Country Living Series

Friday, March 28, 2014

Bank stability?

We have bank accounts with two separate banks (well, one bank and one credit union).

A couple of years ago, I had errands to run in Spokane, WA. One of those errands was to make a deposit at our bank, of which Spokane has three branches.

Except the branch I normally used had closed. Hmmm. It's inconvenient to drive to one or the other distantly-flung branches, but that's what I have to do now when I'm in Spokane.

This morning, Don had errands to run in Coeur d'Alene. One of those errands was to cash a check at one of the Cd'A branches of this same bank. He just called to inform me that the branch was closed.

Double hmmmm.

I confess it left me concerned about the stability of this particular bank. We've kept our account at this bank because they handle our merchant services account for our business very well, and in all respects we've been satisfied with their service.

But branches closing makes me nervous. I guess we'll be using our credit union more.

Anyone else experiencing stuff like this?

37 comments:

  1. They are building two branches (separate banks) here in the town where I live. I find it annoying. One is being built in a parking lot where a major shopping center is, taking up needed parking.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Bank branches have been closing all over faster than they can print up the signs that read "For our customers convenience" at least around here anyway. It started back in 09 and hasn't really let up. Only the smaller regional banks seem to have escaped the trend here all the big national banks are now down to maybe one location per town where they used to have 4 or more branches.

    ReplyDelete
  3. We went away from credit unions in my area since so many of them were shutting down that it didn't seem safe to keep money in them, I know many people say they are safer than banks, but in this day and age I don't think any bank or credit union is safer than another. If the bank you use is a major US bank that is everywhere I think why you might be seeing branches closing is the fact that many people do not actually go into banks anymore in general, most banks allow you to cash and deposit checks by using your phone and very few people use cash so banks really don't get many customers anymore. We have Wells Fargo, which we hate, but have had bad luck with other banks as well so just stick with them because we get free checking there because of my hubby's employer. They will be closing the branch in the small town near me and also one of the branches in the bigger town that my hubby works in, but we are friends with someone who works at the branch in the larger town and they are closing that one because they have so few customers that its not worth them spending the money to keep it open. The thing that actually concerns me about banks is that with a lot of the banks they will not allow you to withdraw more than a set amount at a time from a checking account, for us its $500 a day, literally they won't allow you to withdraw more than that unless you are closing the account, I guess the fine print says that. And also another disturbing thing we have noticed in the past is that when we have used a bank ATM in another state to withdraw some cash or use a debit card to buy gas they often initiate theft protection on the card and freeze the account and it can't be unfrozen until you actually go to the bank, tell them the exact amount of your last 3 purchases, then they will allow your account to be unfrozen, but often it takes them 24-48 hours to do that. So if you are traveling somewhere you can be outta luck for a while if you happen to need money and aren't carrying a bunch of cash. The last time it happened we were in our own area, talked to the bank, they unfroze the account, my hubby tried to withdraw some cash while he was at the counter with the clerk so we could go food shopping, and they said we're sorry, even though you have the money in your account we can't give you any until the computer says your account is unfrozen. My hubby then flipped out and said it's my money, and the manager just said, actually when your money is in our bank, it is our money, its just a service we offer to give it back to you. He was so pissed off, he just walked out. My BIL has a different major bank and has faced the same issues. Scary really, when you realize that you can't access any of your money.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. WOW!! That is an argument for pulling out of the banking system right there.

      I have never heard a banker state so baldly the attitude that all of them have, but there it is. In their view, they are not holding your money for you and you are not making them a loan. Once it's deposited it is THEIR money; they are doing you a favor letting YOU access the money that YOU worked for.

      Yup-- Time to start talking to Hubby about getting out of the bank.

