Friday, November 16, 2012

Situation Under Review

Today, Val takes on the banking industry.

I have a bone to pick with my financial institution. I think they've had it in for me since I closed my savings account and took my fortune elsewhere. There. I said it. I suspect retaliation for de-monetation. I can't even remember the reason, now. I think it had something to do with charging a fee if I made two or more deposits or withdrawals a month.

Fie on you, Bank Branch! If it's MY money, you should not have a say in how often I need to use it or grow it. It's not like I was draining the account, then re-opening another to get a fancy gift. Nor was I withdrawing huge chunks to buy run-down properties and flip them. So I took it out. The money. Not IT. Who do you think I am, a date of Jerry's friend Elaine? Unlike Elaine's anatomically-correct date, I explained why I was taking it out.

Okay, that one may be a bit far-fetched for a conspiracy theory. I'm sure it was a simple policy change that affected everybody with a savings account like mine. But I'm not here to dwell in the past. I took action when I was dissatisfied. Don't make me do it again, Bank Branch.


Hick was issued a reimbursement check for the bills he paid with his credit card for the business trip last week to Massachusetts. This involved airline tickets, housing, and food for three workers for five days. A hefty sum on a personal credit card. Upper four figures. We pay off our card every month, so I wanted to make sure the money was in the checking account. Normally, Hick's payroll check is directly deposited. But reimbursement checks are issued on paper. I took it to the Bank Branch for deposit on my way to the doctor's office on Thursday.

The teller girl looked at the check like it was a gossamer fairy wing. A unicorn horn nub. Bigfoot's ingrown toenail. You'd think she had never seen a paper check. That she had gone straight from Ron Moody as Fagin with his drawstring bag of coins in OLIVER! to electronic transfers. In three seconds flat. "Is this a payroll check?"

"No. That is done by direct deposit every month. This is from the same company, though. It's a reimbursement check." Let the record show that Hick had signed the back. That I had written FOR DEPOSIT under his signature. That I submitted it with a printed deposit slip bearing our name and account number. And that we have banked there for twenty-three years.

"There is probably going to be a ten-day hold on these funds."

This would not cause us undue hardship, because the institution where I now stash our cash has no limit on withdrawals and deposits. I could take out money to pay off the card, and put it back when the reimbursement funds were available. An inconvenience. But not a hardship. It's the principle of the matter.


Uh huh. Even the guy behind me, who stepped to the next teller girl, knew this loophole. As my drama in real life was playing out, I heard him say, "I want to cash this check. Then I'm going to deposit the cash into my account. The girl last time told me that would avoid the hold."

I looked at Teller Girl and raised my left eyebrow. The students call it The Stinkeye. She excused herself to go ask somebody important, who was in a glass-walled office discussing a home loan, making comments like, "I've never heard of that kind of loan. We can give it a try."

After five minutes, Teller Girl came back. "There won't be a hold. She signed off on it." Hmpf! I should say so. You would think that twenty-three years with no overdrafts would account for something. Last December, we went through the ten-day hold with the Christmas bonus. That's a Christmas bonus. Not an After The First Of The Year bonus.

I've a good mind to keep our money in an old sock buried in the back yard. The interest earned would be about the same. I'm reviewing the situation...


  1. And what if you had not brought your "stink eye" with you? You would have been stuck.

    Lucky for you, you took it along with you on your trip to the bank.

  2. The last indignity, whatever it was, was the straw at my bank. My Bank. Formerly a local pillar of the community, but bought, merged and sold beyond recognition over my years with it. The manager was notified I was closing accounts and took an interest. Why was I leaving and what could they do to keep my business. In a word, because they were a New York Bank and nothing.

  3. These banks act like you owe t5hem something for the lousy half of a percent interest they begrudgingly give you. A sock buried in the backyard is starting to sound like a good idea.

  4. I too have experienced Retaliation for De-monetation, so I'm glad to know it has a name. When I went to take it out, they were more horrified than Elaine and basically refused to close the account. Their excuse was that there were minute amounts of interest that were keeping the account open, and there wasn't a thing they could do about it. Then they'd charge me for going under my limit. I kept telling them to keep the interest. Phone calls were pointless, so I had to make four trips before it took.

  5. Sioux,
    Had I forgotten my stinkeye, I hope I would have remembered my piratey eyepatch. No need to let unwanted visitors swarm willy-nilly through the window to my soul.

    My bank, too, has donned and doffed many hats since I opened the checking account. That's why my real money is in a local institution that does not sell its loans to larger entities. We reward it with two savings accounts. In appreciation for our payment history, they drop our house loan below the going interest rate. One hand washes the other. My checking account bank does not practice good hygiene.

    As a personal service to my readership, I might just open up my back yard to other people's socks. Thanks for the inspiration.

    Remind me never to take one of your blue pens. I fear that you might hop into your criminal-chasing pajama jeans and pursue me like Dog the Bounty Hunter. Without the blond mullet.