Bank of america and their discrepencies

If you don’t like the bank manager’s answer then ask to speak to his boss, the regional manager should be able to tell you.

Actually, that may be true. There are cases where the branch manager doesn’t know the reasons behind a certain decision and clearing time for cheques is one of them. The branch does the first security checks but it doesn’t decide if the funds should be added to the account or not.

@mitzi56: There are many things that affect why a cheque may need more time to clear than others, even coming from the same company.

Although I don’t know how Bank of America works, there are certain standards that have to be met by any bank in the world. You may think that your account history may be good enough and that they should trust you but whatever you think is irrelevant. Each bank has a certain policies that need to be in place and the ensures not only the cash in your account but also the there is no money laundering.

The amount of years that you’ve been with them, how you’ve handled your account , how often you’re loan, how many loans you’ve asked, how you re-paid them, etc… all your history helps you to get a credit score and, when in doubt, it will help the branch manager to make a decision about you (when he can, of course. Sometimes he can do nothing).

Also, things like how often you receive these cheques, if these amounts are normal for your account and the type of business you have and other information can affect to the clearing process.

The teller and the branch only do the first security cheques. When they accept it at the branch and let it go, they’re saying that the cheque is good for them and start the clearing process. If they wrong and you were a fraudster, they could not only lose their jobs but go to jail.

Once the clearing process has started, it goes to a special department who does the second set of security tests and then it gets sent to the origin bank so they can send the money to you bank’s collection account. That bank, the bank of the person who paid you, needs to follow their security procedures too and then take the cash from the cheque issuer and place it in their collection account. If they think that everything is good to go, they will send the cash to your bank’s collection account who will then pay it into your account.

It is not possible to know if your bank is responsible for the delay or the other bank.

But if the amount is unusual for your account, or the cheque issuer has a tendency of giving cheques when running sort of cash, you can be sure that there will be a delay.

Well that helps to see a little more clearly, after all it was a very large check, my next concern is when it hits the first security check, does it at that time go through the process of exchange rate? As I am very worried that if it does not get exchanged after the 16 days that it has been through the system, then i may lose a lot of money as the rates are beggining now to go back down now,as they were at an all time high a couple of days ago. I wish there were a way to check and see at what process it is in right now. That would give me a feeling of security in knowing that the rate has already been given at this point. and I have a good chance of making a good amount extra. I guess its not like the mail, wheras you can track about where your package is.lol

And yes I have taken out a second mortgage on my house from boa before but all payments were made on time and it was paid off as soon as I recieved one of those large checks. My only problem is that I tend to allow to let my account get low at times, but never bounced a check. My credit history is good with them and so is the credit history of those checks and other foreign checks have always had the funds in them. But like I said it was for a larger amount and it would have been a big loss for them if it didnt clear, so im trying to give boa another chance and the benefit of the doubt that they are just trying to go by the book and thats why im venting here, rather than too much on them. I will however try to see if it would be too difficult or asking too much to ask if the canadian check writer could write the check as a direct deposit or cashiers check instead. One day perhaps I will sit down withe the branch or bank manager and have them clearly explain this score thing and what makes it change from one time to another. Thank you everyone who had input on this matter, I know a lot of people have probably had to deal with this at one time or another themselves, so you all must have an idea of what im going through, the waiting is terrible as I said my account is getting low again due to this and the check arriving later than it was suppose too and I have lots of things waiting to be paid. like dog surgery, home pay off, car payoff and borrowed money from family members which I dont like doing. and a trip that was planned ahead of time in order to make sure i got a reservation. Im a nervous wreck, but very fortunate that i have a loving and supportive family.

Not really. The branch manager doesn’t make the decision, it’s made automatically my their computer system. But part of the management training is understanding how that works so that they can override it if necessary.

Imagine the tens of thousands of deposits that are made throughout the Bank of America branches daily - it’s probably the most common transaction they do except perhaps perhaps withdrawals. It’s unthinkable that the system would be as arbitrary and cumbersome as described on this thread, or that the tellers and managers would be clueless as to why a check would be held. Or that the check would go through a convoluted process once deposited.

I’ve worked with BofA both as a customer and also as part of project to merge their systems several years ago. It’s not that mysterious.

In reality, it would be a fluke if branch manager wouldn’t know why a check would be held - there is a hold code right on the screen next to the other ratings that determine how the deposit is made. It’s either customer rating, payer rating (i.e. a known check bouncer), or some other fraud suspicion.

You are also incorrect in how a check is paid at almost every bank in the US. The original hold time simply sets a term after which the check will be credited without regard to whether it is paid or not. If it’s paid before the check fails to clear, the credit is reversed and an NSF charge is applied to the account.

For a bank to assess each check for fraud at presentation, then again analyze it for security purposes is cumbersome and expensive, hence the approach of rating and holding checks based on the depositor and the payee.

And yes, it is certainly possible to find out if a check is being held due to the depositor or the payer. Of course, the bank isn’t obligated to tell you this information nor are they obligated to accept any check that you present - but there is a distinct reason in every case.