      Delete
    2. My husband was shocked when he heard the manager of the bank actually say those words. We have to have a bank account because my husband is a teacher and his district cannot do checks anymore due to their new policy, paychecks have to be direct deposited now. And when my husband goes to the bank to pull out money, if he pulls out the $500 maximum they always ask why he needs to pull that much out and how its not safe to have that much cash out of the bank and that debit cards are so much safer. And actually an even scarier thing happened to a fellow teacher of my husband who had accounts at First Federal Bank, which I think is mainly a western US bank. He had a savings account with over $30,000 in it that he hadn't touched in about 7 years, he stopped getting statements for it and went to the bank to find out why, he was told that if you don't put more money in or withdraw money from certain savings accounts within a 5 year period the bank can seize your money because the bank deems the account inactive. He took the bank to court and lost because apparently with certain accounts in the fine print it says that they bank can take the money if you don't touch an account for a set number of years. It's really scary to think you could lose all your money because of fine print, and banks are always mailing out new information all the time about changes they are making. Pays to read everything. Scary world out there.

      Delete
    3. I know that traveling and having your account frozen can be very frustrating. To solve this problem I call my bank and alert them to the fact that I will be traveling, let them know where I will be and what dates they can expect to see ATM with drawls and purchases. This has always worked well for me, even traveling out of the country I have never had my account frozen when I have given the bank a heads up. On the plus side , my bank once called me to let me know that they had frozen my account , seems like my card had been lost before I was even aware of it, someone found it and tried to use it at the gas station where it had been lost. Thanks to there very alert theft department I was spared what could have been a real headache. I only keep enough money in the bank to pay my bills, like most people that are awake I do not want to wake up one morning to find that my bank has gone under and I am up the proverbial creek.
      Dee in the South West

      Delete
    4. Anonymous @1:48, The laws that govern the seizure of 'inactive' bank accounts are called, ironically, 'Escheat' laws. In some states the period of dormancy can be as little as three years. The banks are supposed to make a reasonable effort to find the account holders, but recent scandals in California showed the banks making token efforts if that. I have started to transition out of banks for all except for bills that I cannot pay in cash face to face.

      Delete
  4. A small rural community north of me (less than 500 people) had the only bank in town close recently. But 20 miles to the north that bank corporation had another branch that was left open even though the town has 4 banks and less than 1000 people. The most frustrating thing about the branch closure was that it was right in the middle of a growing Amish community and it was very close for them to do business. Now they must hire a driver to go to the nearby city to do banking business. Even though many area county officials complained to the corporate bank officials the complaints fell on deaf ears. Banking institutions are making me very nervous since the announcement a few years ago that the FDIC is bankrupt and may not be able to cover all depositors funds regardless of the amount. My mattress is looking pretty safe.

    ReplyDelete
  5. There is a site that publishes the financial condition of banks and credit unions. I ran across it a few years ago...probably on survivalblog.com. I have wanted to use it again to check our banks and credit union but can't find the name of it again. If anyone has it...how about posting it here. Many could benefit by checking the stability if their banks.

    ReplyDelete
  6. I highlited your phrase "financial condition of banks" right clicked on it and had Google look it up.

    http://www.bankrate.com/rates/safe-sound/bank-ratings-search.aspx

    ReplyDelete
  7. In North Central Arkansas, there are MORE bank branches opening. But there have also been two mergers where smaller banks got gobbled up by the larger ones.

    ReplyDelete
  8. Banks have been pulling this baloney on us for a long time, but it has gotten much worse recently. Many years ago, my wife's grandfather became very unhappy with his B of A account and asked for all of his money to be returned to him. They tried every way they could think of to talk him out of it. He wasn't budging. Finally, they handed him a cashier's check for over $30,000.00. He asked them what was he supposed to do with that? They said he could deposit it in his bank of choice! My grandfather was a former boxer. A very good one. Also a Christian, but he'd had enough. He told them he put CASH in their bank and he wanted CASH back! He was ready to duke it out with the bank manager. The bank was full of people, and after he yelled to all how that bank was ripping him off, they gave him his cash (probably just to shut him up.) Banks are a racket, plain and simple. Same with the stock market. No matter how nice your banker might appear to be, he is a crook and a liar! They are the major cause of all the problems we're having in this country. They're behind everything and they control everything. --Fred in AZ

    ReplyDelete
  9. Bauer Financial rates the health of banks using stars. You can google it. DWLee3

    ReplyDelete
  10. Bank of America totally went out of eastern Washington. We dealt with them because they are recognized everywhere. We had to switch everything over to Chase.

