Welcome to Banking 2009

Nice Banks -- and Customers -- Finish Last

I have been a loyal, if sometimes disgruntled, Wells Fargo Bank customer since 1996. Wells Fargo is the quintessential Big Bank. I stay with them for one reason and one reason only: convenience.

Being self-employed, I do not qualify for automatic payroll deposit. There is nothing automatic about my banking. I deposit checks when I receive them from clients. There are two WF branches within 2 miles of my house and 3 WF ATMs inside supermarkets near my house. There are WF branches and ATMs dotted throughout my city and every city I visit regularly.

Things I I like about Wells Fargo include having 24/7 online access to my accounts and envelope-free ATM depositing. I've gone paperless so don't get my monthly statements by mail anymore. That's ok, tho. I print them out for my bookkeeper to do my P&L.

Things I accept about Wells Fargo: The money in my WF accounts is there for easy access/bill paying. I've long since given up expecting any kind of interest, even though I have a savings account linked to my checking (gotta love that overdraft protection!).

In short. 99.9% of my interaction with Wells Fargo is via computer or ATM machine. I only go into a branch to

a) Dispute an overdraft fee (most times I win), or

b) Deposit "special" checks that are too big to put through the ATM. '

Trust me, these "special" check situations are few and far between. On the one hand, I'd be thrilled to have all my deposits be $5,000+. On the other hand, I'd go insane if I had to deal with WF's tellers and their ridiculous rules on every single deposit.

Give Me Some Money!!!

Don't You Want My Money? I Sure Do!

Things that make me question my choice in banks:

I could devote several capsules to my run-ins with Wells Fargo. But the more recent ones all center around deposit snafus and associated customer service (or lack thereof).

One time my dad wrote me a check but addressed it to "Ms. Mighty Hubby's Name" instead of Mighty My Legal Last Name. Notwithstanding the fact the I use my maiden name, have my WF account in that name, and that name is also my father's last name, they refused to let me deposit the check. I had to tear it up and prevail upon my poor, old-school dad to issue me a new check in the correct name.

My next experience of note involved depositing a check for slightly over $5,000. The issue this time was the amount of time WF froze the check. WF quoted me a hold time of 10 business days. Not 10 days, ten business days. I made the deposit the day after Christmas and they finally granted me access to "my" money on January 9th.They claimed it was because it was not drawn on a local bank. Hell-oooo? Wells Fargo is this gigundo national presence. Wells Fargo has branches in the town where this bank's headquarters is, less than 100 miles from my home. The issuing bank has branch offices within 15 miles of downtown Sacramento. It's not like the check was written off The Bank of Far, Far Eastern Outer Mongolia.

I still had a modicum of Christmas spirit left in me so I handed them the check and went off to bide my time (and pocketbook) till the 9th.

 Fast-forward two weeks. Another check arrives in the mail. It's a life insurance payout on one of my dad's policies. It's from Prudential Insurance. It's official looking and typed. It's drawn on Wachovia Bank, NA.  It's a bit less than $5,000 but I don't take any chances. I want -- no, I need -- this money pronto.

I've learned my lesson. I take nothing for granted. Before heading over to my neighborhood WF branch I Google Wachovia bank locations in Sacramento -- just in case. Yes! There's one 6.23 miles away. If it comes down to cashing the check, I'm definitely willing to drive that distance.

Notice how those horses stampede full speed ahead over everyone and everything
Notice how those horses stampede full speed ahead over everyone and everything

What's it gonna be, WF?

I start with Wells Fargo first. I hand my check to the teller, who looks about 12. I say, "I'd like to deposit this check, but not if you're going to put a 10-day hold on it." The teller doesn't know what kind of hold they will put on it. She calls over the uber-teller, who's maybe all of 19. The uber-teller runs the check through a machine to check the routing number of the issuing bank.

Good news! The hold this time is only going to be 5 business days, which puts me in touch with my money one week from today. Bonus, I can access $100 of it tomorrow morning. Wow! This is a big improvement over last time. This is real banking, Wells Fargo style!

I ask them how they determine the length of time to hold a check and whether checks like this one, slightly under $5,000 go through the ATM. I casually mention that I often make deposits of $1,500 to $2,500 through the ATM and they clear the next day. I'm just trying to understand how the system works.

Now comes my favorite part: The uber-teller explains to me that Wells Fargo's ATMs have different rules than inside the branches. "Ok, so how can I find out what the ATM policy is so I can make an informed decision about depositing my check in here vs. going outside and putting it in the ATM?"

This question is obviously not in the teller manual. But the uber-teller answers as best she can. There is no "ATM Department" per se. I see. So basically, ATM machines formulate their own policies? Too bad the ATMs aren't making the policies for the tellers. They'd be doing Wells Fargo customers a huge favor.

But Wachovia is calm, waving and intertwined with customers. Ahh...
But Wachovia is calm, waving and intertwined with customers. Ahh...

I should also mention that during this exchange the 12-year-old teller refuses to make eye contact with me. I was being super polite, I swear I was! Then, she covers her mouth with her hand and actually yawns! If my account balance hadn't been so puny I would definitely have said something sarcastic. This is obviously a learning experience for her. Can she possibly be that bored? I know I'm getting pretty tired of this horseshit. Maybe she is too.

In the end I take the check back and drive the 6.23 miles to Wachovia. The difference is like night and day, or debit and credit in bank parlance. Every customer in the branch is acknowledged with a smile. The staff go out of their way to be helpful, even though I'm not a Wachovia customer. They cash my check. I'm in and out within 10 minutes.

I can't help but notice the signage announcing "Wachovia is now part of Wells Fargo." Obviously no one has informed the staff back at the Wells Fargo Freeport Blvd. branch. The Wachovia staff know what's up, tho.  They dread being subsumed into Wells Fargo. Like me, they fear their customers are in for a rude awakening. Too bad it's not the other way around.

Who's Wooing Who?

All factual information related to the merger comes from www.bizjournals.com/philadelphia/stories/2008/09/29/daily46.html

No surprise, the merge-er is Wells Fargo and the merge-ee is Wachovia. Wells Fargo is one of the few major U.S. banks that has remained consistently profitable during the credit crisis, while Wachovia struggled due to investments in mortgage-backed securities.