The likely cause of the OP’s inconsistencies is a low balance, and possibly some negative activity on the account. If you are depositing non-USD checks that are close to the x day moving average (not current) balance on your account, a few dollars in different directions makes a difference in the math and you’ll see varying results. If you are making deposits that are 20% of your balance and you have an excellent account history, you’ll see stability.

Well Im seeing many possinilities and reasons now why a check may be put through collections but other than my account being low right now all other reasons do not apply to me, there was one fraudulent thing done on my account once when someone had stolen a check from me and the guy got busted and all was cleared up as it wasnt my fault, but this all happened before these last few canadian checks came through and yet still one check cleared and the other didnt. But as I said in my last notes im no longer concerned as to why this weird thing happened im just gonna be sure to have these checks written in a different way whereas they will run them through immediatly and it wont have to happen again. No one likes being put through this stress of waiting and wondering when a check will clear and be available, mostly when they have a need for the income asap. And who gets the interest off this check while it goes through the process, unless it goes into an interest-free account. Either way Im mainly concerned about what my exchange rate will be. and when and if it goes through while the market is still in my favor.

The system is not arbitrary and it is fully automatized for many cheques but when there’s some kind of trouble (not necessarily fraud). And you’re right that your credit score does affect but it is not the only thing that’s been looked into.

As I said before, I don’t know Bank of America specific system and how they automatize it but I’ve worked in a bank for a few years as chief cashier and at international clearing so I’ve seen both sides of the story too.

No if the problem is not in the Bank of America, and it is the origin bank who’s holding the check and they’re suspicious about their customer, as an example. What I’m saying is that there are instances where the branch manager doesn’t know.

Actually, what you’re saying here has nothing to do with what I say. The process is still the same even if the bank advance the funds in your account because you had a good credit score. They do it to save you the inconvenience of waiting for the whole process to end. But you said yourself, the cheque can be bounced and you can be charged when that happens.

More expensive would be not doing them. If they didn’t do their security checks and didn’t try to spot the problem they could lose their money. The process is automated for most of the cheques and when you go to your bank and pay in your cheque, you’re not supposed to know that the teller is doing his/her own checks right in front of you.

I agree with you that this looks like a case of inconsistence records with the bank. Probably the cheque was extremely large and coming from another country, being an unusual amount for the account, etc, it all added up and the amount was held.

Sagewing, what you said is just another point of view of the process. It complements mine and It doesn’t mean that what I said is wrong. The clearing process furthermore the international one, is something that I know very well not only as a customer but as part of the staff that did it.

While Bank of America can have its own standards and way of doing things, the process will not differ much. When it is an international cheque, even the reputation of the country affects!

As a matter of fact, I can tell you that American cheques are a pain in Europe because they don’t always comply with the security paper used in European cheques and therefore will not pass the UV light test.

I’m hearing all this, but im still not understanding what this hold code is and why it changes each time. I mean except for the possibility that it was for one a larger check than the other two and the possibility that my account may have been lower than it usually is. So it would make sense to see why that hold code came up and raised a red flag. But im still waiting for someone to answer when will I know what the exchange rate will be?

Well, there is a set process at BofA that is documented and automated. So a ‘point of view’ doesn’t mean much - there is simply fact to be considered and it’s not subjective.

Checks are rated AT DEPOSIT based on several factors and the hold time is determined based on that rating. That is how it works. The manner in which an international check is paid doesn’t affect the hold time at BofA.

Anything that is unusual will get a bit more of attention. What kind of stop, investigation, time, etc. will depend on many factors, starting for your credit scoring and how unusual the transaction is.
Regarding your question, your bank will not know the exchange rate applied until the issuing bank sends the cash. Exchange rates change every second.

You may know Bank of America better. I only worked in a bank in UK and for sure there will be differences. Yet, I’d be surprised if the process I described would be too different because all I said was generic, and of course, there will be little details that will not be the same and each bank does the same work in a different way.

Now, I’m sure that you know everything about Bank of America and have much more experience than I do with the. I’m certain that you’re experience in this is particular case is much more valuable than mine.

When I said points of view is because different departments and different people do different things, work at different level, look for different things and perform different tasks. But they’re all of them part of the system and will work for the same goal (in this case, clearing the funds of a cheque). The result is that they don’t have the same view because their job is different. That’s no subjective.

So the checks that a teller will do when (s)he pays in a cheque, and the things (s)he does are different that what the person at department X will do. So yes, they have different points of view and look for different things because they work at different level.

Just because a teller doesn’t raise the first flag doesn’t mean that a flag is not raised later, either by the receiving bank or by the issuing bank.

What you say is not different of what I said, just other part of the story.

It is possible that Bank of America base their decision of how long the cheque should be on hold only based on rating only.
With holding time I mean that the bank will not advance the funds while the clearing process is taking place. Once the money is in their collection account, it should be credited straight away into their customer’s account, of course, unless they have very good reasons and prove that some illegal is going on.

