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Customers left frustrated as Truist Bank merger creates numerous problems

Customers have complained of long waiting hours and having money mysteriously disappear from their accounts.

ATLANTA — Issues continue to crop up among customers at Truist Bank. The problems are happening in the wake of the merger between Suntrust Bank and BB&T, which first sparked complaints in February. The merger formed Truist Bank. 

After 11Alive's report earlier this month, many more viewers expressed their frustration over issues they had with the bank for weeks. Joe Hirsch said he tried to take out a home equity loan with Truist but the check did not clear, and the money did not go back into his equity line. Hirsch said he spent hours trying to talk to bank representatives in person and on the phone. However, he said he's gotten no results or resolution. 

"I’ve never seen such bad customer service in my life," Hirsch said. "Truist is making the loss of my money my burden. They want to make me work to get my money back. It shouldn’t be that way. They should have someone dedicated or willing to call me back and to say 'here’s an update.'" 

Hirsch recently took to the sidewalk outside his local Truist Bank location, demanding answers in protest of his situation. He's also escalated his complaint to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.

"I’m actually trying to leave Truist Bank because I know I’m not alone in all the mess and problems they’ve been causing," he told 11Alive. "Unfortunately, I have so many bank accounts intertwined, it’s doing to be difficult."

Elsewhere, Marquenetta Clark-Bethune said she never had issues in the six years she banked with Suntrust. However, last month she said Truist failed to notify her of a series of transactions during the merger. Those transactions, which involved a third-party vendor, left her bank account in the red. 

Clark-Bethune told 11Alive the bank threatened to close her account. She said she heavily relies on child support and disability checks, but she could not reconcile the thought of having her account shut down.

"Even though it would completely make my account on the positive, I can’t afford my child support and that check to be eaten up," Clark-Bethune said. "After banking with them for six years, if my account does get closed, it’s going to be hard to open up another checking account, because it’s going to get reported. This is just very frustrating.”

RELATED: This Georgia man realized $2,000 was missing from his Truist Bank account -- so he called 11Alive

However, Clark-Bethune and Hirsch aren't alone in their frustrations. Other customers have reported missing out on thousands of dollars.

In a statement sent to 11Alive earlier this month, Truist said: "Protecting our clients and their accounts is a top priority for us."

Truist did not respond immediately to 11Alive's request Thursday about other issues customers were reporting. Dr. Ramnath Chellappa, associate dean of Emory University's Goizueta Business School, said the merger made Truist the sixth largest bank in the country. With two big banks coming together, Chellappa said growing pains were inevitable. 

RELATED: Truist, formerly SunTrust and BB&T, reveals its identity and logo

"We’re talking about two behemoths operating in a very different fashion," Chellappa explained. "Now, they’re trying to come together to serve one customer. People just expect a computer here, a computer there, they should all just work together. The truth of the matter is we’re dealing with systems that are complex and also subject to quite a bit of regulation.”

Chellappa said the merger happened so that both Suntrust and BB&T could become a bigger player in the marketplace and reach a common customer base. He touched on the hidden components to a merger including cultural and information systems changes. 

“This is like electricity or power," Chellappa said. "We only realize it’s there when it stops working, when we lose power. Otherwise, we don’t pay attention to it. Information systems cannot be taken for granted. They simply don’t just start working together.”

While the merger's early days continue, customers like Hirsch hope resolution comes soon.

"Somebody needs to own up and have some responsibility," Hirsch said.

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