December 8th, 2014
by John Hambrock
I have a love/hate relationship with our banks. I say banks, because over the years, Anne and I have managed to open a number of different accounts with various banks, for a number of reasons. Several years ago we decided to open up a new checking account for our youngest son, who was about to head off to college. Naturally, we chose to do it through a bank we’d been doing business with for over 20 years. It was a shared account, which means Anne could deposit money as needed for school expenses, etc. One day, she and I went into the local branch of this bank to make a deposit (I won’t say the name of this bank, but I will tell you its logo has three initials in it), only to discover that our son, thinking Anne had already put in the money, had written some checks, which he assumed were good. They weren’t. The first check he wrote would’ve cleared with the amount he had in the account. But what the bank did was bounce the large check he wrote later first, and then proceed to bounce the smaller checks. When we asked the teller for a breakdown of the account, we discovered that there were $140.00 in bounced check fees (fees totaling more than the amount of the checks in question!). Our son should’ve gotten confirmation from us that the money had indeed been deposited, so this was partially our fault. How the bank handled the whole situation was unacceptable. It’s widely known that banks will (or at least used to), in the event of insufficient funds, often clear the largest check first, so that all of the other smaller checks bounce as well. When we explained the situation to the teller, and told her we were long-time customers, she was not able to offer any sort of break on these fees. This was an unfortunate mistake on our part, and the bank took advantage of it. Shortly after, we closed all of our accounts with this bank.
I wrote this strip after it was all over. And this bank lost some very good customers over $140.00.
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