Banks such as BB&T are hiding behind the Homeland Security Act to deny customers access to certified cashier’s checks in amounts over $500.
A cashier’s check ensures that the money is immediately available upon deposit.
Now banks are "allowed" or "entitled" to put a hold on your access to your money for up to two weeks. BB & T did not disclose they were using the Patriot Act to seize money; I had to do a lot of digging to discover what was going.
I am not an attorney, and I am not dispensing legal advice. Here is what I did learned from my research when BB&T denied me access to proceeds from the dissolution of my mother’s bank accounts after her death.
All I got was a notice that stated the bank was "allowed" to hold the money for two weeks.
Huh? I thought. Cashier's check means "guaranteed," so in what universe are they allowed to deny me access to my money. Turns out, they are allowed to do this in my universe -- under four specified conditions.
Banks MAY deny access IF they believe the cashier’s check is fraudulent or terrorism, money-laundering or drug dealing is involved. None of these things apply to my 87-year-old mother who maintained a relationship with the bank of origin for 30-40 years. BB&T fraudulent used the Patriot Act as an excuse to pretend to believe something fishy was going on.
Note: Being able, allowed or entitled to do something does not mean one should do it.
BB&T did not inform me at the time of the deposit that it was going to seize my money for two weeks.
Five days later, I received a form notice saying that the bank was "allowed" to do this on a "case by case" basis.
I went into the BB&T branch where the deposit had been made with the final statement from my mother’s bank.
When the manager told me that the bank was "entitled" to hold the money, I pointed out that:
(a) The bank is entitled to seize access ONLY if they believed the check was fraudulent and I was providing proof that it was not
(b) I am entitled to demand next-day access and the bank is supposed to comply for a cashier's check -- that is the point, after all, of guaranteed drafts.
(c) The bank is entitled to sue me two weeks later if indeed turns out that the check was fraudulent.
It is an outrage that banks are pretending that good, honest citizens may be terrorists or drug dealers or paper-hangers who are trying to perpetrate a fraud. Checks clear in three to five days, and all it takes is a phone call to verify the authenticity of a check.
It was an insult to my mother's memory to seize her funds under the flimsy pretext of the Patriot Act.
Don’t take my word on this; be sure of your rights and don’t let banks get away with this kind of unethical and fraudulent behavior.