It’s Our Policy
Recently I had what I consider to be an utterly bizarre experience with my bank. My daughter owed me a little bit of money, about $265.00 and she was heading out for her work and driving right by a local branch of the place where I bank. So I asked my daughter if she would mind stopping in the branch and putting the money into my account. She agreed and off she went. About 15 minutes later she returned and handed me the cash she was to deposit. Stunned I asked why and her response was and is absolutely bizarre. “They would not take the money from me because I am not you” she said. In a state of total disbelief I headed out the door and walked the one mile to the bank.
Someone asked me if he could help me and I said yes, expressing my utter disbelief in what I had just heard from my daughter. That got me a meeting with the branch manager who, when I explained my concerns, responded with the highly inflammatory words: “It’s our policy.” It doesn’t need to make sense, or be legal, or even an acceptable business practice it just needs to be “policy.” A “policy” is defined as a course of action adopted by a business. But it is never an excuse. Some businesses do occasionally adopt a course of action that is extremely poor business practice somethime even illegal. You may recall that Adolph Hitler adopted a course of action a/k/a a policy with respect to Jewish people living in Germany. That it was “policy” didn’t make it right.
The policy in this situation was to refuse to accept cash, legal tender required by law to be accepted for “all debts private and public” anywhere within the United States of America. If it is genuine United States Currency and it is tendered it MUST be accepted by Federal law which is vastly more significant than any bank policy.
Making it even more irritating was the fact the a couple years earlier that very same bank cashed about four of my checks payable to someone other than me and with blatantly forged signatures that looked nothing like my signature resulting in about $1700.00 of MY money being illegally removed from my account. So apparently this bank has a policy that prohibits anyone other than me from putting money into my account but it is OK for pretty much anyone to take money out of my account without my knowledge or consent because that is their policy.
Then again this utter absurdity was ultimately not much of a surprise to me for I had learned a great deal about this bank in the process of writing my book “Hell’s Bank.” I learned for example that over a period of time from 2007 through about 2015 under the leadership of its then Chief Executive Officer had engaged in an ever expanding web of deceit, misrepresentations, securities law violations and even a pattern of racist conduct that resulted in the bank losing over $38 BILLION in fines, civil judgments and penalties. But as this was going on that Chief Executive Officer had been paid more than $160 MILLION for his blatant mismanagement. So I guess this bank also had a policy of paying huge compensation to its senior management for damaging tens of thousands of its customers and causing the bank to incur literally billions of dollars in damages.
So fat cats perched high atop their lavish offices can make millions will losing billions through misconduct but when seven grunt level workers were discovered to have had some criminal activity in their past the were terminated even though there was absolutely zero evidence that any of them had done anything illegal during their tenor with the bank. That resulted in a wrongful termination lawsuit which cost the bank even more money. And isn’t even more intersting that the bank never even bothered to run a simple background check on any of these people before they were hired. Had they done so, they would have learned that a couple had been convicted of financial crimes. Are those the kind of people you want working at the bank? Well, not at the grunt level anyhow.
And the beat goes on as very recently its latest Chief Executive Officer resigned under a continuing hail of never ending scandals. Interestingly this bank is one of the top four largest banks in America and within that prestigious group it ranks Number One in a series of scandals involving reckless lending practices and customer deception. If this interests you and you want to whole story you can get it right here- Hell’s Bank
Photos: Courtesy of Ron Irwin unless otherwise noted