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'It's insanity' – Customers complain of issues after Chicago-area bank merger

Bank merger causes headaches for Chicago area customers
Bank merger causes headaches for Chicago area customers 02:57

CHICAGO (CBS) – More than a week and a half after a bank merger between First Midwest and Old National, customers said it's a big, frustrating mess.

They complained of debit cards that don't work and locked online accounts.

CBS 2's Suzanne Le Mignot dug into the problem and why people just want access to their accounts.

Old National Bank said the merger, which was completed on July 11, involved the accounts of more than 300,000 clients at over 100 banking centers, mostly in the Chicago area.

Customers we spoke to said the transition was definitely not as seamless as promised.

"I'm just tired of it!," said Donna Harris, an Old National Bank customer. "It's insanity."

She and Kersta Ketchum expressed their frustration after their bank, First Midwest Bank, merged with Old National Bank.

"I had been locked out of my account and I couldn't do anything until the 48 hours had passed," Harris said.

So when did Harris get access to her account?

"Tuesday, of this week," she said.

Ketchum said she's been unable to reach anyone at Old National Bank by phone.

"Having to hold on to the line and the line's just busy," Ketchum said.

CBS 2 called and heard this message:

"Due to the continued high call volume, you may experience waits of 45 minutes or more."

First Midwest Bank customers were went information about the merger. It said the transition would start July 8 and end July 10, with the goal, as the letter said, to make this transition "as seamless as possible."

On Monday, July 11, everyone would become Old National Bank customers.

The day after the merger was complete, One National Bank customers took to social media.

On Facebook, a community group member told people not to take their frustration out on bank employees and to stop "treating people like garbage."

Ketchum, who lives in Indiana, said she drove to Old National Bank branches in Monee and Country Club Hills with the hope of avoiding long lines, just to withdraw money.

"You have to wait, got like 10 to 15 people in front of you," she said. "I sat there for like 45 minutes to an hour."

Ketchum said she's not been able to access her accounts online.

"I had to come to get my online banking set up," she said.

Maria Mesa came to the Old National Bank location in Lincoln Park on behalf of her cousin, who is in Mexico and can't access his account online either.

"He just wants to see his transactions, his activity, just to have control over his money," Mesa said.

A bank spokesperson said some customers were locked out of online banking accounts  because the right password was not entered. For security purposes, they could not reset it manually.

Client service call centers and banking centers have been helping customers with the issue. Some debit card users also experienced problems and that is being addressed too.

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