America is a funny place to be. As long as you have high balances at the bank, no problem. As soon as you hit a snare though - watch out. Most banks are large chains with policies and rules, and they are totally unwilling to work with their customers. This normally results in excessive fees, which further your financial problems. I have even had one situation where the bank processed several checks on the same day, and a deposit, and the order of their processing was structured in such a way that they were able to justify charging an overdraft fee.

Situation 1 - Dishonorable Check and Deposit Processing

The situation outlined above actually happened to me. There were 3 checks that I had written, with quite varying amounts, that all hit the bank on the same day. I also had a deposit that processed on that same day. Now, the dates on the checks did not match up with the order they were processed in. I thought that banks would process checks in the order they were received, and if they were received at the same time, that they would process them in order by the date they were written. However, what I found was that the bank processed the checks in order from largest amount to smallest amount. Furthermore, they processed the checks before they processed the deposit. The net result for me was that I ran negative for part of the day, and then came back into the positive at the end of the day. What was my reward? You guessed it, an overdraft fee.

Of course I contacted the bank about the penalty, and luckily, this local bank was curteous enough to reverse the charge. Of course they had a lame excuse as to why they process the checks in the order they do, but at the end of the day the real reason is that they want more money, not to do the best thing for the customer. And I believe that this happens to a lot of people, so watch your accounts, and dispute issues like this.

Situation 2 - Hard Luck? Don’t Expect Any Sympathy from the Bank

Recently, I quit my job to pursue my dream of working in the ministry and running my own business. I had several streams of income flowing my way, but one online venture was really paying off. It helped me to get very near to the point of my first goal - providing enough income to meet my obligations. Well, we hit a snare on that particular piece of the business, and to this date, we have not recovered. So what does that mean for the bank accounts? Dropping balances, as I am sure you have guessed.

So as I am fighting hard to recover from the losses (which were about 40-50% of my income), I discovered one day that I had a “Account Analysis” fee of over $20 in my main business account. Since I have never paid any account fees with this bank, I called to inquire about the fee. I was able to get a hold of my banker, and he explained to me that the fee had always existed, but that my account had such high balances, that I was earning credits to offset those fees. And now that the balances had dropped, the fees started to show up. What a CROCK!

Thankfully, I have a good relationship with my banker, and he reversed the fee, and told me he would not allow any fees to be charged to my account for the next 3 months. But here’s my thought - all that time that I had that money sitting in the account, I didn’t get paid one solitary cent of interest, so did my banker really do me a favor? The bank had 5 digits to loan out and make interest on, and didn’t pay me a cent all that time. So I don’t consider what he did for me here to be anything substantial. I am thankful he did it, but really…he should have.

So needless to say, if I do get hit with fees in the future, I will be moving my business to another bank. Bottom line, watch out guys, the banks WILL get you.

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