Well, duh! I wouldn't dare try to get WF to loan me any money. I have enough trouble getting them to deposit my checks!!


The Merger: By the Numbers

The acquisition of Wachovia by Wells Fargo will create the largest bank in the United States, surpassing Bank of America for that distinction.Wells Fargo and Wachovia will have the largest deposit base in the country, creating a coast-to-coast banking franchise for consumers.

San Francisco-based Wells Fargo (NYSE:WFC) has $609 billion in assets, $418 billion in net loans, $339 billion in deposits, $151 billion in mutual fund assets under management and 3,327 branches in 24 states.

Charlotte, N.C.-based Wachovia (NYSE:WB) has $812 billion in assets, $485 billion in net loans, $448 billion in deposits, $107 billion in mutual fund assets under management and 3,348 branches in 21 states.

The combined company will have $1.37 trillion in assets, $713 billion in U.S. deposits and 6,675 bank branches, 12,227 ATMs, 26.2 million retail household customers and 15.7 online customers.The combined bank will have a presence in 18 of the 20 largest metro areas and 6,400 employees.


The combined company will have retail banks in 39 states and the District of Columbia. Wells Fargo now enters retail banking for first time in Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Delaware, Alabama, Connecticut, Florida, Georgia, Kansas, Maryland, Mississippi, New York, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia and Washington, D.C. Wells Fargo already has a presence in Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas (pending), California, Colorado, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Michigan, Minnesota, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Mexico, North Dakota, Ohio, Oregon, South Dakota, Texas, Utah, Washington, Wisconsin, and Wyoming.


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Comments 72 comments

mandybeau 8 years ago

In New Zealand Bank Tellers are one of a kind, and I mean one of a kind. They use every cent of their meagre salaries to buy rings, and jewels,then when the peasants on the dole, come in they extend a bejewelled hand, that won't bend, because all moving joints are encumbered with rings. Most are over 40, but a hell of a lot are over 50, and there are quite a few over 60.

They are numb brained by and large, think that the Banks money is their own. As they actually seldom have any of their own. I suppose that this is not surprising.They get off on knocking back the little guy, that wants a mortgage, telling him/her that their pay criteria doesn't meet the required standard. While they are on low wages themselves. Its a total crack up.

They have bad debts, (amazing) delinquint credit cards, a low salary, and still cannot see that they are not superior.

Husbands are small men, that no one else wants, Men that are prepared to put themselves in hock, to have the latest lounge suite.

But never mind ladies when I was married to a person that, worked in a Bank, we gave bad taste parties at the local, that we went to, and nominated someone, that we thought was ultimately, theworst in taste.

haha recognise yourselves ladies, They never suspected a thing the winner (the person nominating the worst taste person, got a bottle of champers and a then $50.00 bar tab.

I go into the same banks and they are still there, and yes they are plonking the tacky jewellery, around their necks, and arms.

I have a theory, when Bank ladies run out of body parts,to adorn with this junk, and only then do they retire.

Zsuzsy Bee profile image

Zsuzsy Bee 8 years ago from Ontario/Canada

MightyMom! The only contact I had with WellsFargo here in Canada was when I needed a loan to replace the roof of my house. I was treated well, they gave me the loan even though I had three strikes against me 1. being a woman 2. being single 3. being self employed. (These are the criteria most of the banks around here use to yeah or nay a requests for a loan.)

Everything went according to plan until the building that housed my tailor-shop burnt to the ground... the insurance was taking their sweet old time... I had to ask for an extension on my monthly payments... Well needless to say it is not a pretty picture I could paint for you... The fines and extra interest nearly killed me... Whenever I had to go in to discuss my loan I felt like curling up in a fetal position in the middle of the train tracks. Just hearing the name of WellsFargo in the news gives me the shivers. Thank God I was able to get them payed off since and I will never want to deal with them again.

Great Hub MightyMom I feel for you its tough when there are not too many other choices. You'd think that with the computer age and the banks all being interconnected in one way or another that it wouln't take 10 business days to clear a cheque.

Maybe its time to start 'banking' out of a shoebox under the bed again...

kindest regards Zsuzsy

Storytellersrus profile image

Storytellersrus 8 years ago from Stepping past clutter

Hey MM, I tried to talk my kids out of using WF, but it was convenient to them so they ignored me.  Now they are charged fees for calling customer service on the phone!  It's absurd. 

But my ATM is not connected to my bank- Chase- either.  It's a different system and the bank encourages me to make my deposits at the window during service hours.  Still, there are times when that isn't convenient and I have problems.  Is it better than a mattress?  Hard to say, haha.  Thanks for the hub.

goldentoad profile image

goldentoad 8 years ago from Free and running....

MM- I'm a Wells Fargo customer and its only out of bank convenience too, I hate going inside, and use the ATM whenever possible. I'm glad to know I'm not the only frustrated with their personal service.

Mighty Mom profile image

Mighty Mom 8 years ago from Where Left is Right, CA Author

Mandybeau, your description of bank tellers is a trip! That is too funny, especially the little contest for worst taste. I think we have some bank employees like you describe here, too. But somehow they are not allowed to work at WF. WF only hires people under the age of 15.. They don't like employees who know anything about banking or might have any kind of service attitude. LOL. Thanks for stopping in.

Zsuzsy Bee, your bank loan story says it all. Glad you got through it intact and learned your lesson!

Storytellersrus, You sound like my husband! He is the "why do you stay there?" voice of banking reason. I'm all too familiar with the fees. Don't know why it costs $1 for the ATM to print out a statement of my last 10 transactions when it doesn't charge for printing out a statement of only the most recent transaction. Like are they making serious coin on this "service" or what?

As to linked accounts, I have my WF accounts linked to my USAA accounts. USAA doesn't have ATMs either, but I can transfer $ from WF (and vice versa when I see myself getting close to the ozone layer with WF).