But I’d be surprised if there were no exceptions to that rule. I’d personally would consider that bank careless. Because no matter how good is your credit, if you pay into your account $1000 per month and all of the sudden receive $100,000 cheque from, let’s say, Sweden, that’s unusual. And that will, for sure, take that cheque out of the normal process and receive some investigation and go to a different process which may not be that automated, depending on the type of investigation carried out. At least, in Europe, it would.

And, of course, the funds will not be credited into the customer’s account until they really receive it in their collection account because it is an unusual situation and banks never risk their money.

Same goes to the issuer bank which also has to do their bits and pieces to ensure that the transaction is legal and good to go, as well as to pay the cash if their customer does have it.

End of the story for me :slight_smile:

thats what I did not want to hear, but was afraid was true. the market was doing soo good i had a good chance at making a nice income from it, now its dropping faster than a jack rabbit and im going to end up losing big time all due to this hold. It only frustrates me more as the bank may now have made me take a very big loss.

With this comment I assume that you were investing… forex maybe?

Nope, just trying to clear my canadian check, and now im fuming even more, as one of the younger tellers had said she would check into where the check may be by now and her answer was… it was going to take 60 days to clear now!!!Instead of the original 45 days that they told me. Being that she is young and probably doesnt have a clue to whats actually going to happen, im not too worried but upset still the same!!
I have been watching the exchange rate on one of those rate exchange web sites(simular to forex) just to see approximatly what the rates were and they are dropping very quickly which now means IF this teller was right i would be taking a great loss if the market keeps going down the way it has in the last 2 days. Im already aware this is not the exchange I will be getting as a matter of fact it will be about 4,000 less than what this web site is saying because boa does not use this site to do their exchange they use I guess the issuers exchange rate and then take another 1 or 2 % for themselves for their effort of the process.
If your wondering how im getting this calculation, its because my brother had deposited the exact same amount check in canadian funds, only his cleared the same moment he deposited his check and i was able to see what the web site I use was showing and what he actually got that day. It was about 4,000 less which means I would have had the opportunity if they would have not sent mine in for collections to have gotten a nice extra amount, now im very worried as the exchange rate is going down fast. I may even take a loss instead, due to this wonderful experience with BOA.

And going back in time here a bit… the first check I deposited, i was told it would take 45 days to clear and it only actually took around 15-20 days. So again there is another discrepency which was of course in my favor and had no problem with it since it did go through faster than I was told. So Its all a matter of LUCK when it comes to banking, its a gamble to which I could lose a great deal or gain a great deal, all depending on what the rate is at time of getting to the issuing bank having the rate set, then having it deposited into my account. I personally dont like to gamble with my money but when you have no choice what can you do right?

who said anything about a website?

Ok so lets say which is the truth, that the last check they said was approved to be cleared for the same amount the first one was. My account did not have the funds in there to cover that check, yet on their computer they said it was ok for them to run it through. It cleared immediatly! with the exchange rate right then and there. Of course i was extatic, but I assumed it was run through due to the fact that the bank was the same one that was used before when it was issued and they felt “SAFE” to let it go through maybe?

The CDN dollar has dropped about 1.5 cents in the last few days against the US dollar so you’re suggesting that your cheque was for over 250,000 dollars?

I would think with cheques of that amount you could get some personal service at the bank.

yes it was for over that amount, and yet i get the royal shaft because i tend to use my money to do the right thing and pay off my debts. so i guess i must be some sort of money launderer or something lol after 20 years of being a devoted customer

No, it is because if you’re regular people like me, that amount is highly and extremely away of your regular pay-ins even if you were a business… That’s going to be investigated for sure and very deeply. Banks don’t risk their money.

Regarding the exchange rate, by the time the cheque clears you could also earn some extra instead of losing it. That’s impossible to know.

It has nothing to do with being a devoted customer and it would have happened to you at any bank :slight_smile:

as far as I know this isn’t BoA’s fault, although I had an account with them and don’t like them much.

Foreign cheques, everywhere, have to go through the international bankers’ clearance system. It can take UP TO 6 weeks, and I remember before it was 9 WEEKS. I know this from when I bought my house, and then recently with being sent a canadian cheque. I REALLY got into the details on this when it was the house sale. That’s when I found it’s 9 weeks (unless I remember wrong).

Some banks might have a policy of letting you have the money to spend before the cheque has cleared, but foreign cheques can actually bounce up to 20 YEARS after they have been issued. Don’t ask me how or why, it’s to do with the laws and different banking systems of different countries I guess. Basically don’t accept foreign cheques at all if you can help it. I got surprised with one the other week, and lo and behold after I complained I got a BACS transfer instead (automated clearance system, look ma no hands!). That’s how I usually get paid.

On the other hand it’s really hard for Americans to set up any kind of direct bank transfer or direct debit, never mind an international one. Been there, done that, needed the attorney. (don’t ask! They can do the transfers, but they don’t make it
easy!)

PS to be clear it is not down to anything in particular how fast your cheque clears. The banks don’t know and have no way of telling you if it will be 2 days or 6 weeks. so they tell you the longer period, and you pray. I really did get into the detail of this, I promise you it’s just that it’s an antiquated system where they have to check it all by hand and the banks need to communicate with each other, it’s all very arcane.