I bank at US Bank.
Let me explain. Last week a client sent me a check, a good sized check. The check should have arrived in one to two days. As of yesterday it had still not arrived. Auto payments were beginning to hit my account causing a negative balance along with over draft fees of $37.50 each. I spoke with the client, whom I trust completely, and they assured me the check had been mailed. The client, who also banks with US Bank and at the same branch (but lives 200 miles from here) I might add, felt horrible about what was happening. I called the bank to explain to them what was happening and to find out if there was anything we could do since both of us banked at the same bank.
The first woman I talked to said all we had to do was have the client call and make a transfer to my account. She said it was an easy transaction since we both banked there.
The client then called the bank to make the transfer and to stop payment on the check that was lost in the mail. The person she spoke to informed her that she could not make a deposit into my account without being a signer on my account.
I know, WTF?
The bank suggested she do a “bill pay” through the bank system, however that would take at least three days to process. Meanwhile I am now overdrawn by more than $700, $150 of which was overdraft fees. So far the bank had not returned any payments. Not because they were being nice, they just hadn’t gone through the system yet.
I called the bank again and talked to some woman who was clearly bored with my story. She kept sighing as I tried to explain to her what was going on. Eventually it became clear that she was not the person I need to talk to and forwarded me on to someone else.
I asked this banker if they were going to return the payments that had hit and caused overdrafts. She told me she didn’t know.
My plan was to have the bank return the payments and I would make them with a credit card. Return the payments if I wasn’t going to be charged a fee for them.
“You are going to charge me $37.50 no matter what right?” I asked her.
“Yes” she said.
“Let me just be clear, if you honor the checks, which will cause me to be overdrawn you will charge me $37.50 per check, and if you return the checks, which would mean I am no longer overdrawn you are still going to charge me for being overdrawn for a few hours today, which will cause me to again be overdrawn?” I asked
“And you don’t know if these checks will be returned or honored” I asked.
“No, there is no way for me to know if the checks will be processed or returned” she said.
So, since I was going to be charged anyway I figured let’s just let it play out and maybe they will honor the checks. It would simply mean one less hassle in tracking down the returned checks and getting them squared with the businesses I sent them to. Checks usually get presented twice so clearing that up could take possibly two weeks.
I decided to let ’em ride and see what happens.
Today, I logged into the bank and saw that they had returned the checks and charged me all kinds of fees, returned check fees and overdraft fees.
US Bank received $6.6 Billion in the bank bailout.
In November of last year they charged me $37.50 because I was 8 cents overdrawn. They did honor the check however. That was really nice of them I must say.
Don’t get me wrong, this is my fault. The bank didn’t cause any of this to happen. However, they could have helped to minimize the costs of this snowball effect by allowing the client to transfer money into my account. I understand that people just can’t call and take money out of another person’s account but if people want to put their own money into someone’s account why should the bank prevent that?
Because the bank can’t charge $37.50 for each check that bounces if they do. That’s why.
I’ve been banking with US Bank for 12 years or so. I bank there because they are convenient and they have ATMs everywhere. Speaking of their ATMs, they have a little voice that comes on when you start the transaction. It is a woman’s voice which happens to have a very distinct British accent. It’s US Bank for crying out loud why the fuck do they use a British voice? Anyway, because of this recession, being a single mom, my inability to inherit gobs of money from a long lost relative, and because I have no net, I end up paying a lot of fees to this bank. If a client doesn’t pay on time or child support isn’t paid I still have to pay my bills and feed my kids. Because I run my account to the bottom and because I have no net to cover my ass when that happens I just assume the bank charges are a way of life and that I am a loser so I must just suck it up and pay it willingly.
I have asked, sheepishly because I am intimidated by the banks (see all the reasons above), for them to reverse fees from time to time. And they have, one, as a courtesy.
Even though I have had other deposits since this mess began I am still out all the overdraft fees which makes me still in the red because I have still not received the check that started the whole thing. The client and I have worked that out but it will still take a couple of days to get into my account. The bank isn’t finished charging me fees yet either. There are two pending today and then there will be the fees for having a negative balance.
Did I mention US Bank received $6.6 Billion in the bailout?
I’m paying their wages, I’m paying for their jets, and Mercedes and lake homes in foreign countries. I’m not talking about the bailout here, I’m just talking the fees they charge me. I’m paying for all these things and right now I can’t buy a gallon of milk.