GT -- I suspect there are a lot of us Californians who put up with their abuse because they have ATMs everywhere. I guess that counts for something. Thanks for sharing!

justmesuzanne profile image

justmesuzanne 8 years ago from Texas

I was a phone banker for Wells Fargo for 5 months once. I still have a small account with them that I use just for things that are paid by ACH draft. There is a reason why their customer service is often awful. They hire mostly young, inexperienced people who don't know what they are doing and don't really understand how banks work. My "supervisor" was half my age, and anytime I asked her a question or told her anything, she would just shout it out to the room at large (a room full of people on the phone with customers) and ask, "Does anyone know anything about this?" As far as holding funds, collecting fees, etc. That's how they make money. They will hold your funds as long as they can, and they like it if you are overdrawn. More fees for them.

My other bank, Gauranty Bank, is far more personable, small, the folks working there (all grown-ups) know me by name, and call me if there is a problem. Naturally, I do most of my banking with them.

WFB doesn't care if they keep customers. As you say, they are worldwide. They will always have plenty of customers and huge corporate accounts. For your personal banking, it is best to choose a small bank or S&L where you can really get to know the actual humans who work there.

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ColdWarBaby 8 years ago

I have had no positive experience with any bank for at least fifteen years. When I was living in Connecticut, about twenty years ago, banking wasn't bad. I could pay all my utility bills at my bank when I deposited my pay each week. I got all my cancelled checks with my monthly statement so I had proof of payment if any were disputed. The bank wanted my business and was willing to provide halfway decent service in exchange. That was then, this is now.

I have had no accounts of any kind whatsoever for around five years and have no intentions of opening any. Doesn't matter much anyway. At the rate things are deteriorating there probably won't be any banks in another five years or so.

Mighty Mom profile image

Mighty Mom 8 years ago from Where Left is Right, CA Author

Thanks, Justmesuzanne. Your experience corroborated for me that a big part of the problem is WF's hiring practices. I thought maybe I was just getting old, but their tellers really are YOUNG. I agree with you -- there are small banks that truly do provide real service. I even had a wonderful bank client (community bank) and they showed me that good, old fashioned caring is not dead.

I think maybe it's time for MM to wise up and stop banking with the Walmart of the financial industry!

CWB -- Good for you for being bank-independent. These days under the old matress is the safest place for money, it seems!

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sandra rinck 8 years ago

well I hate Wachovia, they were good to me on my loan until I tried to sell my car recently because of "situations" that came up and I couldn't afford it. I was never late paying, I never missed a payment, my account was perfect until I tried to sell.

long stroy short, I could have sold my car for seven grand and they could have taken an 800 loss but instead, it got repoed and they sold it for 4000 and now expect me to pay the difference plus an addition 2 grand for them selling, cleaning (which it was nearly perfect), some repossesion fees, blah,blah, blah...

see but now they don't get anything. I never banked with WF but I hate BoA as well. I had payments set up to on ebillpay with them but something came up, I didn't have the money tried to cancel the transations, told them point blank, I do not have the money to pay those bill....

they didn't care, they told me they would be payed and I would be charged for the over draft fees as well.

WaMu is heading in the same direction and I thought they were better but they aren't. Since then I try to do eveything with cash and use the bank to cash checks only.

rockinjoe profile image

rockinjoe 8 years ago from Standing right behind you!

Hi MM. It's shameful the way banks treat their customers. That $5000/10 business days thing is just ridiculous.

Hide your money in a Maxwell House can buried in the yard, like I do.

Hmmm, maybe that was stupid of me to let that out. Nice hub, as usual!

Mighty Mom profile image

Mighty Mom 8 years ago from Where Left is Right, CA Author

Hi Sandra, That is a terrible story about getting your car repo'd. Talk about adding insult to injury! I'm chuckling to myself because another of my lame-ass excuses at to why I stay with WF is that I have several automatic deductions that come out of that account -- newspaper, Direct TV, etc. I'm just too lazy, I guess, to have to move all of that to a new bank. I keep telling myself when I run out of my current batch of checks I'll move my account...

RJ, I'm really bummed. I have been trying since I published this hub to edit it to include my selected video (Spinal Tap singing "Give Me Some Money") and of course several personal finance/bank related Amazon capsules. I can't seem to get my "done editing" button to take the changes. Gets stuck in "working" mode. I believe it is some vast WF conspiracy. They are tapping my Hubs now!

Don't worry about anyone finding your buried money. All we know is you live in a van down by the river. We don't know which river and don't know which bank, so it would be hard for someone to find your coffee can. But I do agree -- I am not sure I trust the term "FDIC insured" any more than I trust anything else these days!

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sandra rinck 8 years ago

I went into WaMu yesterday and I was reading the banners inside, it read: "FDIC insured up to 250,000". I asked the teller why it says 250 when it supposed to be 200, she didn't know of course.

Have you heard anything about this? FDIC insurance up to 250,000 instead of 200,000? Never heard anything about it going up from that. You?

Misha profile image

Misha 8 years ago from DC Area

Did you inherit a fortune Sandy? ;)

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sandra rinck 8 years ago

no just a check from a very special friend who is like an angel to me! ;)

Misha profile image

Misha 8 years ago from DC Area

I doubt it has enough zeroes to make a difference in this case :)

Yet, those are only numbers, when the time comes FDIC won't have any money for that, so don't count on it :(

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sandra rinck 8 years ago

I was actually just wondering why it said 250, when all I heard was 200. I suppose I am wondering if WaMu is lying or adv. falsly. Could they actually be so coy?

Misha profile image

Misha 8 years ago from DC Area

I really don't remember what is the exact number, and as I said I don't think it makes any difference in the end - they won't pay a dime to 99.99% of customers. So it does not really matter what label they have on it - but some people may believe it does, and then it becomes an untrue ad...

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sandra rinck 8 years ago

True, but people may be gobbling up their advertising as true and dumping their hard earned money in the bank believing it is true.

But yeah, I getcha, doesn't make a difference but could if people knew it was a lie maybe they could save themselves 50g. I dunno :) love ya Misha!

Mighty Mom profile image

Mighty Mom 8 years ago from Where Left is Right, CA Author

It appears that the $250k per insured account per person is correct. Seems to me if you are playing with that kind of coin, tho, you probably have better places to put your $ than in a deposit account. Not that I would know about that, of course...


