Banking adventure

Yesterday I deposited a rather large sum into my bank account. The sum was made up of two checks one for $5.99, the other for more than $35,000. I figured there would be a hold put on the funds so I went in to deal with a teller instead of using the ATM. When the teller saw the amount of check #2 she informed me that there would be a hold on the funds as I expected and then asked me if I would still like to make the deposit. Considering that the funds would do me no good in their current form, why would I not want to make the deposit?

The deposit was made and then she had to fill out some paperwork to officially inform me about the hold time on my money. Now that the money was deposited it was treated as a single amount, let’s call that amount $35,005.99. I was told that $100 would be made available to me immediately. Wait, shouldn’t that be $105.99? There’s no hold on the first check as it’s too small to have a hold put on it (holds start at $5,000) and I should get $100 out of the check with the hold. Well, since it was all deposited together I just get $100. (I’m not being stingy here but I would have had access to $105.99 if I’d done two separate deposits so why should I get access to less if I saved them some work by doing a single deposit?)

I understand the $100 immediately policy. It’s a courtesy to me as the customer as they need to wait for the check to clear before giving me the majority of the funds. Fine, o.k., so as soon as the large check clears I get the rest of my money. Well, sort of…

It turns out that I’ll be getting access to the funds in two stages. After five business days I’ll have access to an additional $4,900. (Presumably that plus the first $100 equals the $5,000 amount that triggered the hold in the first place.) Then, after ten business days I’ll get access to the outstanding balance of my deposit.

What? Either the check has cleared after five business days or it hasn’t. If five days isn’t enough (which these days should be more than enough) make it ten. Let’s say the check isn’t good and hasn’t cleared after five days, what exactly is the point of giving me $4,900? Or, if the check has cleared within the five day window, why can’t I have access to all of it?

Unfortunately I didn’t think to ask at the time but I will be e-mailing my bank to see if I can get a logical answer.

One Reply to “Banking adventure”

  1. Oh, the old “yes it’s your money, but no, we won’t let you have it” conundrum. Theoretically, according to banking laws, they should let you have access as soon as they get the clearance. Nowadays, that is usually within 1-2 business days. However, unless you really really bug them, they won’t do it. When we deposited a $50,000 check and we needed to write a check on it very quickly, we ran into this. Only by proving to them that the check had cleared already (I had a printout showing that the funds had indeed been withdrawn from the other account) did they give us access to the funds. Fortunately, I was working with the branch manager who understood our situation, especially after we explained that we were trying to buy a house in California. Moral of the story: Deposit your checks separately if one of them is more than $100. This is one of those “I hate the banking system” situations.

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