (including the day you open the account) to complete the funding. But your funding will go into a basic savings account where it must sit for 5 business days before it becomes available to apply it to the CD -- yes, even though it's an internal transfer from savings to CD. Then there's the delay getting the money sent out from the other bank after closing the CD. So I decided to open the CD on Tuesday, the day my other CD matured, to beat any possible rate change at PenAir, and hoped I could actually get the money to my new PenAir savings acct within a week and then wait a week for it to become "available" for the CD. CSR said they would help guide me by phone through the online application.
When I phoned on Tuesday I got a different CSR, who was just as helpful and perhaps even more knowledgeable than the previous one. CSR said forget the online application; and proceeded to ask me questions allowing CSR to fill out the form for me while we were talking; and also put me on hold and got approval from boss to extend the rate lock in case the money transfers weren't quick enough. I got a direct email address for CSR at the bank's website, and uploaded my scanned documents. Then I decided to avoid all the delays and spend the $15 to do a wire transfer for the CD principal amount plus the $25 required for the mandatory share savings acct plus the $15 incoming wire transfer fee. I sent the wire that same day and sent email to CSR to look for it and ask please open the CD as promptly as possible. Result was: I got the CD on that same Tuesday; and it showed up on my account on the PenAir website on Tuesday. Wow! CSR also emailed me an encrypted certificate with CD acct#, term, maturity date, etc.
On Wed. I sent email to CSR to choose the option to have monthly interest paid into the basic "share" savings account, and got confirmation by reply email. I had heard that there's a fee of $2.95 for any outgoing ACH transfer; looked at fee schedule and there it is. I wanted to send the monthly interest to outside bank. So I phoned PenAir and got a brand new (3rd) CSR, and discussion turned out that ACH fee is only when PenAir does the work -- outside bank can initiate ACH pull with no PenAir fee for allowing it; so I will set up recurring pull for amount safely less than the lowest expected monthly interest (like February); and go to sleep for almost 2 years.
All 3 CSRs were friendly, knowledgeable, helpful -- especially the middle one who helped me through the application process and handled the incoming wire and set up the CD, all within about 3 hours. And so, dear readers, do your homework, be prepared, and you will receive excellent service from PenAir. By the way, they actually pay for you the one dollar membership fee to join the charity that makes you eligible for credit union membership; and there's zero delay while joining. This is a very classy credit union; my privilege and pleasure to join them; looking forward to next time I have money for another CD. I have never had such swift, efficient, knowledgeable, friendly service even from a "real" brick-and-mortar bank or online bank.