I hate banks. I despise them. I wish a plague of death and disease upon them. The concept of a bank seems simple, and indeed, useful, at least at first. People have money that they want to secure somehow so their money doesn’t get stolen from under their mattress or out of their wallets. So they give their money to an insured “corporation” of sorts that holds their money and keeps a record of how much they have. For large transactions, the account holder can write a check for the amount of money they want to transfer to another party and sign it. The “corporation,” (aka the bank) honors the request to transfer and handles the details so that the account holder doesn’t have to. This is simple, right? This is “protecting ourselves,” right?
Maybe, maybe not. In my experience, banks are nothing but hassle, especially for people like me that have very limited funds available and need to bleed our accounts dry about every week or so. Illinois Tech pays me every two weeks with a check that I deposit to my checking account at Lakeside Bank. These checks are not out of state (obviously); In fact, they’re drawn from Lakeside Bank! So why does it take a week for my deposit to show up in my account?
This was the question I set out to answer a couple of weeks ago. The problem arose when I made an electronic bill payment after making a deposit that my online account information reported had been deposited and was available. The bank charged me an overdraft fee, claiming that the deposited funds were on hold, even though the account screen online clearly said that the funds were available. I called the bank and was given the basic run-around:
“This person is who you need to talk to.”
Phone transfer. Wait for a while.
“No, it’s so and so.”
Another transfer. Doesn’t go through. Back to operator.
“I’m sorry, she’s out of town for… ummm… looks like forever.”
“Is there anyone else I can speak with?"
“Ummmm, no. You’re screwed.”
Can you help me at all?
“No. That’s not my job. I just transfer phone calls. I am here to make your life miserable.”
“Well, tell your supervisor I said you’re doing an excellent job."
After that entirely useless exchange, I headed over to see if I could have better luck in person. I did, sort of. I got thrown around a bit from person to person, but finally one of the bankers helped me. She explained that these checks were not being deposited in my account immediately because I was a “new customer.” New customer?! I’ve been banking there for four years! And seriously, Illinois Tech, who’s writing me the checks, hasn’t bounced a check in who-knows-how-long, so what are they worried about? I don’t know. I hate to say it, but I gave up. My thirty dollars is gone forever. It just wasn’t worth it. I guess I’ll try to set up direct deposit. But with my luck, they’ll mess it up and I’ll lose the money permanently, or have to wait even longer to have access to it. I hate banks.