RGraf profile image

RGraf 8 years ago from Wisconsin

We are having huge issues with Associated Bank. They are holding checks drawn locally for 5 days though the person who wrote the check shows the money leaving their account the very next day. Associated sits on the funds for 4 extra days. We also are now being charged overdraft fees when there is no overdraft. Tellers cannot find the reason. Bank managers are trying to refund us the unexplainable charges. Corporate steps in and says that they are legit and not to be refunded. We are actually talking to a lawyer to see what we can do since now a few thousand in fees has been assessed and no one at Associated can explain it. I think most of the big banks are out to get us.

Mighty Mom profile image

Mighty Mom 8 years ago from Where Left is Right, CA Author

Hey there, RGraf! Your story, sad as it is, sounds typical. The one that I absolutely, positively cannot get past is the delay on funds transferred electronically between banks. I have linked accounts at Wells Fargo and USAA. I go online and transfer funds. It shows as "debited" from one bank, but doesn't show up as a "credit" in the other bank for 5 days, either. So what exactly is the advantage of online banking? Shouldn't it be immediate?

The overdraft fees sound like a nightmare. I hope you have an online account like mine. It shoulds me all transactions and balances in my accounts at all times. It could be used to prove your case (?). What a crock. I'd be shopping for a new bank if I were you. But I'm me, and I should be shopping for a new bank, too. Instead, I rant and rave here on HP. Thanks for listening and sharing!

foxility profile image

foxility 8 years ago

Wow. that's f'd up. Well, banks are just like any other busniness.

Specificity profile image

Specificity 8 years ago from EAU CLAIRE, WI

Yeah, it's a rant and rave, but a fun read, too. "The Bank of Far, Far Eastern Outer Mongolia" made me laugh right out loud. You have a sense of humor that I would not want to be on the receiving end of!

Mighty Mom profile image

Mighty Mom 8 years ago from Where Left is Right, CA Author

Hi Foxility. Sometimes I think I get confused. Is the money in my bank MY money or THEIR money? Should I be feeling grateful somehow that they allow me to use it? And then I smack myself back to reality...

Specificity. Why thank you! I'm actually pretty tame compared to some of the sharp-tongued hubbers here. All in fun, tho. Only skewer people and institutions that are asking for it:-). Thanks for stopping by! MM

SweetiePie profile image

SweetiePie 8 years ago from Southern California, USA

Hi Mighty Mom,

My friend's mom is also a happy and loyal Wells Fargo customer.  I am with the local credit union because there are so many near by, and the service is so good most of the time. I am not a business owner though, so I am sure that is much more of a headache, but I must say I envy you being fully self employed.  With not getting a hoped for promotion at work I hope more and more to turn the online writing thing into a full time thing, but that might be far off.  It is good side money for the present time though.

countrywomen profile image

countrywomen 8 years ago from Washington, USA

MM- I have been a little behind lately and just came across this hub. Anyway I like our local credit union and also US Bank. I have been with Bank of America too but they insist on too many small things like minimum balance and all. I once had a late fee in bank of America which they didn't waive in spite of me calling them (my BOA credit card was tied to the BOA checking account but still 2 days isn't sufficient). I guess Banks make money by trying to charge all these sorts of fees. Thumbs up for a nice hub.

gwendymom profile image

gwendymom 8 years ago from Oklahoma

MM, I am sorry that your bank treats you so crappy. My husband is having trouble with a bank that is in charge of his trust that his grandmother left him. His grandmother left her three children 1200 + acres of land and mineral rights. After the death of his father the share that belonged to him was then passed down to his three children, my husband, his sister, and his brother. The bank has told us that we do not own the land or have any rights to what may be done to the land but continue to send quarterly dividends for crp or royaalties from oil wells. My husband has spents lots of time researching the money that has been recieved from oil companies to the banks from the oil and gas administration and the totals are not adding up, when my husband has questioned the bank about the discrepencies the bank will send paperwork with large portions blacked out and no information that is relative to the question that was originally asked. My husband has since hired a lawyer and they have a certain amount of time to come up with the paperwork dating back to 1985. It will be interesting to see how it all works out.

I hope that you find a better bank too, and soon. I think the banking industry has a huge God complex and we are all suffering for it. I like RJ's idea, coffee can buried in the backyard so more appealing everyday.

Mighty Mom profile image

Mighty Mom 8 years ago from Where Left is Right, CA Author

CW and G-Mom! What a lovely treat to see two of my favorite hubber ladies here! I've been missing our late night romps with Christoph/Pepe et al. Hope you are both doing well! I appreciate your comments here. Thanks for the tip, CW. Credit unions are supposed to be more service oriented. I think I may go that route, as there are a lot of CUs here that I know I can qualify for. G-Mom, that experience of your husband's sounds surreal. I love the paperwork with large portions blackened out. I was just about getting ready to suggest it's time to bring in a lawyer -- glad you're already doing that.

The only problem for me with the coffee can buried in the backyard is I chronically lose things and would probably forget where I buried it. Which, in effect, would give me access to my money about as fast -- including search and digging time -- as I now get from Wells Fargo. LOL.

Christoph Reilly profile image

Christoph Reilly 8 years ago from St. Louis

A few years ago, my back--a local called Mercantile, who I had been with since I was 16--was swallowed by a larger bank. I can't even remember the name of that one because it continued to be swallowed and swallowed like 5 times over the next two years--just like that drawing of the line of fish about to swallow the smaller fish in front of it. It is now U.S. bank and has been for awhile. I had the same situaltion with the check over $5000. In fact, it was over $10,000, and they held it for 20 days. But, when I deposited it, someone screwed up and froze my entire account, even the money that had already been in there. Checks started bouncing like ping pong balls. It took me several days to get it all straightened out.

