Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce [CIBC]

If you are elderly and have an Estate issue with the CIBC, you may as well Kiss Your Money Goodbye. The normal rules of banking don’t seem to apply when the CIBC deals with Estates. As long as the Estate Trustee is satisfied with the CIBC’s statements, it doesn’t matter if RRIFs aren’t distributed to the designated beneficiary; if Date of Death statements don’t have a complete list of accounts/assets; and if account signatories don’t match signature cards. If you expect the CIBC to meet these standards, you’ll need VERY good records of your own, a lot of money for lawyers and YEARS of time to get the matter sorted out. I know. It happened to my relatives. Here’s their story. My relatives, who I will call Wes and Bea, were in their 80s and had been married for 50 years when Bea died. A very recent Will placed Bea’s assets in a Trust from which Wes was to receive the interest. Another relative was the Estate Trustee. The CIBC placed two investments ($16, 000 and $13, 000), Bea’s bank accounts ($20, 000) and Bea’s RRIFs ($55, 000) in the Trust as part of Bea’s Estate- even though Wes was the beneficiary of the RRIFs. When the RRIFs were set up Bea had signed the CIBC’s whiz-bang paperwork making Wes the Designated Annuitant- which was supposed to make the transfer simple. Wes contacted the CIBC about this but they didn’t want to see his copies of the paperwork, said they couldn’t discuss it because of Privacy and told him they took directions from the Estate Trustee and Wes should contact him. (Good one, CIBC- foist the work on a man in his 80s because you are too lazy to check your own paperwork!) I contacted the Estate Trustee about this. The Trustee claimed to have relied on advice from the CIBC. This responsibility shifting game between the CIBC and Trustee continued and when Wes died, a year and a bit after Bea, nothing had changed. In that year, the Trustee calculated that Wes was to receive about $200 in interest from Bea’s Estate. By contrast, the Trustee had spent about $25, 000 from her Estate- EAT, lawyer’s bills, taxes and a whole series of unexplained withdrawals. In addition, the CIBC had not removed Bea’s name from the Joint accounts and these had also been used for Estate expenses. Enter Phase Two, the Shell Game: A week after Wes died, the $16, 000 investment was transferred from Bea’s Estate to Wes’ account. (Just like magic!) About a year after this, I received a revised CIBC Death of Death summary for Bea. Now, the CIBC stated that their only asset in Bea’s Estate was the $13, 000 investment (which had been entirely spent on Estate expenses.) The other assets all belonged to Wes. (1) The CIBC had finally found their copies of the RRIFs’ paperwork and they DID belong to Wes, just like he had told them- but FAR too late to benefit him! (2) Bea’s account, which had a few thousand left in it, was declared a Joint Account with Wes- but no documentation was produced. (3) The $16, 000 investment which had been transferred to Wes’ account and the account of Bea’s which had been closed-out in the year after Bea’s death had VANISHED. No record of them at all. (Magic!) The relative who is Bea’s Estate Trustee is also the Estate Trustee for Wes-but receives a larger share of Wes’ Estate. Not surprisingly, this new summary is quite acceptable to the Trustee. (Additionally the Trustee now disclaims responsibility for all the withdrawals from Bea’s accounts- they must have been made by Wes). I contacted CIBC Customer Care and the CIBC Ombudsman about the actions of the CIBC’s employees in misallocating an elderly man’s RRIFs, ‘losing track’ of $20, 000+ in accounts/assets and failing to remove access to Joint Accounts after being notified of a death. I provided copies of CIBC documents showing the $16, 000 asset as ‘Estate of Bea’ and also the EAT cheque the CIBC drew from Bea’s account (now declared Joint). The CIBC response was that the CIBC would NOT investigate its employees’ actions unless requested by the Estate Trustee. I then complained to the Banking Ombudsman who confirmed that Bank employees misallocating 10s of 1, 000s of dollars would only be investigated if requested by the Estate Trustee! So I’ve gone back to the children’s party game of Telephone. I ask my lawyer to ask the Estate Trustee to have his lawyer contact the CIBC with my questions and the replies come back the same circuitous route. It is slow and expensive – and predictably the question/answer is often so distorted that I need to ask again. Another year has gone and there are still unanswered questions. However, the CIBC has ‘found’ the $16, 000. It is back in Bea’s Estate (no explanation of course). The CIBC has also ‘found’ Bea’s missing closed-out account which they now claim was Joint with Wes (no paperwork of course.) And so it continues. If Wes had lived, I suspect the RRIF paperwork would still be missing- but, even if I’m wrong, any money Wes recovered would have gone to pay lawyer’s bills! The CIBC, the Completely Incompetent Banking Corporation.

Found At: Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce [CIBC] – estate issues; or how to make money disappear

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