Bank says she is dead, offers condolences, but grandma is very much alive


BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) – Two letters from Dianne Wingo’s bank have caused her a great deal of consternation: the first, received on July 11, expressed KeyBank’s condolences to Wingo’s family due to her death. The second letter offered the same sympathy from the bank over the death of Wingo’s late husband—even though he died 4 years ago.

“Because who, living, ever expects to read their own condolence letter?”

The Buffalo grandmother was stunned. KeyBank knew Wingo’s husband Veo had passed away years ago, because Dianne notified the bank following his death, and had his name removed from their home equity loan.

But the letter with her name on it was deeply troubling, “because when I read the sentence that stated, ‘we are sorry for the loss of Dianne Wingo,’ and I was like, what? I couldn’t believe it.”

Wingo’s initial thoughts were, maybe the Social Security Administration had mistakenly added her name to its Death Master File, the kind of error the government agency commits thousands of times a year.

If that was the case, Social Security—-believing Dianne was dead–would terminate her survivor benefits, but Social Security officials said their records show she is still alive, solving part of the mystery, “That was a relief because that is my source of income. So that was a relief.”

Looking for answers, Wingo went to KeyBank, and asked a branch manager about this terrible blunder, “He assured me that they did have in their system that my husband had passed, but he could not explain why I just received the letter.”

Two more calls would follow, with apologies, one from a bank attorney, the other from someone in KeyBank’s executive suite offering understanding of her situation, but Dianne had to draw the line, “I had to explain to her, no, if you did not receive one of these letters, then you do not know how I feel.”

News 4 also contacted a spokesman for KeyBank, who issued a brief statement, saying the bank had contacted their client, confirming the errors, “the letters were sent by mistake and that we are sorry for any concern this caused.”

How did this happen? The spokesman would not say. Was it an isolated incident, or a case of mistaken identity? That is hard to say, but Dianne Wingo prays, it never happens to anyone else.

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