    ReplyDelete
  11. I've a feeling we will be seeing a contraction in businesses (in general). Banks first, next will be the franchises (McDonalds, etal). There simply isn't enough economic activity to support a Starbucks on every corner. Far be it better for a single Starbucks within a 5 mile radius to stay open then to have all of the Starbucks within a 5 mile radius to close. Two Home Depots within 20 miles of each other? Not anymore...

    ReplyDelete
  12. We've actually been using the "First National Bank of Walmart" for about 5 years now, and haven't had any problems with them, although I do think that all the banks are going to go to poop eventually.

    ReplyDelete
  13. Banks are businesses, they look at their revenues and expenses by branch/location and even by customer and make decisions on what locations are profitable to keep open and which locations are less profitable. Personally, I want my bank to close underperforming branches.

    Paychecks are direct deposited because check fraud became so rampant with everyone having a laser printer. You cannot imagine how very easy it was to create fraudulent 'paychecks' and cash them. Holds are put on debit and credit cards when 'activity' appears to out of the norm because of rampant theft. You cannot imagine the volumes of debit and credit card theft and banks must protect themselves, holds are the only mechanism they have.

    The banking industry is moving to fewer in-person transactions. Depositing checks can be done via the mail. Cashing a check can be done at your bank or the bank the check is drawn on.

    I wouldn't evaluate the health of a bank based on which branches they have closed - if you have a concern call the bank and speak with someone in management.

    ReplyDelete
  14. My husband just withdrew from Wells Fargo because they were
    charging him to keep a Boy scout account in it,which of course
    has a tax exempt statius. Right now we use a credit union and they are not to bad, We do have direct desposted but we with draw every thing each payday, except to pay like the major bills.So far no hassle, but it could get worse
    Blessings

    ReplyDelete
  15. I generally don't go to the bank to withdraw cash. Instead, everytime I go to the store and pay with my debit card, I get cash back if that is an option. Most have limits, but after several stores I usually have all the cash I need.

    ReplyDelete
  16. List of bank failures in 2013[edit]

    The following 24 banks have failed in 2013:[1]
    Bank City State Date Acquired by Assets
    ($mil.)
    1 Westside Community Bank University Place Washington January 11, 2013 Sunwest Bank 97.7
    2 1st Regents Bank Andover Minnesota January 18, 2013 First Minnesota Bank 50.2
    3 Covenant Bank Chicago Illinois February 15, 2013 Liberty Bank and Trust Company 58.4
    4 Frontier Bank LaGrange Georgia March 8, 2013 HeritageBank of the South 258.8
    5 Gold Canyon Bank Gold Canyon Arizona April 5, 2013 First Scottsdale Bank, NA 45.2
    6 First Federal Bank Lexington Kentucky April 19, 2013 Your Community Bank 100.1
    7 Heritage Bank of North Florida Orange Park Florida April 19, 2013 FirstAtlantic Bank 110.9
    8 Chipola Community Bank Marianna Florida April 19, 2013 First Federal Bank of Florida 39.2
    9 Parkway Bank Lenoir North Carolina April 26, 2013 CertusBank, NA 108.6
    10 Douglas County Bank Douglasville Georgia April 26, 2013 Hamilton State Bank 316.5
    11 Pisgah Community Bank Asheville North Carolina May 10, 2013 Capital Bank, NA 21.9
    12 Sunrise Bank Valdosta Georgia May 10, 2013 Synovus Bank 60.8
    13 Central Arizona Bank Scottsdale Arizona May 14, 2013 Western State Bank 31.6
    14 Banks of Wisconsin Kenosha Wisconsin May 31, 2013 North Shore Bank, FSB 134.0
    15 1st Commerce Bank North Las Vegas Nevada June 6, 2013 Plaza Bank 20.2
    16 Mountain National Bank Sevierville Tennessee June 7, 2013 First Tennessee Bank, National Association 437.3
    17 First Community Bank of South Florida Fort Myers Florida August 2, 2013 C1 Bank 265.7
    18 Bank of Wausau Wausau Wisconsin August 9, 2013 Nicolet National Bank 43.6
    19 Community South Bank Parsons Tennessee August 23, 2013 CB&S Bank, Inc. 386.9
    20 Sunrise Bank of Arizona Phoenix Arizona August 23, 2013 First Fidelity Bank, National Association 202.2
    21 The Community's Bank Bridgeport Connecticut September 13, 2013 None (insured depositors paid directly) 26.3
    22 First National Bank, also operating as The National Bank of El Paso Edinburg Texas September 13, 2013 PlainsCapital Bank 3,100
    23 Bank of Jackson County Graceville Florida October 30, 2013 First Federal Bank of Florida 25.5
    24 Texas Community Bank, National Association The Woodlands Texas December 13, 2013 Spirit of Texas Bank, SSB 180.1
    List of bank failures in 2014[edit]