I have seen their rates, overdraft fees, and that stupid fee for the statement from the ATM which you describe go up and up. Most recently, there was another screw up where I had transferred money from my saving to my checking, which is my normal way. Money goes into savings, and comes out as I need it. They wrongly acted as if I had deposited a check as opposed to transferred money--which is available immediately. So they bounced a debit payment, and then another and another. And on, giving the money they said I didn't have, and then hitting me with an overdraft charge. Of course, I didn't know anything about it until 3 days later when I got the dreaded card in the mail. I was hit with these insufficient funds charges to the tune of $125. It took a few hours, but I finally got them to credit most of it back, but they kept one charge, like dickering at a swap meet. That was a friday, and that charge actually DID leave me overdrafted by $10.00. It was late friday afternoon at this point. I didn't get around to transferring more money into the account until Saturday, only to find they had hit me again that morning (Sat.) for having a negative balance! But Saturday is not a business day, when it suits them. Oh...they piss me off!

countrywomen profile image

countrywomen 8 years ago from Washington, USA

MM- One of my office colleagues left in the first week of January and we haven't hired anyone to replace him. I am really finding it difficult to spend more time these days on hub pages. Anyway as you mentioned CU are more friendly and so far I have never had any unpleasant surprises. And even there interest rates for deposits can be .25% more than regular banks. Hope you do check out your local CU soon. Once again its nice to be back into the hub family discussions which we used to have earlier.

gwendymom profile image

gwendymom 8 years ago from Oklahoma

MM, now that I tyhink about it a little more, I might have some troubles burying the money in my backyard too. I can just see my pets digging them up and spending all my hard earned cash on milk bones and chew toys. I bet they have already made up the map on getting pet smart.

Mighty Mom profile image

Mighty Mom 8 years ago from Where Left is Right, CA Author

Banks having a God complex. What a joke!

Mighty Mom profile image

Mighty Mom 8 years ago from Where Left is Right, CA Author

Christoph -- Ah, thanks for the memories! Wells Fargo perpetrated two of those additional transgressions against me, too. I went to a WF branch looking to open a special kind of savings account that would avoid fees (having found out by accident that such a linked account was available to me -- they do not tell you these things up front, natch). Somehow the person who was supposed to open that account ended up freezing my existing accounts. I found this out when I tried to withdraw cash at an ATM. It was right before Christmas and I had no access to any of my money. Back then WF was my only bank. It was a nightmare. They did end up sending me a nice fruit basket, tho. LOL. Like a few pears, apples and a banana make up in any way for the inconvenience they caused.

Not long ago WF did the same thing to me, too. They continued to let me use my debit card even though there were insufficient funds to cover the transactions. Then proceeded to charge me overdraft protection fees as well as additional fees -- over $150 all told. As I had been looking at my balance online like a hawk, I was genuinely puzzled as to how this could occur. The culprit, once again, checks showing as cleared when they really were not. Not for anything, but if you are over your credit limit on a credit card and you try to use the card, it comes up "declined." Why wouldn't my bank simply decline the debit card transaction? Too rational and not lucrative enough for them, I guess.

CW -- Sorry you've been charged with more work, but I guess it's good job security for you. We do miss your sparkling comments and POEMS, tho! I hope to see you around during after hours (PM) comment chats!

G-Mom. LOL. Good point. Those pets are sneaky. You just know they will grab your hard-earned cash and head right to Pet Smart and they will buy out the store and probably even get themselves groomed!

Mighty Mom profile image

Mighty Mom 8 years ago from Where Left is Right, CA Author

Oops -- Double posted on myself!

countrywomen profile image

countrywomen 8 years ago from Washington, USA


countrywomen profile image

countrywomen 8 years ago from Washington, USA

MM- WOW!! That is such a positive way of looking at it. Yes I certainly love job security. Hopefully PST after hours I will have more time to spend. Thanks for appreciating my comments and poems. I miss your poetry too. Btw have you seen Lita's poetry challenge?

cgull8m profile image

cgull8m 8 years ago from North Carolina

Great Hub, I wanted to switch to Wells Fargo, but I was wondering is there a minimum balance we have to maintain. I am in WAMU, they are doing a good job, but there is no minimum.

gwendymom profile image

gwendymom 8 years ago from Oklahoma

MM, I am trying to get some hubjacking action going for this evening, want in?

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issues veritas 8 years ago

Wachovia, Wells Fargo, Bank of America etc. they are all part of the same fabric. These banks have their rules and policies but none of them apply to real customer service.

This is the age of identity theft and these bank policies contribute to an easy ID theft. First, the use of your Social Security number is like you giving a master key out. The SS number is the master key used by everyone that you have financial dealings with. The more places that know your SS number the more possible leaks that there are for thieves to find it.

Another theft ID tool is your drivers license number. Banks will not only ask you for your SS number but they will write your drivers license number on your deposit slip when they ask you for it as identification. Again, the more people that know your ID information the more chances of your ID being stolen.

Without your SS number and your drivers license number, you don't exist.

A better method of identification would be your PIN number because only you know that number.

Mighty Mom profile image

Mighty Mom 8 years ago from Where Left is Right, CA Author

Hello, all. CW -- Yes, I have seen some of the poems in Lita's challenge. Have you written for it?

G-Mom. I'll track you down later. It's been way too long since we just romped around at night, hasn't it:-)!

Cgull8m-- WF has all different kinds of accounts -- and they change the requirements often. Asking a simple question like "do they have a minimum" really requires a WF expert (I use the term lightly) to advise you on the best account for you. My current financial situation is such that my account balance fluctuates wildly. I imagine I am not alone in this. Good luck. And if you decide to switch to WF, I would say the best thing about them is you know they'll be one of the last banks standing!

Issues Veritas -- Thank you for the helpful info. I often wonder what do people who don't drive do for ID? I do as many transactions with my ATM card as possible. Identity theft is scary stuff. Fingers x'd it doesn't happen to me or anyone I know! MM

LondonGirl profile image

LondonGirl 8 years ago from London

I bank with one of the four big clearing banks here in the UK - Lloyds TSB. I have a standard current account, and a linked savings account that pays a rate of interest invisable to the naked eye.

Lloyds loves to charge you for "advisory letters" if you go overdrawn, and the interest rate they charge on authorised overdrafts or personal loans would make a usurer gasp with admiration.

On the plus side, banking is free - writing cheques or paying them in, internet banking, statements, cash machines, none of it is charged for. I think they charge a packet for back duplicate statements, but I've never needed them.


Banks don't have a God complex. They think God has a bank complex...

