On Wed. 3 September I drove 60 miles from Fort Sumner New Mexico to Clovis New Mexico to deposit my bi-weekly salary into my checking account. I deposited two money orders from Wal Mart; one for $700, the other for $500. I was aware at the time of deposit that a check had been honored 24 hours previously resulting in a negative balance in my account.
Upon checking my account on the computer Thursday morning, the on-line bank statement showed a positive balance of about $150, the $1200 deposit was pending and the $700 money order was on hold until 08 September.
When I accessed my account today, Saturday 06 September, the on-line bank statement showed a negative balance of about $149, and both the $700 and $400 money orders were on hold until 11 September. I checked the reason for the hold, and there was annotation of irregular deposits to my account.
I called the phone bank and spoke to a Ã¢??MichaelÃ¢?? and shared my displeasure about all of my funds being placed on hold and my puzzlement as to what irregular deposits were being questioned. He quoted the bank policy; I told him I know their policy, but why both money orders, and what irregularities? He responded that the bank needed to verify the origins of the money orders; I replied they were from Wal Mart and I use Wal Mart money orders often to deposit money into my account. I questioned, what was so different this time? He again began quoting bank policy. I thank him for his time and told him of my plans to file complaints to Wells Fargo and the New Mexico State Attorney General.
I went for a drive and cooled down and decided not to file a complaint, until I logged onto my computer upon returning home to see that the reason for the holds had been changed to Ã¢??repeated overdrafts in past six monthsÃ¢??. Upon checking my account history, I decided that I would complain.
First of all, if anyone wishes to examine my account, a person could set their watch my deposits. I get paid every two weeks, on Wednesday and the number of times I do not deposit my salary every Wednesday evening can be counted on one hand, minus the thumb; there are NO irregularities in my deposits. I do have 2 or 3 utility bills that are automatically withdrawn from my account within the first 2 weeks of every month, without fail; again no irregularities. If anyone examines my debits, they would conclude I own stock in Wal Mart, have a car payment, a home mortgage and also pay rent on a house where I work out of town; again no irregularities.
As for overdrafts, the last overdraft I incurred was in June of 08 and since I am a Doctoral Student I do run into financial problems sometimes, such as the one I had in March of 08, I did have several overdrafts.
However, I believe if anyone were to look closer at my over drafts in March as well as the one a few days ago, there appears to be a banking practice that I do question. The person who makes these decisions is aware of my banking patterns; deposits and debits. They are aware I am sure that if a hold is placed on my account during the first part of the month, I will incur several overdrafts because I have 2 or 3 utility bills that are automatically paid out of my account, resulting in several overdraft fees and extending the account holds, which then results in more overdraft fees because I do have a mortgage and rent and other utilities that I pay towards the middle and end of the month. So yes, I find it hard to believe that the person who makes these decisions is not aware of the commutative affect of holds when some bills are automatically presented for payment. I can only deduce, assume and therefore conclude that the reason that someone places a hold on my account during the first two weeks of the month is to increase the income of the bank through overdraft fees, resulting in greater financial hardship and psychological stress for me. In this case Wells Fargo could not decide if the reason for the hold was irregularities of deposits or persistent overdrafts (two since June).
What do I want? I would be satisfied if debits that occur automatically would be honored during financial holds without overdraft fees and the reasons for the holds are realistic and honest. If this practice is occurring with the many patrons of Well Fargo, I can only image amount of money the bank gains through this practice.