Considering my general animosity for our impending protagonists, I really didn’t want to waste an entire column on a non-story. You know I’ve never cared for KC Chronicle “reporter” Brenda Schory who has all the moral fortitude and journalistic standards of a Trump publicist. Meanwhile, well-past-his-prime treasurer Chris Lauzen’s single-handed annihilation of the Kane County Republican Party hasn’t put him very high my list, either.
But since reasonable journalism requires setting the record straight if you know the truth, here goes.
Because she has a hard-on for Chris, Schory’s perpetually on the prowl for any “news” that will make him look bad regardless of its merit, or the lack thereof. And Schory’s fiction on First American Bank (FAB) “firing the county” is just another petty attempt to get back at Lauzen for his ongoing refusal to speak to her.
Truth be told, this supposedly sordid scenario has enough pettiness on all sides, though Schory should’ve known better than to tun it but she never does.
The festivities commence with FAB Executive Vice President Lawrence Zydowsky sending two letters to County chairman Corinne Pierog making the following claim:
Our bankers have noted a pattern of activity concerning the County’s accounts which indicate that the County’s banking activity may be at risk. Account safety requires that both First American and the County adopt appropriate policies and practices with respect to the compliance obligations for the County’s bank accounts.
After Lauzen ignored the missives calling on the County to adopt seven separate banking safety protocols, Zydowski fired the County thusly:
First American has successfully provided banking services for Kane County for many years. We consider this a treasured relationship, however, seeing that we have not received any formal response to our concerns, we request that you find a new bank.
Apparently Mr. Zydowski’s never heard the word “telephone” before because a simple call to Chris would have likely settled this absurdly minor kerfuffle in five minutes. You mean to tell me there’s a vast bureaucracy besieging all levels of county government such that it makes it difficult to deal with them? Say it ain’t so!
So, Zydowski’s butthurt reaction – after sending all of two letters to a county that has to contend with a $250 million budget – was to take his football and go home. One has to wonder how he managed to graduate from the sixth grade.
That said, Chris should’ve responded to the first letter in an effort to preserve what had been a reasonably good working relationship. He may not know how to set up voicemail on his cellphone, but I’m convinced he knows how to dial it.
But we all know Chris, right? He got his hackles up over some “lowly” banker giving him orders, so he immediately resorted to the Rage Against the Machine “F**k you, I won’t do what you tell me” school of business communication. Then just for good measure, Lauzen accused Zydowsky of “showing off” to his colleagues and “throwing some kind of weight around and acting as if he is entitled to the County’s business.” Which, while generally accurate, really didn’t need to be said.
So, much for that business relationship. Now that we’ve clarified all of that, here’s the reality behind this non-story.
My wife and I have accounts at FAB, Bank of America, and the KCT Credit Union. Of the three, FAB insists on the kind of insane security protocols that make me dream of Lucy Liu stalking me with that kind of persistence.
“Seven separate banking safety protocols?” That patently absurd overreach is a great way to aggravate and alienate your customers. It would seem that Mr. Zydowski doesn’t fully comprehend what the word “customer” means, either.
I know fraud is rife in this digital world, but FAB requires customers to regularly change their passwords and review account information. Then they threaten your accounts with dormancy if there’s a lack of transactions. The worst part is they force you to set up the kind of impenetrable multilevel online banking security that I’ve completely given up on because it would be much easier to hack into the CIA headquarters mainframe, instead.
To put it in perspective, neither BoA nor KCT require anything even approximating those FAB directives.
Yes! customers need to hold up their end of the banking bargain by avoiding the typical phishing pitfalls. But within those bounds of reason, the security onus should fall on the bank and not the customer because a bank’s primary product is security. That’s why those institutions were created in the first place.
And it’s particularly unreasonable for FAB to ask the same thing of a county government where the typical players tend to be a cut above the more fraud-prone average citizen.
So, why do I stay with FAB? Because they have the best business account deals around, I love their hilarious radio commercials, and my personal banker, Melanie Jobgen, is proactive, beyond competent, and she laughs at my jokes which is the far greater consideration of the three.
When FAB asks me to jump over yet another security hurdle I either ignore it or, with the exception of password changes, I call Melanie and she takes care of it. If it wasn’t for her, I’d move that account elsewhere in a flash because their anti-fraud requirements aren’t worth my time. My best guess is they’ve lost a number of customers as a result.
Of course, Brenda Schory made it sound like all banks make those kinds of demands when that’s CLEARLY not the case. I’m sure she knows that, too, which makes her the worst offender in this non-story story. On the bright side, I suppose if Brenda wasn’t using her “job” to exact revenge for the slightest of perceived slight, that revelation might just send me directly into cardiac arrest.
To sum it up, after his letters went unanswered, Mr. Zydowsky should’ve called Chris to minimally set up a Zoom appointment to work out the issues. Then FAB needs to ratchet their security conditions down to something more closely approximating other banks.
Chris should’ve been the adult and called Mr. Zydowski to set up that same meeting after the first letter. If the treasurer doesn’t want to abide by those rules, and I’d completely understand that decision, then he should have the basic courtesy of informing FAB it ain’t workin’ out and he’s switching banks.
But for Brenda “The Truth Doesn’t Matter” Schory to make it sound like there’s some sort of security breach or lack of fiduciary responsibility on Lauzen’s part is beyond the pale. It’s just another fine example of her capacity to distort the facts so she can wield journalism as a weapon with the full support of her Shaw Media boss lackeys.
As the police like to say, “Please move on folks. There’s nothing to see here.”