Mighty Mom profile image

Mighty Mom 8 years ago from Where Left is Right, CA Author

LOL, LG. Thanks for confirming that banks and their God complexes are the same wherever you live. I love the idea of God having a bank complex. I thought He had a doctor complex:-)! Cheers, MM

Constant Walker profile image

Constant Walker 8 years ago from Springfield, Oregon

MM, great story. I have numerous "issues" with banks, which is why I don't currently have one - but I know I will be forced to (frickin!) deal with one pretty soon. I haven't read the whole piece yet, but had questions (queries, posers!) about the $5,000 deposit issue; Could you not have just cashed the check at your or someone else's bank and then deposited the cash? I would have even gone to the nearest "Checks Cashed" place and paid the fee - just to throw it back in WF's face.

Or, better yet! Cash said check at your bank, then tell them, "OK, I'd like to deposit this to my account." Would that work?

I do have one tip: My best banking experience (I didn't say 'GOOD', I said 'BEST' as in, didn't entirely suck nutria dookie!) was with a localized bank; Umpqua. Where as big-chain, national banks, such as the demonic, spawned-from-hell US Bank tend to not-give-a-crap about their customers. You MIGHT want to check out a local bank in your area. The downsizing in convenience might be a welcome trade for less aggravation and stress.

Mighty Mom profile image

Mighty Mom 8 years ago from Where Left is Right, CA Author

Hi CW, I did try the "well, can I cash this check and then deposit it?" but that was not an option, either. This last time I did end up cashing the check at the bank it was drawn on (now at Wells Fargo bank!) and depositing it in $100 bills through the ATM.

I do know Umpqua and like their logo. I actually marketed against them for a local bank client of mine, where comparatively speaking, Umpqua was the "big bad bank." Too bad my bank client doesn't have any branches anywhere near where I live. I might get a credit card from them, tho. Or now.

I don't know how much those check cashing places charge but I am afraid to go in there. Maybe I'm being stupid. I don't know how to calculate the time/value of money. 10 days might be worth a $25 fee on $5K. Who knows?

Constant Walker profile image

Constant Walker 8 years ago from Springfield, Oregon

Someone else just wrote a hub about cashing checks at Wal-Mart for $3. Can't remember who it was, of course, but I'm definitely going to check it out (excuse the pun!).

Constant Walker profile image

Constant Walker 8 years ago from Springfield, Oregon

Mighty Mom profile image

Mighty Mom 8 years ago from Where Left is Right, CA Author

Hey CW, Thanks for turning me onto Dorsi's hub. Interesting concept. There is a check cashing place within 2 miles of my house. I could actually combine my daily stroll with doing my "anti-banking." I don't see using Wal-Mart for this ever, tho. I am a staunch "Wal-Mart NEVER" person. I have never set foot in one and do not plan to start anytime soon (read: in my lifetime).

Constant Walker profile image

Constant Walker 8 years ago from Springfield, Oregon

That may change... some excellent deals. I buy the best walking shoes ever there, Dr. Scholl's (with gel inserts!) for under $30.

Mighty Mom profile image

Mighty Mom 8 years ago from Where Left is Right, CA Author

You raise a good point there, CW. What will it take for us to abandon our principles/morals and do what's expedient? I can't imagine it's gonna come down to Wal-Mart ever being the only place to get walking shoes with Dr. Scholl's gel inserts. I still think I would pay a little more to buy said shoes from a store whose corporate policies didn't make me gag. Then again, I may be being hypocritical without even knowing it. Who's to say Big 5 and other stores aren't equally abusive in their employee policies?

Meanwhile, any/all suggestions for riding out this dry economy are welcome. HP is a true oasis in that regard! Thanks. MM

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pgrundy 8 years ago

MM, the banks (all of them, not just WF) make deposit policies on holds as opaque as possible SO THAT you will attempt to use your money before you say "mother may I?" and then they can charge a fee. You may usually get your OD fee back (when writing checks on money that is actually yours and should be there if they weren't playing their stupid games), but trust me, lots of people do not. That's why the bank does this.

The ATM "different hold time" business is fairly new. The bank I worked at started it the month I left "to generate fee revenue" but the official explanation to be given to customers was "to prevent fraud."

You know, if they want to, all they have do is pick up the phone, verify funds at the bank the check is written on, and make it available, right then and there. It's not difficult. It takes about half a minute. I could even do it, it's that brutally easy. But that would "decrease revenue" from fees--so screw the customer, we need fees, we need maddening policies that make no freakin' sense. Why? Because we can.

Maybe if all these "too big to fail" banks were little small-enough-to-fail banks, they'd treat people like people and quit stealing and engaging in questionable investment practices. But the way things are going, I'm not holding my breath for THAT. Either there will be one or two banks left by the end of 2009 or there will be no banks and getting deposit availability will be the least of all of our problems.

Great hub. :o)

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Kellys Writing 8 years ago

We bank with Wachovia and hate it. We were going to switch over to another one but then it got taken over by the feds and changed to anther bank. We didn't want to change then.

We have banked with Wachovia for eight years. We had cd's and savings accounts with them, which over time were used for various things. We kept getting these monthly fees and couldn't figure out why.

Then my husband went and deposited his check one friday, he actually cashed it and deposited the cash into our checking. When you looked at the bank account it said available funds and showed the whole cash deposit ready to use. I even called Wachovia and asked them if the money was available now. They said yes. We went and did our grocery shopping and everything.

Monday I checked our bank account and our Direct Tv payment had caught nsf fees. I called Wachovia and asked them why ? First, the money we already had in the bank covered the Direct Tv bill and second we had depositied almost 2000.00.

She said it was not an nsf, but a fee that said the money wasn't there. I said she was wrong.  She looked over the account and said well it is a fee because of the timing of when the Dtv bill came out and when the deposit went in. It was all about how things posted.

I argued with her for quite awhile. I told her that I was going to talk to my husband and we were going to go bank elsewhere. She told me to wait and then looked at our account again. She miraculously found out that it was a bank error and refunded half of the fee. Then she looked at our account and refunded us $60 for fees of the the last 3 months because our account was set up to stay at a certain balance. She then changed us to free checking.

Banks are horrible and they will rip you off anyway they can. If we hadn't fought with them about my husbands deposit and they hadn't looked over everything, we would have eaten their nsf fee and had to still keep paying their monthly service charge. It took threatening to leave the bank before they went into action.