    The following 5 banks have failed in 2014:[1]
    Bank City State Date Acquired by Assets
    ($mil.)
    1 Dupage National Bank West Chicago Illinois January 17, 2014 Republic Bank of Chicago 61.7
    2 The Bank of Union El Reno Oklahoma January 24, 2014 BancFirst 331.40
    3 Syringa Bank Boise Idaho January 31, 2014 Sunwest Bank 153.40
    4 Vantage Point Bank Horsham Pennsylvania February 28, 2014 First Choice Bank 63.5
    5 Millennium Bank, National Association Sterling Virginia February 28, 2014 WashingtonFirst Bank 130.3

    ReplyDelete
  17. One wonders why some folks bury their money , or put it in mattress??? Does not seem so far fetched . Or has the time come where our money is worth nothing , and banks are failing . It begs one to invest in hard goods more things one can use , rather than cash .

    ReplyDelete
  18. Our local branch closed, but we were notified by mail well in advance.

    ReplyDelete
  19. Even scarier is what banks give you, ‘fiat money’.

    Definition: Fiat money is an intrinsically worthless object, such as paper money, that is deemed to be money by fiat (order) of the Federal government.

    It is not backed up by anything other than the Federal government’s promise that it will refrain from printing too much money so as to make it worthless.

    You can trust them. And if you like your health care plan, you will be able to keep your health care plan.

    Montana Guy

    ReplyDelete
  20. Thought you and younger daughter might like this.

    http://www.theblaze.com/stories/2014/03/29/violinist-blows-the-internet-away-with-incredible-new-music-video-i-cant-get-enough-of-this/

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I started playing the clip, and right away my daughter (from across the room) asked, "Is that Lindsey Stirling?"

      Evidently she's well familiar with this talented artist!

      - Patrice

      Delete
    2. Love her music I used it while in labor... :)

      Delete
  21. Our daughter has an account at our local credit union and an account at Chase. Last week, she was about a 7 hours drive from home and asked me to put cash from her credit union into her Chase account. I withdrew the money and took it across town to Chase and tried to deposit cash in her account. The teller had no problem at all accepting a CASH payment on her credit card account but when I told her that I need to put $110 CASH into her checking account, I was refused and referred to a manager. She told me I could write a check from my personal account (from my credit union) or buy a money order or a cashier's check or give the cash to my daughter to deposit! Unfortunately, I am a legal born in America citizen so there was nothing I could do. My husband ended up writing a check and depositing it so I didn't end up in jail for screaming and going crazy in the bank. lol

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. tricia
      it is illegal to refuse acceptance of U.S. coin and currency in this country
      for any and all transactions. it is federal law.
      i wouldn't give you 2 cents for Chase. we have had only trouble from them in the past.
      deb h.

      Delete
  22. I forgot to add to my comment, that the bank manager said this was a new policy to keep people from laundering money.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. i don't know how to launder money but it was obvious to the manager that you are related to the depositor. even if it were laundered less than 200$ is not even chicken feed. that laundering tale is all stuff and nonsense.
      deb h.

      Delete
  23. A friend of mine was recently trying to cash a check from an auto insurance company so she could go immediately purchase a new car the same day.

    She wanted the cash.(because dealer wouldnt just accept her endorsing check over to them) It was approximately $8K but it was to be IMMEDIATELY used at the dealership. She is south of Atlanta. She called all the branches of the bank Progressive Insurance uses. Closest one that had enough cash to cover that amount on hand was 100 miles away. Other banks said it would take 2 days. She kept calling bank branches and they all said. "that would wipe us out", "we dont have enough cash"

    I know for some of you 100 miles is standard but when you talk about Atlanta.. You can pass 100 banks in 100 miles of various branches so its crazy to think the situation we are all in.

