Friday, September 29, 2006

TIAA-CREF computer problems

This article was recently published on the RISKS e-mail list ( Risks-Forum Digest Tuesday 26 September 2006 Volume 24 : Issue 44):
Date: Mon, 25 Sep 2006 14:34:00 -0400
From: "Peter D. Junger"
Subject: TIAA-CREF Payment Delays Because of New Computer System

On 6 Sep I faxed the paperwork to TIAA-CREF requesting a withdrawal from my retirement account expecting that it might take as long as a week before the money was wired to my account. It is now 25 Sep and I am still waiting.

I have spoken to several consultants about this problem. The first just said that it should not have taken that long and that he would see if hecould get it expedited. The next consultant was more forthcoming and said that the delay was caused by the fact that TIAA-CREF was installing a newcomputer system. (I had earlier been told in another context that the old system was written in COBOL back in the 1960s.)

Later consultants told me that as a University's account is transferred to the new system, withdrawal applications from retirees from that University have to be processed manually, rather than by the computer system. That strongly suggests that as more and more accounts are transferred to the new system the delays will get longer and longer.

There apparently has been no public announcement of this problem. (At least I found nothing in a Google search.) When I mentioned this to one of the consultants, she said that information that there was going to be aswitch-over to a new system was sent to account holders last year, but, when I pointed out to her that that announcement said nothing about delays, she said that she did not believe that they had been anticipated.

When I asked what happened to people who couldn't make a mortgage payment or something like that I was told by one of the consultants that TIAA-CREF was reimbursing people who had to pay late charges because of the delay. He didn't say what they did for people whose credit reports were damaged or those who lost a deal because they could not come up with a down payment in time or something like that.

One of consultants also told me that it might be six months before the switch-over to the new system was complete.

The consultants, who were all very considerate, all said that they had no contact [with] the people responsible for the actual processing of the withdrawal applications.

9 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

TIAA-CREF is still having problems. This is the second year in a row that my transfer of funds and my withdrawal of funds has been a totally ludicrous process! I have written to the Board of Trustee's and I filed a complaint with the SEC this morning.

11:04 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I have been trying to get TIIA-CREF to take action on my counts to for 4 months. I have wasted over 100 hours of my time on this, and they have done nothing but ompound error after error after error ad infinitum. NOTHING gets done and deadlines are approaching. Charlotte is an asylum, the inmates are running amuck, nobody is in charge, and there is no way for me to intercede, not even to bring a halt the absurdities.

7:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

TIAA-CREF made a big mess of my 403(b) contribution!!! (posted 05/18/07)

I have my 403(b) account with TIAA-CREF since 08/01/2006.

On 04/13/2007, TIAA-CREF sent me a letter mentioned that my account got switch from a RA account to a GSRA account. The letter cached my attention, so I started looking into my account activity. The more I compared the number among various statements and the website information, the more confused I was. Finally I realized TIAA-CREF made a whole mess of my contribution and provided inaccurate financial statement. I made so many calls and more than a month passed, there is no correction made to my 403(b) account, and there is big difference between the
contribution from my payroll statement, and the TIAA-CREF statement:

1. In year 2006, TIAA-CREF’s statement shows only half of my contribution, without any indication of my employer’s match.

2. My employer made consistent remittance to TIAA-CREF every month. But TIAA_CREF’s statement show no balance increase from 12/30/06 to 3/31/07.

3. There is big difference between 03/31/07 to current. From 03/31/07 to current, my balance jump 3 times of my previous quarter. There is no explanation why there is a big jump all of a sudden. The life-to-Date contribution has my employer total contribution correct (but nowhere else I can see the detail), but
employee life-to-date contribution is less than my total contribution. There is no track of all my contribution either.

I requested the investigation for over a month. So far there is no progress at all. Even the service representative can immediately spot the problem from their screen. No one in TIAA-CREF really looked at the mess they created.

9:50 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

TIAA-CREF fired so many people and still fired people during Allison reign. There are no morals and employee are worrying of being terminated or outsource. Don't expect anything to be done because employee are worrying whether today is their last day at work. It used to be efficient and productive, it is no more when Allison took over.

5:41 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I have been doing a 10 year systematic withdrawal from TIAA for the past 6 years. EVERY year has been ridiculous. I can’t wait to get the last 4 years over with. I started with a rollover to a 401K. Last year it took me 6 months to get the money and I finally gave up on the rollover and took the cash, paid the taxes. This year is already a problem and the many phone calls to get MY money have begun. Is TIAA having such money problems that they need to delay any cashing out????

6:43 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

(Feb 2008) I can reiterate everything I’ve seen re: problems at TIAA. I’m trying to get funds transferred by EFT to my bank and all I get is delay and doubletalk. Each time I call I get a different agent and each time I have to go through the entire process of tracking numbers, account numbers, bank address and telephone number. After several phone calls and just as many assurances from the agents, no funds have been moved to my bank. It’s obvious they have some serious problems.

9:52 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

There's no hope for TIAA-CREF these days with all the other great options for 403b contributions. We need to get busy and vote on TIAA-CREF with our feet by: a) convincing our colleagues to stop giving additional contributions and b) convincing our non-profits to eliminate TIAA-CREF from their options lists. It is little use for retirees to complain, as the TIAA hierarchy has every delaying tactic in the book in force.
I first became involved with TIAA-CREF in 1977, when they were the sole option with portability. Looking back, it turned out to be a dismal day. How dismal only became apparent during the past decade or so as I approached retirement!
TIAA has never had a useful program for tracking investment returns or paying out lumpsums. Once they've got your money, you are absolutely out of luck. It will be annuitized on a mysterious schedule that favors them, and leaves you eating porridge. There is no way to track the performance of any asset allocation you may choose in the annuity program. The only thing you can be certain of with TIAA-CREF is that your money will underperform any other way to invest your retirement contributions you can imagine. This explains why TIAA-CREF has no true lumpsum program. If they had one, everyone would use it.
Today, with all the options available, any non-profit employee who gives these turkeys even a single additional penny of their retirement contributions is nuts, no that's NUTS. If you are using them, please STOP. If you have friends who are using them, get them to stop NOW. Let's vote with our feet.
If your non-profit is still innocently using these jerks as one of their options, get them to at least STOP today (and switch to a straight-up place like Vanguard or Fidelity). Be a hero to your friends by keeping them from getting screwed. It is also a benefit to your non-profit, because their precious funds will magically start doing more, instead of less good.

5:55 PM  
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12:10 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

TIAA-CREF's web site has been down for several days now. The web site says: "Our site is temporarily unavailable, please try again later.

Due to heavy volume, we are experiencing delays. We are working as quickly as possible to resolve this, and appreciate your patience. "

It is hard to believe "heavy volume" would bring a web site down for days at a time. The truth is probably much worse than the message....

6:03 AM  

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