Doing the right thing when nobody’s looking is so much better than being shamed into doing it when the world is watching.

That’s the lesson I take away from the Citizens Bank saga that I first chronicled on this blog a month ago.

In my follow-up Citizens Bank post, I detail how Geoff Williams wrote a piece about the saga at

America Online owns Wallet Pop, and on June 18 AOL thought enough of the story (“Bank robs customer: a cautionary tale”) that for eight hours it provided a link to Geoff’s post from its home page.

Prominent Placement Fuels Awareness

That prominent placement drew the attention of untold thousands of people, when you consider the more than 320 who took the time to post comments that were overwhelmingly sympathetic to my sister’s plight. Many laid out their own battles with Citizens and a variety of other banks.

Fast forward to June 23, five days after the Wallet Pop generated so much buzz. A Citizens Bank VP of “priority response” contacted my sister. A dialogue ensued and last week Citizens brought her repatriation tally up to $1,050, or the equivalent of five years.

(By the way, I won’t even get into the issue of compound interest, and how much in real money, over time, that the bank improperly deprived my sister.)

Now that the bank, more than 1 ½ years later, has given (at least partial) credit to where it was due, I’ll return the favor. After all, it could have tried to weather the negative-publicity storm and not given my sis another penny.

So Citizens deserves a pat on the back for its belated, beleaguered gesture. Thanks, Citizens Bank.

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