Very nice hub that is very informative.

About check cashing at WalMart, there is a limit to the amount of money they will cash on your check. My husband and I went there to cash my husbands check one evening and they couldn't cash his payroll check because it was over their limit.

Constant Walker profile image

Constant Walker 8 years ago from Springfield, Oregon

MM, I'm sure there other places to buy these heavenly shoes which feel like they were made for my feet (and that's no small feat [PUN!] considering I have literally FLAT [it's an Iraquois thing] AND wide feet) but there's none to be located near me.  Their website now only advertises womens sandals.  I found ONE other pair of men's Dr. Scholl's sneakers online, which were twice as much (counting shipping) and I have to prey that they fit when they arrive.

I'm going to stick with the great deal I discovered at Wal-Mart, and I thank them on those little cards every time I buy a pair.

Mighty Mom profile image

Mighty Mom 8 years ago from Where Left is Right, CA Author

PGrundy, When are you going to write "The Complete Insider's Guide to Banks" and make beaucoup bucks? I swear, you know so much about that dirty business. No wonder you couldn't stand it and had to get the hell out! Thanks for visiting. Always a pleasure.

Kellys Writing -- The painful story you tell sounds soooo familiar. I've gone to battle so many times to get ridiculous fees taken off. I've been successful sometimes, had them "split" the fees with me other times. Your story of the Direct TV clearing before your $2000 deposit of cash is rich. So typical. Yours happened to be Wachovia. I say SSDB (same shit, different bank). Thanks for sharing your horror stories!

CW -- I must agree with your prudent decision to keep buying your walking shoes at Wal-Mart. Can't quite picture you in women's sandals:-). MM

Constant Walker profile image

Constant Walker 8 years ago from Springfield, Oregon

Ha-ha. Hey, I would wear them just to freak people out... if they weren't so uncomfortable.

What's with those three links?

Mighty Mom profile image

Mighty Mom 8 years ago from Where Left is Right, CA Author

CW -- So exactly how do you know the women's sandals are uncomfortable? Is there a side of you -- besides your excellent decorating skills -- that we need to know about? Eh? Seriously, I have a really hard time picturing you in anything remotely feminine. Such a rugged individualist!

As to those three links. I have no clue. I do not know "ulfromother" but can only assume he/she was drawn to my hub because my name is mighty MOM. LOL!

MellasViews profile image

MellasViews 8 years ago from Earth

I once had my WAMA bank tell me I could not cash a check because it was dated to not be cashed till the next day. I told her I was not asking for the money from the check, I just wanted them to take the damn thing so I didnt have to drive back the next day, and that I wanted to make a $100 withdrawl.

What annoyed me was when they told me I couldnt cash the check...seeing that I had money in my account, I could have withdrawn whatever the hell I wanted.

I dont get what was so hard to understand. She basically refused to take it till the next day. lol. I had to go out to the ATM to make a withdrawl because she magically couldnt do that either.

Real dumb woman... I think she was new though...... yes, def new.

Mighty Mom profile image

Mighty Mom 8 years ago from Where Left is Right, CA Author

MV, So let me get this straight. Someone pre-dated a check to you. I believe that is illegal. And for the record, when I have tried doing that when paying bills -- mailing a check on (for example) 2/1 but dating it 2/10, whoever the recipient is deposits it immediately and it goes in to be cleared. So it's irrelevant that I've dated the check 2/10 if someone deposits it on 2/5. So that's #1 Strike.

#2 strike is since you had sufficient funds in your account to withdraw the amount of the check, you could have done so. But you only wanted to withdraw $100, which I assume you also already had in your account.

#3 Why in the hell the teller could not process your withdrawal makes no sense and basically adds insult to injury -- forcing you to go out to the ATM. For me, I would prefer to do ALL of my transactions with a machine then have to deal with idiot tellers.

#4. You think she was new? Ha ha. I think she was probably the manager of the branch! Too bad you didn't tell her what you told the jury doodie MILF: You're on a roll. LOL!!!

Debby Bruck profile image

Debby Bruck 8 years ago

I have always been a satisfied Wachovia customer the past 30 years. Our tellers and customer service is excellent. I hope it remains the same as the switch and restructuring is underway. Enjoyed reading your stories.

Camping Dan profile image

Camping Dan 8 years ago

I did not mean to laugh at your WF story because I know it was a pain. I laugh because I have these same problems. My only problem is I have 2, yes 2, bank choices if I want a local branch. One is WF and the other is a very small bank that is not tied to a mojor company. I worry the small bank will not be there tomorrow so I opt for WF and deal with these problems.

jolened profile image

jolened 8 years ago from Midwest

Mighty Mom, allow me to give you a short education on check holds and what every bank and credit union in the United States is obligated to follow. It is called Regulation CC. Reg CC requires that financial institutions provide customers who have a transaction accounts (checking or share draft) with disclosures stating when their funds will be available for withdrawal.

A check is considered “local” if your bank is located in the same check processing region as the bank/credit union your deposit check is drawn from. Funds from local checks must be made available the second business day following the day of deposit.

How do you know if it is local? Check the first four digits of the routing number along the bottom of the check and look at the first four digits of the routing number of your personal checks or business checks. If they match, it is local. Presto! All money available the day after tomorrow!

What if it is not a local check? Reg CC says the funds have to be made available on the fifth business day following the day of deposit.

Exceptions to this rule can include: 1. Checks larger than $5000. 2. Checks you have to redeposit because they did not clear the first time. 3. If the financial believes the check may not be collectible (e.g., check is post dated or more than 6 months old). 4. Your account is repeatedly overdrawn. 5. Your account number is brand new. 6. Deposits made during emergency conditions (e.g., natural disaster).

The big trick here is to get the check deposited to your CHECKING account because it is a transaction account. If it is put into your savings, these rules do not apply.

The next time Wells tells you they are placing a hold on your check just advise them you would like to know which part of Regulation CC allows them to place the hold for that length of time. That might even shock the branch manager into shutting up or putting up. =-0

jolened profile image

jolened 8 years ago from Midwest

Also, a word on post-dated checks... They are not illegal but merely an agreement between the payor (who writes the check) and the payee (who gets the money). So, if the payee chooses to uphold the check date that is great, otherwise, you are out of luck.

