M&T Bank announced in March that regulators approved its $7.6...

M&T Bank announced in March that regulators approved its $7.6 billion acquisition of People's United Bank. Credit: Bloomberg/Tiffany Hagler-Geard

Some Long Islanders were surprised to find they couldn't access their bank accounts over the Labor Day weekend when the Buffalo-based M&T Bank Corp. migrated over People's United Financial Inc. accounts as part of a previously announced merger.

M&T Bank announced in March that regulators approved its $7.6 billion acquisition of the Bridgeport, Connecticut-based People's United. M&T said it informed People's United customers that they wouldn't be able to access mobile and online services or bank branches from about 3 p.m. last Friday until Tuesday morning. Customers had access to ATMs, debit cards and credit cards during this period, M&T said.

After the holiday, the 38 former People's United branches on Long Island reopened as M&T Bank outposts and all consumers should have been able to access their accounts online or through apps, the bank said. The transition wasn't so smooth or timely for some Long Islanders.

Ed Dicken, who lives and works in Huntington, said he never received an email verification necessary to use the M&T banking app. When he called customer service, a recording informed him that staff were dealing with a high call volume. Then the call ended, said Dicken, CEO of Computer Surgeon Inc., a computer diagnostics and repair firm. Eventually he went to a bank branch, where he made a deposit in his business's bank account.

"The app still does not work," Dicken said Thursday night. "I can only access my account by driving to the branch," he added.

As of Thursday evening, the M&T website noted, "We are experiencing unusually high call volumes in our Contact Center" and "appreciate your understanding."

Since last week, customers have filed three complaints about M&T with the New York State Department of Financial Services, which oversees financial institutions, the department said.

"All our customers, both M&T and our new customers from People’s, should now have access to their accounts online, using our app, in our branches, and at 2,200 M&T Bank ATMs," spokesman David Samberg said in a statement. "As we communicated over the past few weeks, this weekend was a significant one for our customers, while we transitioned systems and converted accounts. To date, almost half of our new customers have been in touch with us for their banking needs, through one or more of our channels."

M&T now has 50 branches on Long Island, with its regional headquarters in Hauppauge. In all, the bank has about 1,000 branches from Virginia to Maine, the bank said.

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