I am beginning to think that I am just not very lucky when it comes to finances.
Oh, I don’t mean that it requires luck to manage your money. I’m all about personal responsibility when it comes to one’s finances and such. I’m fastidious about such things, to the point where I should probably be medicated or at least someone should assist me in yanking this enormous stick out of my butt. But in terms of general money karma, if you will, I think there is a measure of luck involved.
I have a friend who faces an unexpected home repair WITHOUT FAIL any time she comes into a bit of extra money. That’s bad karma. And me, well, I’m fine as long as I don’t have to deal with any actual banks.
You may recall that I thought my bad banking days were over, recently, with the discovery of Small Local Bank and its unique approach of actually treating customers like human beings. I KNOW! I was surprised, too, but I think it’s a very interesting system that may really catch on. We laughed, we cried, we danced a waltz here at the local office, and I gave them all of my money.
Well, some of my money. I keep my little OH MY GOD WHAT IF IT WAS THE APOCALYPSE AND I STILL NEEDED TO PAY MY MORTGAGE fund over at ING Direct, because I am overly fond of the color orange. (This will be important in a minute.)
Small Local Bank and I have been conducting our love affair with nary a hitch, until this week.
Last week, I FINALLY received the money from selling my STUPID CAR which was supposedly sold TWO MONTHS AGO. (No, I’m still not ready to talk about it.) This money came in the form of a large-ish check, as large-ish sums of money are wont to do. Let’s pretend the check was for $11,000, for the purposes of illustration.
I took said check down to Small Local Bank last Thursday and deposited it. The teller and I chatted, sang a song together, french kissed for a while, and then I went on my merry way.
On Friday I checked my online banking. The deposit still showed as being “in process.” Oh well; I had made the deposit late in the afternoon, so that was to be expected.
On Saturday I checked my online banking again. Still “in process.” Oh, right. Being a Small Local Bank as they are, perhaps they don’t update over the weekend. No matter!
On Monday I checked my online banking again. My deposit had cleared; this particular online banking interface displays both my “Available Balance” and my “Ledger Balance,” and these two numbers were EXACTLY THE SAME, indicating that my funds were free and clear.
I went over to my ING Direct account and initiated a transfer of $11,000 from Small Local Bank to ING.
On Tuesday I made ANOTHER deposit at Small Local Bank.
On Wednesday I checked my online banking to make sure that my Tuesday’s deposit had cleared.
Guess what I found?
My $11,000 cleared deposit was GONE. In its place I had TWO deposits, one for $4,900 and one for $6,000, both bearing long complicated alpha-numeric “Processing Codes” and both now listed as PENDING.
Given that the combined balance of all my accounts at Small Local Bank now came to LESS THAN this now-missing deposit, I popped up a window for ING Direct as fast as I could to CANCEL MY PENDING TRANSFER which was about to BOUNCE.
But GUESS WHAT! I couldn’t cancel it, because it was already “in process.”
I did the only logical thing. I FREAKED RIGHT THE HELL OUT.
I called Small Local Bank to ask them what was happening. A very nice young man explained to me that checks over $5,000 are routinely held and take a week to clear unless manually approved by a manager. (How would I know this? No one had told me, and I rarely—um, never—have a check for over $5k.) I stopped breathing into the paper bag between my knees long enough to point out that my deposit had already been CLEARED and he informed me that that must’ve been an error.
When I inquired as to the bizarre splitting of the deposit—the sum total of which was now $100 less than the actual amount—he explained to me that they’ll clear $100 right away, and then the amount up to $5,000 takes another week, and—HOLD ONTO YOUR HATS, because this is my FAVORITE PART—due to the PATRIOT ACT the remaining balance above $5,000 is held for THREE WEEKS. Unless manually cleared by a manager.
I stopped hyperventilating long enough to burst into hysterical laughter. Yes, I am going to overthrow the country. With $11,000. WHO’S WITH ME?? The revolution begins with us storming the White House on… ummm… Razor Scooters. Sorry, I couldn’t afford anything else.
Small Local Bank was VERY cool about the whole thing (I mean, if you’re willing to overlook the asinine deposit handling in the first place), and had my funds re-cleared within the hour, which was awesome. I had visions of ING trying to push the transfer through and all of my Small Local Bank accounts being emptied AND all of my checks bouncing, so I’m glad THAT didn’t happen.
But DAMN, don’t you think it’s time I stopped having Very Distressing Banking Crises? Sheesh.