If you take the check into the bank it is drawn upon, or in some cases to your bank and they notice it is post-dated most financials will not accept it prior to the date because they have to assume you have an arrangement with the payor on the check to not cash it until that date or you wouldn't have accepted it.

I hope this takes some of the mystery out of it. By the way - you couldn't pay me 10K a week to work at Wells. It is not worth it to make people that unhappy. =o)

Mighty Mom profile image

Mighty Mom 8 years ago from Where Left is Right, CA Author

Welcome, welcome, welcome Jolened! This is helpful information, indeed. Sounds like you've been on the other side of the vault, so to speak. I will try to remember to toss around the words Reg CC next time I have a problem.

Let me make sure I understand one thing, tho. Are you saying that these rules do not apply to savings accounts? Meaning what? Banks can hold checks deposited to savings longer? Or make up their own rules about how long they are held, or what?

All I really want -- in this supposed era of electronic banking (a crock) -- is the ability to go online and see exactly when the funds are available. It would be nice if WF, like m other bank, USAA, put a little "pending" sign on funds that are in but not yet cleared. Too much to ask, I guess.

Well, I'm glad you straightened me out! Thank you!!!

LondonGirl profile image

LondonGirl 8 years ago from London

All very complicated!

Banking as I do with Lloyds TSB in the UK, cheques drawn on other Lloyds accounts clear the next working day after deposit, and cheques drawn on any other UK bank or building society clear in 5 days.

When I log on to my internet banking, it show me my account balance, including uncleared cheques paid in, and my available balance.

ocbill profile image

ocbill 8 years ago from hopefully somewhere peaceful and nice

I believe it also depends on what you currently have in the bank or your average balance is what determines how long the hold is for on a $5k check.. In those sunshine real estate days I only had 3 days holds on large checks due to having a decent avg. balance. I never had a 5 day or 10 day hold on a check. Wow, that's too bad. Maybe in today's current environment, Yes there will be blood...ahem, I mean, Yes there will be holds. After all, people with 780+ credit can't even get loans so why give them access to their own money too quick. It makes sense to me ..LOL

Although, I have been treated just like any John Smoe for other services and have an acct there for 17+ years.

jolened profile image

jolened 8 years ago from Midwest

Mighty Mom, you are correct in your thinking. If your check is deposited into the savings it is not under the same rules because it is not considered a "transaction" account like your checking. Yes, the deposits can be held longer and the bank can INDEED make their own policy about how to handle holds on these checks.

It is also true what "ocbill" stated about average balances with checks over 5K. Each financial may make their own policy on holds for those checks and it is just an industry standard to check your average balance and use that as one of the deciding factors when determining hold times.

All i can say to all of you who are "banked". FIND A CREDIT UNION! They are generally cheaper on fees, they take the profits that they make and turn them around to you in the form of lower loan rates, higher savings rates, better customer service, etc. There is no "fat cat" making all the money and flying his private jet into Washington to ask for billions in bail out money. As a matter of fact, the credit unions in this nation are feeling the brunt of the bail out, but they did not ask for any of the bail out money. Instead, they are replenishing their insurance funds on their own so they do not cause any unjust damage to the average consumer. =o)

Mighty Mom profile image

Mighty Mom 8 years ago from Where Left is Right, CA Author

Thanks again for the wise counsel, Jolened. You should write a hub about credit unions! I think you'd get a lot of interest/traffic!! MM

jolened profile image

jolened 8 years ago from Midwest

MM, Maybe I will. Thanks for the thought. =o)

gjcody profile image

gjcody 7 years ago

Mighty Mom ...good article. Very entertaining. I do feel for you with the banking. It is a very messy situation today. Yes this is banking 2009.

Fortunately I still have a bank that is not swallowed up by the big guys. I suppose that will happen someday. They have said there will be only three banks someday and we may live long enough to see this happen.

I am reading a good book ...."House of Morgan!" You will enjoy reading this if you are into how it all began. I found it good. This author also wrote "Titan" ...and you can get a drift of what they are doing with the banks. The robber barons are taking over still!

Thank you for sharing ...enjoyed ...my best to you!

Mighty Mom profile image

Mighty Mom 7 years ago from Where Left is Right, CA Author

Robber barons in the 2000s -- didn't we learn our lesson in the last century? Thanks for the referral, GC.

BTW, this makes me think of my next hub -- credit cards 2009. Makes banking look tame!

gjcody profile image

gjcody 7 years ago

Mighty Mom ...remember one thing ...history always repeats itself.  We have only to look back and read and we can see what is going on.  That is if the information is not sugar coated as most of it is today.

A lot of our history is way too complex for most of us to even think about ...don't you remember when you were in school that when we got to world war I and world war II, the teacher said ...we don't have enough time for this so lets just scan it.

Now all we did was spend all the year learning dates and remembering when the French and Indian war was  ...when Columbus discovered America ...and now they try to tell us that he never did.  So did we waste a lot of time.

So for someone to read the books I have suggested will be a challenge.  I hope you do ...it is a real eye opener.  Then apply it to the banking going on today ....and the insurance and health industry.  "History does repeat itself!"  But do we have the time to learn that?  No ...most of us do not.  We listen to what they are telling us on the news and say ..."well I keep up with what is going on in this world with the news." What is going on is history all over again!

Sorry for the book I am writing now.  It seems like I am on a band wagon.  But many people are and have lost a lot of money in the interim of this wake.

Keep up the good work Mighty Mom ...my best to you!

MarloByDesign profile image

MarloByDesign 5 years ago from United States

MM, I rated this FUNNY (only one? I cannot believe that!) - I love your comment "I should also mention that during this exchange the 12-year-old teller refuses to make eye contact with me." LOL.

Mighty Mom profile image

Mighty Mom 5 years ago from Where Left is Right, CA Author

I'm glad you recognize my uniquely dry-but-shrill sense of humor, MarloByDesign! I have a whole cache of customer service nightmare stories just waiting to be written.

Gotta laugh. The alternative is just too painful! Thanks for visiting! MM

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