A Complaint of Unfair Business Practices Against Joint Account Holders: An Open Letter to First Tech


Dear Greg Mitchell,

Last year, my husband and I purchased a home in Redmond, WA. I am a Designated Real Estate Broker and I researched, procured and put under contract - my own home.

Since I work in the real estate industry, I have referred many clients to First Tech, mainly because of the attractive offerings you have for Microsoft employees. We chose First Tech for our loan because my husband, Kevin, is a long time Microsoft blue badge.

But being a customer in the First Tech world has been a totally unsatisfactory experience for me, the “joint” account holder.

I applied for a loan with First Tech, with my husband – who for some reason was deemed the “primary” holder of the account. We both secured the loan. Yet, somehow, I am treated as an un-equal in relation to my online account.

As the "joint" account holder, I cannot view my statements on line. Only the "primary" account holder has the right of viewing their account information online.

Let me be clear to point out that First Tech is okay taking my payment and you will report my payments to the credit bureaus. But for some reason, I am unable to access my own account statements. I also cannot access my tax records. I have come to find out that only the "primary" account holder has this right.

I already know you are aware of this issue. I’ve gone into the branch personally, with my husband - since he’s the primary account holder - to see if we could change me to the primary account status. That was not a possibility. (But really, just changing me to the primary account holder is not the right solution.)

I’ve also put an online complaint, twice – once in February 2017 and once in October 2017, and the response to my concern was priceless. Your online support suggested that Kevin give me his password. Because nothing says security like sharing your personal log in and password. Maybe, one day, if I’m lucky, Kevin will give me the password to access my own account. I can only hope.

So now, I have gone through the motions of complaining, and not being heard, and my concerns simply brushed aside. The silence on the part of First Tech is interpreted as a cool nonchalance, a problem that is swept under the rug in non-concern for their customers.

One may argue that I could get my statement in the mail. But honestly, in the technology based world that we live in, it doesn’t matter to me if you have sent a snail mail. Regular mail is not even on my radar, just like it is for most of your customers. Also, mail gets lost. I didn’t even know First Tech was sending me statements since First Tech had the wrong address. You used the address that we were living in prior to purchasing this home to send our statements to (a flaw in your process, IMO). Ironically, I wouldn’t have been able to change the address online, though, since I’m not a primary account holder.

This is a coding issue. An issue that can be taken care of by developers and coders. I would like to think you might have contacts or resources with some people from the “Tech” industry, as your name suggests. If not, I'm sure it can't be too hard to source.

Regardless, it’s not my issue that your technology is limiting.

The worse alternative, of course, is that you are purposefully discriminating against the joint account holder. I wonder how many of your joint account holders are from protected classes?

Although you have known about this issue for longer than the 9+ months I’ve been complaining, you have had ample time to correct this. Every person I have spoken with at First Tech is well aware of this issue, so I am sure this issue goes further back than the year I have been a "joint" account holder.

I personally find this practice offensive. What I am asking for is not an unreasonable request. It's a basic right for any person that has an account open, and who's account is being reported to the credit bureaus. I don't want an apology. I already know what you're doing is wrong. I want a solution and a timeline.

First Tech Credit Union Mortgage Holder,

Kristin Bushnell Designated Broker Bushnell Real Estate Solutions

Kristin Bushnell is Designated Broker of Bushnell Real Estate Solutions and Co-owner of Bushnell Craft Brewing Company in Redmond, WA. Check out my profile here.

If you are ever interested in chatting about real estate, contact me at kristinbushnell@gmail.com or call me at 425-559-1355. I'll buy you a beer (or non-alcoholic beverage, if you prefer!), and we can chat about real estate until your heart is content.

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