    Scary
    Heather

    ReplyDelete
  24. My mother uses a credit union. She and her husband have separate accounts there and every week he gives her a check from his account for fifty dollars which she then attempts to cash not deposit. The reason is no one's business. Every week they want her drivers licence (claiming they don't recognize her even they are a small branch ). Plus they always want her account number. They say it is for their protection in case he doesn't have the funds . She tells them why don't you check his account ,which you know they already did. Remember this is every week. Now they have started asking her why he writes her a fifty dollar check every week even though they don't remember her from week to week. She has gone from it is a private matter to why do you need to know to none of your business to my favourite he pays me to have sex . I am sorry to offend anyone with that but I found hilarious coming from my sweet although frustrated mother.

    ReplyDelete
  25. If you read Zerohedge and Mish you will have a good understanding of the banking and financial systems.

    http://globaleconomicanalysis.blogspot.com/
    http://www.zerohedge.com/

    Directly to the point of this thread, banking is inherently a fraud using one asset with two obligations. Your deposit is not really owned by you, you have an unsecured loan to the bank and the fact is that as we get closer to collapse it will be harder and hard to get your money from any bank.

    I have been systematically reducing my exposure to banks and brokerage accounts for some time. I have not had and difficulty as I have done it slowly.

    ReplyDelete
  26. I think I would be really concerned if that happened. I'd probably want to move all my money out of that bank and into the CU.

    Of course, I'm one who's pushing my hubby to get as much of or $ out of the stock market ASAP. And he did move MY money out, left "his" in (it's technically "ours", but they're our retirement accounts). MY $ is now in physical gold and silver. :-)

    Because of all the fees that regular banks slapped on accounts all the time, we stopped using a bank 20 years ago and only use a credit union. The original CU was bought by a larger one several years ago, but services have been consistent and good. I don't fear the CU closing; if it did, it has an agreement with another CU in town that also has a branch office nearby, so it wouldn't bother us too much. I hope they don't close our local branch, however. It's *always* busy.

    ReplyDelete
  27. Traditionally the two main reasons to use a bank were for safe keeping for your cash and to earn interest. No bank I know is paying enough interest on checking or saving accounts to keep up with inflation. Most banks are technically insolvent if you use the accounting standards you and I are bound by law to use for our businesses. Convenience seems to be the only real reason left to use them but even that is wearing thin in my book.

    ReplyDelete
  28. I refuse to deal with banks. All of my dealings are with the wonderful credit union my family has been with for over 20 years. They have never given us any trouble and were very flexible/creative when I needed to attend to some matters while deployed to Afghanistan. I call them the only good thing about California. :) Never stepped foot in an actual branch and it's never been a problem.

    ReplyDelete
  29. It's hard to say - I've recently seen branches close and branches open, and I think a lot of it still has to do with supply and demand. My sister works in a bank (and survived a bank takeover) and is currently in a branch that is "struggling" not because they don't have enough accounts over there, but it's a pretty affluent area, and so they don't get the foot traffic over there the way they do in places where people are doing a lot of business by actually visiting the bank. And lack of foot traffic means fewer opportunities to offer new accounts, services, etc. and attract new customers.

    As for not having cash on hand, I can tell you that my sister (and all the people high enough to be doing this) are under incredible pressure not to order "excess" cash for the bank. Thinking about this, it would seem that having cash sit in the branch is the bank equivalent of stuffing cash into a mattress, and when you have these mega banks with thousands of branches, and if each one has money just sitting there... You see where this is going. Furthermore, I wouldn't be surprised if some of it is a liability issue as well - if there were a robbery, and it seriously does happen with some regularity, if you had somebody who was "just happening" to be ordering more cash, and this became knowledge to somebody who might take advantage of that... you see where that line goes as well. I think around the Midwest, at least, a lot of banks have posted, fairly prominently, that any cash withdrawals over a certain amount (usually about $2000, I think) need to be scheduled x number of days ahead of time, because that's what the bank needs to actually order the cash & have it delivered.

    ReplyDelete